It is a given that part of being a nation is control over a country’s own borders. Those lines on a map are more than mere suggestions; they represent where one nation ends and another begins. Wars are fought over them.
The border between the U.S. and Mexico leaks like a firehose today and “border security” is nothing but a myth along that southern line on our map.
Our Constitution, in Article I, Sec. 8, squarely places the responsibility for protecting our nation’s borders on the shoulders of Congress. Those shoulders are slumped and rounded these days, and Congress willingly shrugs off that responsibility in hopes that the Executive Branch will pick up the hot potato.
And presidents throughout our history have always tried to do Congress’s job, regardless of what the Constitution says.
The U.S. does not have a border crisis. Instead we have a crisis of leadership in Congress. But...what else is new?
Adding to the cynicism is the fact that a proposed piece of border legislation is being bandied about in Congress, but will likely never see the light of day due to crass politics. Trump plans to campaign hard on Biden’s “open border” mess, and GOP congressional leadership doesn’t want to handicap that effort by passing a congressional solution.
This is our political system at its worst. And I’ll have a modest proposal for a solution a bit later.
But first...immigration. I have zero bellyache with anyone wanting to become a naturalized U.S. citizen in order to enjoy the fruits of America, and to contribute to the nation. That’s how our country built itself up back in the day.
For anyone else crossing our border for any other reason – for cheap cheeseburgers and lap dances, to cause mischief or simply because life sucks back home – Edward Abbey had a suggestion.
And that crusty ol’ Monkeywrencher’s suggestion caused his Earth First, granola-eatin’ liberal groupies to clutch their Birkenstocks and yoga mats.
Abbey proposed that every refugee from every sort of oppression be met at our border, given a machine gun and a week’s worth of food and told to go back home and start their own goddam revolution.
I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for Congress to pass a law that simple, elegant, economical and effective. Rather, they’ll keep the border issue hot and juicy so that it remains a campaign dogwhistle for the Executive Branch.
Congress is content to let a national problem fester when its in their power to resolve it, simply in order to give presidential candidates – each candidate as inept, decrepit and venal as his opponent - something to fight over.
Talk about spineless!
Here’s my modest proposal. Instead of allowing Congress to punt our national interest to the Executive Branch, we simply don’t let presidential candidates touch any important issue in their campaign. In fact, we morph our dysfunctional presidential election process into something more goal-oriented and entertaining.
Presidential hopefuls would no longer need to campaign. The whole enterprise could be boiled down to old fashioned, single combat duels to the death. Preliminary rounds would feature candidates facing off bare-knuckled until only two survivors remain.
The two finalists, lets call ‘em Republican and Democrat, would then meet for all the marbles in some octagon or even in Statuary Hall in the Capitol. We could tie their ankles together like old Greek pugilists, and they’d fight until only one is left standing. Maybe with a halftime show by Taylor Swift. TV ratings would go through the roof!
The winner would be president for four years, until the next tournament. The upside for the voter would be a process that eliminated every political danger except one.
Rod Miller can be reached at: email@example.com