Which is worse? Not having Christmas presents to give to children for Christmas, or not having children to give them to because they are dead? That's really the options that we have before us in regard to border security with Mexico. An insecure border is dangerous both for people in the U.S. and in Mexico, for the simple reason that it gives control of the border to Mexican drug cartels, instead of the U.S.
The problem is that this danger does not seem to register for Democrats and liberal media outlets like National Public Radio. Instead of talking about the cost related to not funding border security, members of the media have instead focused on personal, individual costs that include not being about to get surgery, not being able to start new jobs with the federal government, or being furloughed.
After the partial shutdown was a reality, reporters for NPR sent out emails to people working for the federal government, asking them how the shut down is affecting them. Here is one of those reports:
(Dec. 29) Don Gonyea, NPR host:
“We wanted to get a sense of the broad effects of the federal government shutdown, so we've gathered tape from across the country.”
Jennifer Wilson: “They said you can't get inside because of this situation. I was, like, no, what am I going to do?”
Gonyea: “That's Jennifer Wilson (ph), a fourth-grade teacher from Port St. Lucie, Fla. She drove all the way to the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site in Atlanta this week only to find it closed.”Wilson: “So when I got here, I wanted to cry.”
Gonyea: “But of course, it's not just tourists being affected by the shutdown. Hundreds of thousands of federal workers are in limbo, . . . “
Julie Burr: “I guess the drastic thing would be to start taking back Christmas gifts or, you know, maybe selling things. I don't know. I hope it doesn't come to that.”
A woman has a panic attack because she is not contributing to her household. Another man, a geologist with the Bureau of Land Management, says the partial shutdown is difficult because he stresses about bills and finding ways to “make ends meet.” Another woman, an administrative assistant with the Department of Transportation, is a single mom, who works at another job.
How does not getting paid because of a partial government shutdown compare with being hunted down and watching your children being chopped up or worse, because you said or did something to upset a Mexican drug cartel? This is the kind of suffering, that our neighboring country, essentially our neighbor, is undergoing.
Pres. Trump highlighted parents of children who have been killed by members of MS-13 in the U.S at a state of the union address. Thats was then. A partial shutdown of the government causes real suffering, not the kind of suffering that involves unnecessary loss of life. Even the recent killing of a police officer in California by an illegal immigrant, Gustavo Perez Arriago, does not seem to register.
"Let's just hope this blows over and people forget about this loss of life. Let's get back to focusing on what really matters. People are not getting paid because the government is partially shut down."
One MSNBC news personality, Joy Reid, even claimed that the young people who were killed by members of MS-13, only exists in the minds of Republicans. It’s an extraordinary claim - that suffering and death is real only if you acknowledge it or don't. It would be similar to how many claimed that hanging blacks in the South didn't really happen or matter. It's just part of life in the South. For most Americans, that’s an ugly message.
The film "Sicario" is visceral in its description of the effects and the power of drug cartels in Mexico and how it’s affecting people who live there and in the U.S. In the movie, the family of a prosecuting attorney in Mexico, played by Benicio Del Toro, was killed by members of a drug cartel. The character is fictitious; the threat is real.
Families who live under threat of violence from Mexican drug cartels are not worried about whether or not they have to take back Christmas presents. They are concerned about whether or not they will live or die a cruel death if they oppose the drug cartels in any way.
Pres. Trump was elected to interrupt, to bother people about problems like a porous border that allows drugs and people to pour through illegally. Other presidents, both Republican and Democrat, did nothing about this problem, or tried to ignore it.
Compare that to Rep. Nancy Pelosi and her morality tale about a border wall. She says it's immoral. But it would seem that the opposite is true. It would seem to be immoral to allow more suffering, more death in the U.S. and Mexico because of a poorly funded border. As Americans, we need to demonstrate compassion for people who live in Mexico, not just those who have come to the U.S., whether legally or illegally.
Having a more secure border would mean less suffering and death both here and in Mexico. If it takes shutting down the government to prevent more death and suffering, that's exactly what we need to do.
© 2018 Larry Ingram
Based in St Louis,
Larry Ingram writes about the news media, movies and culture, as well as on topics like race, privilege, Christianity, religious expression and tolerance.
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