Opinion » Commentaries

Secure our borders

Walls: Why they rule



Examining the sociopolitical landscape of America today, I cannot fathom how the problem of illegal immigration remains other than the occasional outburst here and there so relegated in the public discourse. In light of the economic impacts, it has emerged as a dilemma, clearly, we as a nation can no longer afford to ignore.

Earlier this year, the 109th incarnation of Congress a body destined to echo through history for consistently displaying its testicular fortitude took a firm stand on this issue and approved the construction of a mighty wall on the Mexican border.

When I heard that my former House representative, Jim Sensenbrenner, decided to jump out in front of the movement to raise this 700-mile barricade, I was never more proud to hail from the North Shore suburbs of Milwaukee truly the front lines in the war against illegal immigration.

In Mequon, the town where I grew up and home to a sizable chunk of the good congressman's base, the illegal infestation continues to crowd schools, escalate native unemployment, and strain welfare programs to the breaking point. When I attended Mequon's Homestead High School during the Clinton Administration, one Mexican immigrant matriculated at our campus then boasting an enrollment of 1,500. According to recent graduates, that number has climbed to six.

At that rate, as many as 10 children from immigrant families would walk the halls of Homestead by the end of the decade.

But now we can rest easy, thanks to lawmakers like Sensenbrenner. How courageous of this man to not compromise his ideals merely to appease the 14 Hispanic voters in that district. More bravery is required, however, to push the isolationist movement past whiney liberal nay-sayers, lest we permit the ongoing terrorist acts of tilling our fields and cleaning our bistro floors.

Our traitorous president's work-permit program would surely see my native North Shore overrun by veritable scores of table busers and cost a fortune to boot. The wall, on the other hand, clearly proved a cheap and effective way to solve this problem. Thankfully, Congress decided to build now and worry about the garrison expenses later. That's how you do it, boys.

But, above its cost-effectiveness, this initiative sends a message to potential offenders the latest in a proud, millennia-old tradition of sculpting policy into mortar and brick ... or barbed wire, in this case. What better way to say "This is not for you," than the ultimate physical manifestation of exclusion? In the spirit of Hadrian, we, the keepers of the Flamma Romana, send this message to the Picts of the 21st Century.

After its construction, all potential offenders will surely be able to read the writing on the wall which will be in English, so probably not. Either way, walls simply work.

Because of their mighty cyclopean ramparts, the great cities of Jericho and Troy remain bustling hubs to this day. A wall of fortifications along the Alsatian border curbed the spread of the German blitzkrieg in 1939 and, five years later, another prevented Allied forces from successfully besieging Omaha Beach. Finally, the greatest wall in the history of civilization succeeded at keeping the Mongols from totally ravaging China in 1205, 1211, and 1267.

I must ask, however why stop with a Chicano barricade? Imagine what other evils in society walls may one day purge.

Attempt to visualize, good people, walls to separate volatile racial groups in public areas. Imagine walls erected to partition low-income housing from the rest of our gentrified community. With a little creative design, we could even build walls in movie theatres for people to run behind when something scary happens.

Personally, I would like to see the Central Coast building on the ideological walls between quiet coastal living and the frightening bomb- and blight-riddled reality of the outside world. Like I really want to read about escalations between Israel and some Shiite proxy when there are children watersliding in Paso. Whose bollah? Can't we just blame it all on Iran, or whoever provided their weapon technology?

Thank God the Tribune and Times keep their readership properly sedated, while these disturbing trends percolate in the Levant. In fact, I might take a cue from them if this commentary gets too serious again.

A clown entertaining young girls with sparkles and pinwheels. Ice cream melting on to the sidewalk. A dog chasing gulls through low surf. High-school seniors graduating their parents crying tears of joy.

That worked nicely.

One could build walls of zoning to prevent adult-oriented businesses from taking root in two-child-and-a-dog communities. This would keep morally bereft institutions like Diamond Adult World, Central Coast Compassionate Caregivers, and Urban Outfitters from spreading deeper into the corridors of Middle America.

Walls of litigation yield endless possibilities. One may soon bar useless stem-cell research from wrapping its slithery vines around the ivory tower. Others could more extensively prohibit meddlers from sticking their big noses in the deportation of dangerous Middle Eastern drummers like Ahmed Fahmy. How about a federal liticade to stop Veronica and Tracy from destroying the institution of marriage with their unconventional love?

Painters working on scaffolding above a caf». A man watering his lawn while the kids play in a fold-up pool. A woman in a silly hat, selling baskets to passersby. More seniors graduating, their parents still crying tears of joy.

Try this one on for size: A wall between the Central Coast and the San Joaquin Valley. Think about it. Valley folk would never again invade our white-sand beaches and fights would no longer break out between frustrated locals and people who are, for some reason, proud of living in a desert.

Perhaps a wall between Santa Maria and the South County might ease the minds of Nipomo folk, who, at the moment, are all but lying down in front of the bulldozers. I twice pump my fist to my chest for you folks tract housing is, at least, one of the three marquee issues facing our state at this perilous juncture.

Walls of perception could stand a taller build, or else the privileged may start falsely believing they remain part of a bigger world than their gated community. The notion that retail outlets in our picturesque promenade should turn down their air conditioning and keep their doors closed just because there's a heat wave going on ... and California recently experienced three days of record power consumption in one week ... and transformers failed up and down the Central Valley ... and a few dozen elderly people croaked ... is ridiculous.

I hear the new jeans at Express are to die for, which is great because I think somebody did.

A store selling novelty lampshades. Peregrine falcons perched on Morro Rock below a clear azure sky. A family enjoying a picnic at Monta"a de Oro. Doors in the same house painted three different colors. Another Peregrine falcon.

Well, it's about time for me to mosey back behind my own wall and join my fellow pundits in thinking of new ways to bring increasingly indigestible neocon policy to the public. If you want to swing by and talk about walls, rap three times on mine, then recite properly the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by the Nicene Creed and the market report from the Wall Street Journal.

And if I hear any ethnic colloquialisms or even a hint of an accent, you may as well go and try on the jeans at Express, because you'll be waiting outside my wall all day, bub. ?

A saxophonist playing Miles Davis songs at the Mid-State Fair. Mall Santa Clauses growing out their beards for Christmas. A reporter typing at Linnaea's Cafe on an oversized laptop. Contact him at pklemz@newtimesslo.com.


Add a comment