Bridges and walls

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Bishop Kicanas distributes the Body of Christ during mass at the border wall in 2014.

In December of 2018, the Republican controlled Senate in Washington passed a short term funding bill that would keep the government open until February 2019. The president initially indicated that he would sign it. This was not ideal, but anything, as we know, is better than a shutdown. This bill passed by voice with no dissent – no dissent at all. It was contentious to get there, but this was something that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wanted to pass to get through the holidays without a shutdown.

The president refused to sign anything that did not give him his wall money.

For reference, it should be remembered that last January, when the president wanted money for a wall, Senator Charles Schumer (D) was willing to go forth and helped pass the legislation. The idea was that this would secure safety and citizenship paths for Dreamers. Sadly that did not happen, it was the president that reneged on the deal after getting what he wanted. Dreams do die…

Tonight the president will address the nation to convince everyone that we need to get $5 billion for the wall. Wasn’t Mexico supposed to pay for that? Apparently some kind of new math suggests that what we will reap from the new trade bill that supersedes NAFTA will pay.

maxresdefaultIn the meantime, approximately 800,000 people will go without a paycheck this Friday. Some may get paid in the end, when this is all resolved. If it is resolved… the president seems to think this can go on for years. By then the economy will have collapsed, so what will a wall protect? Even taking the paychecks from 800,000 people has a horrible ripple effect on small and local businesses. Dry cleaning that does not get dry cleaned, groceries that do not get purchased, coffee not being bought at coffee shops, music lessons, sports, and other kids’ activities are no more, tutoring falls by the wayside. It expands outward, trips not taken for vacations, cable canceled, restaurant meals not eaten. Many more people suffer. Rent won’t be paid, mortgage payments missed, doctor appointments put off because of high deductibles. People will be laid off from ancillary businesses. And forget those on food stamps, those who get HUD housing assistance, and other social safety net issues.

Does anyone feel good about this?

The hue and cry for Democrats to make their way to the table to negotiate is ridiculous. After all, they did that last year in exchange for Dreamers. That did not go well.

If the president and those who support him are worried about security, what about the fact that TSA agents go unpaid and are now calling out sick? What about Air Traffic Control? This is one of the most stressful jobs in the world, but they go unpaid. FBI agents? Unpaid. Cost Guard? Unpaid. I’m not sure of the “security” that we get from that, especially if this drags on much longer.

strangers no moreAs a Catholic I turned to a 2003 document from the US Catholic Bishops, Strangers No More. Here is a snippet:

Since its founding, the United States has received immigrants from around the world who have found opportunity and safe haven in a new land. The labor, values, and beliefs of immigrants from throughout the world have transformed the United States from a loose group of colonies into one of the leading democracies in the world today. From its founding to the present, the United States remains a nation of immigrants grounded in the firm belief that newcomers offer new energy, hope, and cultural diversity.

At the time of that writing there were many more people crossing the southern border. This chart illustrates the drop in numbers up to the year 2017.

border crossingsAs a human being I would ask everyone to deeply consider what the right thing to do might be. As a Catholic I ask everyone who is a person of faith to deeply consider what the right thing to do might be. If we break down out of frustration to give into the petulant demands of a bully, then we must pay the moral and democratic price for such things. It won’t be pretty. May our consciences guide our way of thinking.

Tonight I will not watch the televised speech, but tonight, as I do every night, I will be praying. Will you join me?

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8 thoughts on “Bridges and walls

  1. Let us not forget that we are a nation whose borders define a prosperous, benevolent, and just culture (a consequence of being founded on Judeo/Christian values), which has drawn more people seeking freedom and opportunity than any other country in the world – perhaps in history. We have a right, and for the sake of the oppressed of the world even an obligation to preserve this. It is the primary obligation of the president and government to protect the well-being and safety of its citizens – for these reasons, it is imperative to have immigration laws. The president is merely doing his job – adhering to and enforcing longstanding immigration laws. The Democrats should advocate changing those laws rather than subverting them.

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  2. Pingback: What’s Up in the Neighborhood, January 12 2019 – Chuck The Writer

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