NOTE: I wrote this piece in early October of 2015, for my other blog, thevirtualcolumnist.com. The points made are still current. I think.
It’s getting crazy out there in the presidential campaign trail. Then again, it always gets crazy. It happens every four years. You hear a lot of gobbledygook. Candidates talk about this and that and about how they’re different from the others bidding for the keys to the White House. Some call themselves outsiders, non-politicians. Yeah, right. And another thing, they also flaunt their empty promises and vow to change government for the better. “Yeah, that’s the ticket!” Sorry, had to borrow that SNL phrase from the pathological liar sketches of the mid-eighties.
During the current presidential campaign, some of the talking points have to do with us Mexicans. It’s scary. Not good for us, I’m telling you. A couple of the candidates seeking the GOP nomination are in favor of rounding up millions and millions of our brothers and sisters living in the shadows, taking them to the border with Mexico, and dumping them across the fence just like animals. It’s really crazy.
Maybe it’s time for some of us to fight back and petition our government for a redress of our grievances. Nah, forget it. There is no need to worry. It’s all political talk. Once the winners get in, much is forgotten. After the election, it’s mostly business as usual. All the crazy ideas about doing this or that, and some good ones too, get dumped in file 13. FYI: that’s what we called the wastebasket when I served in the Air Force.
The problem with all the campaign talk, though, is that it often builds bad vibes and anger in a lot of people. A lot of lies are said, too. Man, those politicians bend the truth so much. It also gets personal and nasty.
Take, for example, all the trash talk about building a Berlin type super wall between Mexico and United States. There’s plenty of irony and hypocrisy intermeshed in that impervious border talk. Instead of proposing to build constructive bridges to better connect folks in both countries, these opportunistic isolationists are relentlessly calling for the construction of a large, supposedly impenetrable, border fence.
If they were to ask me, I would tell them, it’s not about a fence or about having thousands and thousands of immigration agents guarding the border. It’s about removing the lures for workers and demand for drugs north of that line.
As long as corporate America continues to have an insatiable need for cheap labor and is willing to hire it, in a clandestine manner, workers will find ways to come do those jobs. As for the drug trade, huge triple fences and a million guards won’t stop it, unless something is done about the demand for those goods north of the border. Drugs will come by car, by boat, in airplanes, by truck, mixed with cargo, via tunnels, and pretty soon, by drones (like the octocopters Amazon.com is testing to deliver some of its consumer goods).
One of the neophytes hurling rubbish on the national political stage about the border fence is the New York real estate tycoon who has successfully doubled as a reality TV host. I call him Mr. Yap Yap. Also Citizen Trump. As he attempts to get the GOP nod for the 2016 presidential election, he is saying that if elected, he will build a bulletproof wall. Promises, promises.
By the way, he is also boasting that he is going to make America great again. Well, I have news for Mr. Yap Yap, the United States is still a great nation. And with all its flaws and defects, the America I know is not only great, but also an indisputable bastion of freedom for all of the people and a haven for immigrants.
And if we’re talking about wealth, the United States is by far the largest consumer market in the world. It is also the richest. It boasts a dynamic economy that is driven by an entrepreneurial spirit and a legion of visionaries, many of them immigrants. True, the place has gotten away from making some nuts and bolts, but America, among many of the things it creates and builds, is now into cyberspace, software, efficiency, and helping others on the globe do more with less.
There’s no need to make America great again, Citizen Trump. It is still great. Yes, I know, I’m repeating myself. I do that sometimes; I’m an old guy. I’m also a Mexican who’s been around and knows a thing or two about Mexico, the United States and the people in both worlds. I am no pundit, but I have a pretty good idea of what needs to be fixed in both countries for the benefit of all of the people on both sides of the border. I will add, too, that maintaining the status quo and not fixing the problems that mutually affect the two nations is not good for the United States. Or for Mexico.