Tuesday, January 8, 2019

What happened when a Trump Supporter Challenged Me About the Wall

Vicky Alvear Schecter wrote in Medium | Poltics on Dec. 27, 2018 using her headline above. I thought it was pretty well written -- at least she made an attempt to keep her liberal bias out of it -- regardless of a few illogical fallacies

But she does make an attempt, in an effort to avoid her liberal bias, as she ponders  "...in order not to be accused by bias, I explained that I would only use conservative sources to prove my point."

To me, that's bias to start out with that premise. And I believe her premise is that she is against the wall. That's her stance. But she makes some good points, but some are skewed, even though she attempt to take a "conservative" approach, even by citing some "conservative" sources in her footnotes.

Here's the first problem: if she wanted to avoid bias, why not just stick to the the historical facts as written (when you can find them without bias), and not concern oneself with bias. "I must reject that because it might have a liberal bias, not conservative." What is that anyway? 

Everyone has a bias of some sort. Recognizing that is the first step in allowing yourself some rational analysis. Otherwise we've descended into a cold civil war where everyone with different ideas (opinions) battles the "other" side. 

She had 11 points in her article. So we begin.

1. Walls don't work. She cites the example of the Berlin wall, which Khrushchev erected to keep people inside East Germany, not the other way around, as well as being a politicl statement against the West and JFK.  According to The Telegraph, more than 1,000 died trying to flee East Germany, trying to get across that wall -- to the West. Another point she dramatically makes: "More to the point, do we really want to model ourselves after communist East Germany?" 

Does she understand the political and social framework of East Germany during the 1950s through the 1990s? Not only do we not want to model ourselves after their society and political structures, nor be under the military thumb of the Soviet Union, it's one of those questions that die before they are even spoken. And it indicates that she -- like more modern and younger Americans -- just what happened in Germany and the Soviet Union before they were even born. 

I spent time in Europe from 1986 though 1991, and I can tell you, that is one dumb question: Do we want to model ourselves after East Germany? Of course not, and building a wall of some sort has nothing to do with any of these failed ideologies. 

One other question: If walls don't work, then why down through history has humankind built so many walls? For 10,000 years, the walls have gone up, from the Great Wall of China, to the little wall around my farm. Must be something to them. I smell I book deal in this topic. 

2. Most illegal immigrants are over-stayers. No use for quotes, for "overstayers."  Either they are, or not. Of course a wall is meaningless here. If you are invited legally to visit the United States, and overstay your welcome, no wall well help. 

But she says 58% overstay their legal visas and permits. She does not cite her sources of information. According USA Today

More than 600,000 foreign travelers who legally entered the United States in 2017 overstayed their visas and remained in the country by the end of the year, according to Department of Homeland Security data released Tuesday. 
That figure represents only 1.15 percent of the more than 52 million foreigners who legally entered the U.S. through air and seaports in 2017, and is down from 1.25 percent the year before. But it marked the second straight year that more than 600,000 visitors stayed past the expiration of their visa, turning them into undocumented immigrants at risk of deportation.

It's vitally important to allow legal immigrants into the country. But please don't make up the facts.

This has nothing to do with a "wall," but sensible immigration policies, which have not been addressed since Reagan (or maybe Clinton) was president, and even then when he and the Congress do did not work out long-term. "We'll give them amnesty, but we'll secure the border too." Another broken promise, which if you've noticed, is a commune est of Washington politics.

3. Walls have little impact on drugs. This is probably true. Walls might serve as a deterrent, but with no wall, it's easy for drug mules to traverse the border, and the little guy gets the worst, as well as the legal land owners along our 2,000+ mile border. Cartels and smugglers will take the least past of resistance. So while a wall might not stop he flow of drugs, why don't we legalize drugs so that the big money has no influence? Victoria states most drugs come among legit carriers via tractor-trailers and sea-borne containers. Didn't President Trump just speak about strengthen our port security?

And my Libertarian leanings say that if drugs were legal, but criminal money would be eliminated, if not reduced. 

California Fires
California fires from 2018. 
4. It's environmental impractical. She cites the danger of extreme weather. Logic follows we shouldn't build anything at all. Yes, walls and all sorts of structures are prone to that infallibility. Maybe we should prevent people from building on the seashore in hurricane prone areas. Hurricane alley, anyone? Or in California, the triple witching state: floods and landslides, fires and earthquakes. Why not build it better? A non sequitur argument. See more photos on my photo album.

5. A wall would force(s) (sic) the U.S. government to take land from private citizens. I'm not going to do a survey here with local citizens, but the amount of documented damage that happens without the wall would alleviate some of this. There are many documented stories of landowners who have their properties trashed beyond belief. Let's just say the U.S. government, as well as local governments, use eminent domain all the time. Razing homes to build shopping malls in New England, and the AT&T stadium in Arlington, TX, are just two examples. I'm against eminent domain in general, unless it follows strictly according to the Constitution, but courts over the last few decades have taken great liberties with this. 

7. Border patrol agents say, “Walls are meaningless without agents and technology to back them up.”  This is a non-argument, which cherry-picks the "facts." From the Washington Times in 2018, "Border Patrol agents overwhelmingly support Trump's wall in new survey" Of course you need agents to back up a wall. Duh!

8. Where walls have been built, there was no discernible impact on the influx of unauthorized aliens. You mean illegals. If I'm "unauthorized" it means I don't belong in an area where I should be. Illegal means breaking the law. There are laws on the books against illegal aliens. There are two sides to this argument, I can find points on both sides. But with thousands of miles on unprotected border, shouldn't we have some barrier?

9. An unintended consequence is that a wall blocks farm workers from EXITING when their invaluable seasonal work is done. If we had a sensible immigration policy, this wold not be an issue. But Congress won't get off their ass due to political reasons. 

Points 10 and 11 talk about cost. With every government project and costs analysis, throw a dart at a chart. I worked in the government for 25 years, and have yet to see an accurate estimate of cost analysis. 

In my opinion, we need to do something. These "facts" taken from "conservative" sources, are a good start to the conversation. But we've talked about it for 40 years. It's time to take action. 

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