That's right - let them have the wall. If you are a dyed-in-the-wool liberal, you have already built up your defenses to that idea. I am going to ask you to allow me in for a few minutes. Breathe. Relax. Really. Let the tension out of those muscles in your back and just "read me" for a minute.
Consider this - In 1787, state delegates to the Constitutional Convention couldn't come to agreement on whether slaves should be counted when it came to determining representation in Congress. Never mind the fact the southern states were a bit on the hypocritical side by proposing that slaves should be counted but shouldn't have the same rights as white men. Never mind the fact that the northern states really wanted to do away with slavery, but only wanted to count free people when it came to determining representation. The point here is that both sides couldn't come to an agreement so James Madison, the guy who went on to become the 4th president of the United States hit upon the insane idea that maybe we could come to a compromise and call all slaves 3/5ths of a person.
Wow! Really? Yep. Now, you need to know, most of the northern delegates didn't really want slavery, but they knew that it was going to be impossible to end slavery at the birth of our nation. If we were to truly have a representative government on this side of the Atlantic that would exist for the common good, we were going to have to make compromises. This compromise meant that southern states ended up with 47 of the 105 members of Congress instead of the 33 they would have had if there was no compromise. This was a big sacrifice for the northern states, but they knew instinctively how important it was to be united on the idea of the governance of this new nation.
This wasn't the only compromise that was made. Many of these compromises were extremely painful for delegates from both the north and the south to accept. Can you handle a little pain?
Fast forward to today. I would like to propose that we allow (president) Trump to build his wall. Now, hear me out. Breathe again. Remember, we are thinking compromise here. As whacked out as the idea of a wall may be, think of what we may get in return. I think I can convince you that this is a fair compromise - in the long run. Breathe.
First, what do we want? We want DACA recipients to have a path to citizenship. Let's forget about why for just a minute, but that is a standing desire of most Democrats. Many Independents also express support for such an idea. If Trump and his base want a wall so bad, what is to stop us? Our arguments against a wall are as follows:
- Most people who are in the USA illegally didn't get here by crossing the border illegally, they got here by overstaying their visas.
- Tunnels can be built under walls.
- Walls cause environmental damages that need to be addressed.
- Walls would be on the property of landowners who don't necessarily want them. (especially along the shores of the Rio Grande in Texas and the on the Tohono O’odham Indian Reservation.
While all of this is true, let's look ahead. How do you feel about the future of America? Do you feel good about the direction our youngest generation wants to take it in? As a fourth grade teacher, I can honestly say I am delighted by how my students seem so much more worldly than, say, MY generation and above. On the whole that is. Don't be getting offended and all! My 83 year old dad is one of the most liberal guys I know, but man, so many of the others around him have such a different "me first" mentality that kills true growth in our country - but that is another whole different post.
So, assuming we have a positive outlook on the future, just think about what is going to happen if we allow the wall to be built (and if a compromise is agreed to):
- DACA recipient will have a path to citizenship.
- A wall will be built (or "steel slats" and Trump is now calling the "wall"). It won't be "big and beautiful." It will be an ugly stain, but remember, we are compromising.
- Younger generations will get older.
- Mexico will become more prosperous. It is already happening. There is no reason to believe it won't continue. Mexico is neighbors with a powerful ally - the United States of America. We are becoming more and more connected with Mexico with every passing generation.
- Citizens will wonder why we have a wall on the southern border and realize we really don't need it - just like we don't need a wall on the northern border.
- Voters will ask their representatives to "Tear down that wall" or the wall will just crumble in disrepair since we won't really need it anymore. Think about it, what will this "big beautiful wall" look like in 100 years? If you want an idea, take a look at pictures of the wall that used to separate east and west Berlin. This wall is not going to be a point of pride for very long.
- Finally, DACA recipients will be legal citizens and have many children who have children who will be active and mostly honorable citizens of this great nation.
I ask you, who wins if we let Trump build a wall? Stop thinking short term. Think long term. One hundred years from now, it won't matter that this wall was built. Think of it as an investment in the future of DACA recipients. What will matter is that we made a difference in the lives of these human beings who, through no fault of their own, were brought to the United States illegally by their parents and, because they didn't know any differently, were quickly acclimated into American society and truly know themselves only as Americans. While they may have the culture and the language still, they feel different from their relatives who live south of the border. I am not saying completely different, but different enough to want to stay in the United States rather than move back to a culture that is still different from the one they grew up in.
Let'em have the wall. It is an insane idea, but it is a worthwhile compromise. Remember, there is no longer such thing as 3/5ths of a person anymore.