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Why The GOP’s Fence Fantasy Is A Farce

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Why The GOP’s Fence Fantasy Is A Farce

Trump border wall

A long time ago, in a not-so-faraway land, a civilization existed that was governed through a fairly rational political system. Even conservative candidates for high office had to have a good idea or two — and be quasi-qualified.

That land was the USA. It still exists as a place, but these days, Republican candidates don’t even have to be qualified — much less sane — to run for the highest office in the land. All they need is the backing of one or more billionaires, a hot fear-button issue to exploit and a talent for pandering without shame to the most fanatical clique of know-nothings in their party. Also, they must be able to wall themselves off from reality, erecting a wall of political goop around their heads so thick that even facts and obvious truth cannot get through to them.

Indeed, the GOP’s “One Great Issue” of the 2016 campaign for president is: The Wall. Ted Cruz practically snarls when he declares again and again that he’ll “build a wall that works.” Marco Rubio is absolute about it: “We must secure our border, the physical border, with a wall, absolutely.” And Donnie Trump has basically built his campaign atop his fantasy of such an imperial edifice: “We’re going to do a wall,” he commands, as though he’s barking at one of his hotel construction crews.

There are, of course, certain problems that you might expect them to address, such as the exorbitant cost of the thing, the extensive environmental damage it’ll do, and the futility of thinking that people aren’t clever enough to get around, over, under or through any wall. But don’t hold your breath waiting for any common sense to intrude on their macho posturing.

Trump even made a TV ad depicting hordes of marauding Mexicans invading our country — proof that a huge wall is necessary! Only, the film footage he used is not of Mexican migrants, but of Moroccans fleeing into Spain. But after all, when trying to stir up fear of foreigners, what the hell does honesty have to do with it?

A proper wall, we’re told, makes good neighbors. But an 18-foot high, 2,000-mile-long wall goes way beyond proper, and it both antagonizes your neighbor and screams out your own pitiful fear and weakness.

Besides, haven’t we been trying this for years? With the Secure Fence Act of 2006, Congress mandated construction of a wall along the 1,954 miles of our border with Mexico. A decade later, guess how many miles have been completed? About 650. It turns out that erecting a monstrous wall is not so simple after all.

First, it becomes prohibitively expensive — about $10 billion just for the materials to build it from the tip of Texas westward to the Pacific, not counting labor costs and maintenance. Second, there’s the prickly problem of land acquisition — to erect the scattered segments of the first 650 miles of fence, the federal government had to sue hundreds of property owners to take their land. Odd, isn’t it, that right-wing politicos who loudly rail against overreaching Big Government now favor using government muscle to grab private property? Third, it’s impossible to fence the whole border — hundreds of miles of it are in the Rio Grande’s flood plain, and more miles are on the steep mountainous terrain of southern Arizona.

Trump, Cruz, Rubio and the other “just build a wall” simpletons either don’t know what they’re talking about or are deliberately trying to dupe voters. Before you buy a 2,000-mile wall from them, take a peek at the small part already built — because of the poor terrain and legal prohibitions, it’s not one long fence, but a fragment here, and another there, with miles of gaps in between. Anyone wanting to cross into the U.S. can just go to one of the gaps and walk around the silly fence.

To find out more about Jim Hightower, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Web page at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2016 CREATORS.COM

Illustration: Sam Reisman, National Memo

Jim Hightower

Jim Hightower is a nationally syndicated columnist and one of America's most prominent progressive voices. His column carried by more than 75 publications across the country. Prior to becoming a writer, Hightower served as Texas Agricultural Commission from 1982 to 1991.

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  1. charleo1 January 13, 2016

    Jim Hightower, a Texan, and one of my personal favorites, makes some real common sense here about the impractical, wacko, and yet popular idea with the Nativists, of the great wall Trump and others are promising to build, If Americans would only agree to give them the nuclear codes, the economy, their healthcare, and their children’s future to play around with for the next four to eight years. His competition has also promised to carpet bomb the Mid-East while taking all the oil, and see if they can make the sand glow. All this yammer almost makes me yearn for the reality of the Cold War, and the Cuban Missile Crisis. I wonder what Mr. Trump would have done? I think it’s a fair question all of us should ask ourselves every time we walk into that voting booth and cast a ballot for President of The United States of America. What is the make of this person? Is he/she knowledgeable of the situation, the players involved, their concerns? Does he/she seem aware of the consequences of not only actions, but words? Do they seem appreciative of the lives that hang in balance of a wrong, or reckless decision? Or, would they be full of false bravado, and ideological hubris? Or, be sobered by the power, and tremendous responsibility that comes with the office? It will be election day soon, and my hope is every American will take the time to do their civic duty, register, and vote. But before that, take a moment to feel the glorious, and enormous weight of democracy on our own shoulders, and I believe we’ll make the right choice.

    1. FireBaron January 13, 2016

      Good one charleo1! I love the use of the term “nativists”, too. How many of these yahoos can claim they were here to stamp the passports of the immigrants arriving at what would be Jamestown or Plymouth? Probably none of them. (Meanwhile my wife’s ancestors were looking for folks from the Massasoit nation to stamp theirs in 1620.) They also sound like the first ones who would want to complete the removal of Native Americans from any lands that have exploitable resources.

      1. dpaano January 13, 2016

        It this were the 1600’s or earlier, these morons WOULD be the Americans who would grab the land away from the Indians!!! They have no conscience and no idea of the consequences of their actions, but they keep touting them and the GOP base keeps believing them!

  2. docb January 13, 2016

    One aerial trip along the 1,100 miles border is proof positive that it can not be done..After that it is just red meat for the ignorant from the clowns of the right!

    1. Cloudherder January 15, 2016

      For poorer folk, you can journey along it on Google Earth.

  3. Carl Sdano January 13, 2016

    As recent & past events have shown, the good people south of our border are very good at building tunnels.

    1. Cloudherder January 15, 2016

      Very long tunnels with lights and everything.

  4. Otto Greif January 13, 2016

    Goober Hightower on the side of the One Percent.

    1. Insinnergy January 13, 2016

      Busy “challenging” us again?

      Love your latest work.
      Real intelligent.
      So challenging.

      Sad troll is sad.

    2. Cloudherder January 15, 2016

      Auto Goat using his massive brain again. It stuns me. (When are they going to invent a sarcasm font?)

  5. dpaano January 13, 2016

    Not to mention that it would take years and years to build the entire wall at a huuuuge cost to the American taxpayer. Personally, I think my tax dollars could go for better infrastructure rather than some stupid wall that won’t work, is WAAAAY too expensive, and won’t do the job it is touted to do by the GOP morons!

  6. alwaysthink January 13, 2016

    Well, it not just a physical tall wall at the border. But also all kinds of “Systems” that the Defense Industry is happy to supply. This includes drones, cameras, radar and more high tech gadgets from the friendly lobbyists who have been ripping off the Pentagon for decades. We are already spending over $20 Billion on the Border.

    But here’s the rub. Lot’s of the undocumented come here via jets or ships. They come right on in on tourist visa or temp work visas and just stay!

  7. Just another indian January 14, 2016

    Mexico said it would pay for the wall, so it could keep Sean Penn and his ilk out.
    But seriously this seems to me just another line of bull. Trump has built an empire and a popular tv show on this kind of malarkey, and knows he can use it successfully on a good segment of the American populace. Or I should say a good segment of the Republican base. The GOP establishment is starting to get a little antsy about this, as evidenced by the reaction to Gov. Haley’s response to President Obama’s State of the Union address. We are seeing the GOP start to break apart, and it’s not pretty.

    1. Don Berghuis January 15, 2016

      Yes it! I like to see them shatter and what won’t shatter drift out to sea.


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