Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Trump's Wall According to Pat Buchanan

I'm on Twitter, as all seven people who visit this blog once a year to see what I've posted know, but I'm growing so tired of the political talk on Twitter. It's not that I don't want to talk politics or I'm not interested, but the saturation of political talk at times is overwhelming. So after having said that, let's talk some politics. Specifically, "The wall." No, not "The Wall" by Pink Floyd, an album that was released in 1979 and (the answer to a Jeopardy question recently) hit #1 in 1980, but "the wall" that Donald Trump and his administration wants to build. For me personally, I don't like the aesthetics of a wall around the bottom of the United States to separate us from Mexico. Walls are generally pretty ugly. It's just an absurd thought to me, that there would be a wall separating the United States and Mexico.

I've found that I'm better at getting my thoughts down using "fisking" as opposed to writing 100% original content. I still prefer 100% original content, but maybe I'm just so uncreative I can't get an entire 100% original post written, maybe it's a time issue (for example, I started writing this short post four days ago), or maybe it's that I tend to write too much and therefore a combination of the first previous two reasons is the answer. So my Twitter friend and overall good guy @jonashdaniels (follow him...not literally, though he is nice enough to where if you literally followed him he may not mind entirely...just as long as you bought him a beer), wrote a post on Medium, which must be the 2017 version of the extremely dated Blogger (hi!), about Trump's wall. It was good and inspired me to (a) take on the same article and bring up similar/different points and (b) post his reactions to expound on them.

Here is the original post about Trump's wall and it is written by Pat Buchanan. Yeah, THAT Pat Buchanan. It reveals the hidden and not hidden agendas that he may have. I'm opposed to the wall, simply because I don't believe it will fix the issue Trump believes exists and it's going to be ugly, aesthetically at least. Plus, the wall reminds me of a song by Carlos Varela which states in part:

Ever since the world's existed
There's one thing that is certain
There are those who build walls
And those who open doors
Ah but this my love I'm thinking you already knew

For some it's always winter
While others have the spring
Some people find good fortune
While others never find a thing
Ah but this my love is something you already knew

That's how it's always been
And I know you know it
There can be freedom only when nobody owns it
I'm going to say that again
Because I know you know it
There can be freedom only when nobody owns it

It's pretty hippie-ish but for some reason it always pops in my head when a discussion of Trump's wall comes up. So, following up on Jon's post, here is where I see hidden and non-hidden agendas behind Buchanan's support of the wall.

And on the American left there is something like revulsion at the idea of the “beautiful wall” President Trump intends to build along the 1,900-mile border between the U.S. and Mexico.
The opposition’s arguments are usually rooted in economics or practicality. The wall is unnecessary. It will not stop people from coming illegally. It costs too much.

These are all totally legitimate reasons to not build the wall though. It's not required, it won't work and it's too expensive. These are nearly the exact same reasons many Republicans use to justify getting rid of Obamacare. I'm not sure why Buchanan would immediately dismiss reasoning that is based on economics and practical. 

Those desperate to see the wall built, illegal immigration halted, and those here illegally deported, see the country they grew up in as dying, disappearing, with something strange and foreign taking its place.
It is not only that illegal migrants take jobs from Americans, that they commit crimes, or that so many require subsidized food, welfare, housing, education and health care.

There is a lot of "preaching to the choir" taking place here. And preaching to the choir was Trump's campaign message that worked so well, other than "My opposition is Hillary and no one likes her, so vote for me because I'm the only other major party candidate and if you don't like her then vote for me if you want to vote for the only other candidate that can win."

Illegal immigrants are being deported. This is happening and was happening under President Obama. The United States is changing. Nothing, outside of mass genocide/deportation of anyone who doesn't fit the "classic" perception of what an American should be, is going to change this fact. We are becoming more diverse and the wall is simply another way to temporarily deny this fact. The wall may not be about immigration, but about a fear of change and covert xenophobia that new immigration will result in more parades for nationalities that believe/represents things Pat Buchanan doesn't understand or want to understand. People who believe/represent things many Americans don't understand. That's scary to many. I get it. I don't agree with it, but on an intellectual level I do understand. A wall between Mexico and the United States isn't going to change the eventuality that America is changing any more than the Berlin Wall didn't change the eventuality that Germany would never be a fully Communist country.

Also, I don't mind stealing talented individuals from Mexico and bringing them to America. Illegal migrants do jobs many Americans don't want to do because they are too busy trying to make college free so they can eventually believe themselves too good to do those menial jobs. Not to mention, Americans commit crimes and require subsidies as well. If the wall is about subsidies, then Pat Buchanan should want a wall around every Social Services building in the United States.

It is that they are changing our country. They are changing who we are.

Another non-hidden hidden agenda. "Our country" isn't our country. It's OUR country, which includes non-white people, and the change of who "we" are is going to happen, again, unless Trump's next plan is mass genocide/deportation of non-white individuals who don't believe what he believes. Even then, that will fail. Mass deportation (I'd rather not think too much about mass genocide, but I felt the need to mention it as a very extreme way to reach the goal of ensuring the United States doesn't change) will eventually fail in creating a "united" United States that has one unique set of beliefs and experiences.

Were we from the beginning a new, unique, separate and identifiable people like the British, French and Germans?
Or was America a new kind of nation, an ideological nation, an invented nation, united by an acceptance of the ideas and ideals of Jefferson, Madison, Lincoln and Dr. King?

It's interesting that Buchanan brings up Dr. King, since Dr. King's ancestors were essentially illegal immigrants forced to come to the United States to serve mainly as slave labor. I would say bringing slave labor to the United States changed who the United States is/was/will be. Abraham Lincoln also fought FOR changing who we are when he signed the Emancipation Proclamation. He fought against keeping the country the same and fought against the status quo. He wanted African Americans to serve as more than slaves, which means he wanted African American culture to become a part of American culture. So I don't think Lincoln and Dr. King share as many ideals with Pat Buchanan as he may like to think they share.

We did not become a new nation because we embraced Jefferson’s notion about all men being “created equal.” We became a new people from our familial break with the Mother Country, described in the declaration as a severing of ties with our “brethren” across the sea who no longer deserved our loyalty or love.

The United States came into being in 1789. The Constitution created the government, the state. But the country already existed.

Yes, the land that makes up the United States was already here. It didn't just magically pop up out of the sea in 1789, just in time for George Washington to become President. Prior to The Constitution being created, the United States belonged to a group of natives who were forced to change who they were to accommodate the new settlers. So "who we are" goes back further than 1789.

When the Irish came in the mid-19th century to escape the famine and the Germans to escape Bismarck’s Prussia, and the Italians, Jews, Poles, Greeks, Slovaks came to Ellis Island, they were foreigners who became citizens, and then, after a time, Americans.

Every single group Pat Buchanan mentions here that legally immigrated came to this country, also changed the makeup of of the United States. They came here legally, not necessarily illegally. It doesn't matter when it comes to immigration though, the result of changing the United States is the same. Buchanan previously stated:

It is that they are changing our country. They are changing who we are.

Legal immigration also changes our country and changes who we are. The ethnic makeup of the United States, the traditions shared by the people of the United States and customs celebrated in the United States all changed with this legal immigration. So is the wall about the country not changing who America should be (in Pat Buchanan's mind) or is the wall about illegal immigration? I don't think Buchanan is entirely clear. It's fine for the United States to change as a result of immigration, but it just has to be legal immigration? That doesn't make sense in the context of what is being written. Does Buchanan think those who legally immigrate will come to the United States and adjust their customs to traditional United States customs, thereby not changing the makeup of the republic? I think this is so far-fetched no person could truly believe this is true.

Not until decades after the Great Migration of 1890-1920, with the common trials of the Depression, World War II and Cold War, were we truly forged again into one united nation and people.

This is the same period of time when women didn't have the right to vote and African-Americans were treated as second-class citizens. Is a "one united nation and people" really what the United States was at this point or did the nation seem united because certain groups of people didn't have a voice to express displeasure or even their own point of view? The fact Buchanan aims for this era when women and minorities had their voice suppressed as the shining example for how the current United States can "be one" says more than 10,000 more words on this topic could ever say.

By 1960, almost all of us shared the same heroes and holidays, spoke the same language and cherished the same culture.

Again, this is what was assumed because certain classes of people were not encouraged to treat themselves as individuals who deserve the same rights as all other individuals. Or as Jon said,

Is that really true? In 1960, blacks in the south couldn’t attend the same schools as white children. They couldn’t drink from the same water fountain. They didn’t have equal rights. This after a 1954 ruling in Brown vs. Board of Education that ended segregation. Yet we all “cherished” the same culture? That sounds prima facie absurd.

The white-washing of American history in this banal, uninspired article continues with the kicker: 

Given that 80 percent of all people of color vote Democratic, neither the Trump movement nor the Republican Party can survive the Third Worldization of the United States now written in the cards.”

Third Worldization? Most people associate the third world with the immense poverty of non-white people. Buchannan seems to be insinuating that our country is becoming third world because it is becoming less white.

Remember, we are talking about building a wall to keep illegal immigrants out. Doesn't it seem like from Pat Buchanan's perspective the wall is built more to keep anything that doesn't fit his view of when American was most unified from filtering in and ruining the utopia that has been created? It's no coincidence his utopian time frame coincides with when African Americans, women, and other minorities didn't have the equal rights they have now.

Is the wall about illegal immigration or the changing of America's culture from that which Pat Buchanan is comfortable with? It seems he is less concerned with immigrants taking his job and more concerned with the culture of American changing. And again, this will happen no matter what. So he should prepare for American to change, regardless of whether a wall is built or not.

In 1960, we were a Western Christian country. Ninety percent of our people traced their roots to Europe. Ninety percent bore some connection to the Christian faith. To the tens of millions for whom Trump appeals, what the wall represents is our last chance to preserve that nation and people.

And there we go. It's all about preserving our roots and preserving our  nation as it was. Going to desperate measures to keep the purity of a nation for Christian principles, or any other religious principle, has a long history of starting wars, genocide, and various other fights that ended up costing American lives. But hey, I'm sure this could be different.

To many on the cosmopolitan left, ethnic or national identity is not only not worth fighting for, it is not even worth preserving. It is a form of atavistic tribalism or racism.

Remember when the wall was about illegal immigrants? Remember when it was about jobs, crime and subsidies? Legal immigration will still be...legal. So what's the difference in a family slipping across the border (if there is no wall) and that family legally immigrating to the United States when it comes to the culture of America and preserving the identity of the nation? If a family immigrates legally, then they will be "taking away" part of the United States' national identity by simply staining our fine country with their own cultural identity.

Moreover, with the disintegration of the nation we are seeing, and with talk of the breakup of states like Texas and secession of states like California, how do we survive as one nation and people?

Definitely by building a wall. That's totally going to work. Once Trump builds a wall, California will decide not to secede and Texas won't be broken up.

I feel like the solution of building a wall doesn't answer the questions being posed by illegal immigration.

Though, as a side note, if the wall is being built around the southern border where the Texas-Mexico line is, what happens if that part of Texas secedes? Now there is a wall in the middle of a territory that doesn't even belong to the United States. Time to move the wall up north a little bit more so the new United States is separated from the new Texas! In this situation, would Trump tear down the wall and have Texas pay for it?

President Trump’s wall is a statement to the world: This is our country. We decide who comes here. And we will defend our borders.

There is literally no need for a wall to make this statement to the world. The United States defends its borders and decide who comes and goes. Building a wall is equivalent of the "Three Strikes" laws in the 1990's which resulted in prison overcrowding. It's basically saying, "We can't defend our borders, we can't enforce our own laws. We can't figure out who is and is not entering the country, so we can't decide who comes and goes. Let's build a wall in a way to just keep everyone out, as opposed to putting in the time and effort to defend our borders, while accepting some illegal immigrants will get through."

It's an overzealous response that isn't congruent to the problem it is attempting to fix. Trump may as well fill a moat around the US-Mexico border and put crocodiles in it. Parents put gates up so their young children can't go upstairs, because the alternative is monitoring their children at all times to make sure they don't go upstairs. Trump puts up a wall so illegal immigrants can't get into the United States, because the alternative is to think of new and different ways to monitor who crosses the border. Building a wall is much easier than thinking. More expensive, but easier.

The crisis of our time is not that some Americans are saying this, but that so many are too paralyzed to say it, or do not care, or embrace what is happening to their country.

The irony of Pat Buchanan saying many Americans are too paralyzed to embrace what is happening to their country, while actively refusing to embrace the move to a more diversified and less traditional America, while pining for the days when the United States was "united" through the refusal of equal rights to all is too much for me to bear. If anything, the crisis is that many like Buchanan think a wall built on the US-Mexico border can stop legal immigration from changing the makeup of the United States. Buchanan is in denial if he thinks the wall can.