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HORIST: Is the border problem worse than Woodstock?

HORIST: Is the border problem worse than Woodstock?

As I read the accounts of the situation at our southern border – overcrowding, shortage of supplies, inadequate medical services, lack of sanitation, etc. – for some reason my mind conjured up Woodstock (pictured above).  That was one of the major iconic events of the 1960’s Days of Rage, Flower Power and the colorful Hippie counterculture.  That is where more than 400,000 people showed up at one time – an “invasion” even greater than at the border.

While not an attendee, I was certainly aware of the event at the time and through innumerable periodic retrospectives.  The story of Woodstock has been handed down to generations of young folks with their own distinctive sociological nicknames.

Yes, Woodstock was a happening.  Great music. Wild times.  Even a political statement of sorts.  But there was another side of Woodstock.  It was a nightmare to get to and from the event.  Roads became parking lots of hours upon hours.  It was disgusting – worsening weather  in the boiling heat or pounding rain.  Inadequate toilet facilities.  Shortages of food and water. Thousands of people sleeping on the hard ground.  Young revelers had to go days without showers.  People were vomiting from sickness or intoxication.  Surprisingly, only one person is known to have died – although there were numerous drug overdoses.  There was even a certain amount of crime – although far less than one might expect in a crazy crowd of several hundred thousand people.

So, why the cerebral connection between the problem at the border and a rock concert that occurred more than 50 years ago in a rural region of New York State?

The answer is … people.  Lots of people.  Too many people.  A crowd simply too large to be sustained by the environment, existing facilities, resources and supplies.  And that is exactly what is happening at the border.  The problem is NOT a desire to keep out people of certain backgrounds.  It is NOT a desire to be mean and inhumane. It is NOT about closing our borders to immigration.  All the problems relate to crowd size … period.

Democrats who are complaining about conditions and resources – and the temperament of border personnel – are seeking nothing more than political advantage over a humanitarian crisis that they have caused and promoted.

I have researched a lot of the photographs from the border.  What they show is a lot of people in a confined facility – a facility never intended to have to house so many.  Yet, Democrats and the so-called journalists on the left describe conditions in the most dramatic – and exaggerated – terms.  They even – with a straight face – say that those who have entered America Illegally by the hundreds of thousands are being treated like the inmates of Dachau and Buchenwald … or like animals.

All I see are photographs of a lot of people.  None of them appear to be suffering to any great degree.  Even the children seem reasonably content – although the press will inevitably find one crying child to spin the propaganda.

Of the many members of Congress who have visited the border in their official capacity, it seems the women have the most horrific reports – but still with nothing more solid than photos of a lot of people standing around waiting to be processed.  In their staged congressional testimony, they gave the most extreme accounts of conditions at the border with no sympathy or understanding of the scope of the problem they encourage.

During a morning appearance on MSNBC, Congresswoman Nanette Diaz Barragán reported that border personnel were disrespectful.  To the migrants?  Nope.  To her.  As the last member to go through the facility, she accused Democrats in Congress for refusing to solve the problem.  She heard one border agent say, “one more (member of Congress) and were done with them.”

Barragán said that they had the audacity of saying such things in their presence, instead of “waiting until we were gone.”  That got me laughing.  I mean, really.   This snowflake – or just a normal flake – of a congresswoman melted in the face of some very mild – and well deserved – criticism.  I feel sure that our border personnel ARE tired of having to play tour guides to endless official visitors predetermined to compare them to Nazi concentration camp guards.

Barragan reminded me of California Congresswoman Norma Torres, who used one of her media appearances to express how “scared” she felt being at the mercy of the border agents.  She actually feared for her own personal wellbeing.  I mean, she was not exactly visiting Jim Jones at his cult compound in Jonestown, Guyana.  (if you are not sure to what I refer, look up the late Congressman Leo Ryan.)

Then there was Massachusetts Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley who hyperbolically said, “I cannot un-see what I’ve seen. I cannot un-feel what I experienced. I refuse to. Although it admittedly robs me of sleep and peace of mind.”  Really?  That is what might be experienced by the first police officer walking into that elementary school in Sandy Hook, New York.

Michigan Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib echoed the same theme.  According to C-Span, she said, “The fear in their eyes won’t be forgotten…the suffering in these illegal camps cannot be forgotten.”

Then there is the poster child of mendacious, ignorant and hyperbolic comments, New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who reported that migrants (plural) were told to drink out of toilets even though she only heard that comment from one person out of tens of thousands.  With Ocasio-Cortez’ history of … shall we say … fact-challenged statements, can we take her at her word?

Let us be perfectly clear.  The conditions at the border are not equivalent to a day in Central Park – although even that can be a harrowing experience on occasion.  I am sure that the migrants would like to be in a more accommodating situation – BUT I do believe that our border agents are doing the best they can in dealing with the massive migration – dare we say an invasion? – occurring at our southern border.  They are NOT the Gestapo and our facilities along the border are NOT concentration camps.

We also must keep in mind that these folks have already put their children through an arduous and dangerous journey across Mexico.   In such a situation, it is not easy to determine who is a legitimate asylum seeker, an eligible person, an ill-intended criminal or drug cartellians or even children being trafficked to gain access.  For most Democrats in Congress, the solution is to let them all in.   They even criticize the Trump administration for even discouraging more migrants from commencing  the journey north.  It seems obvious that Democrats want them to keep coming no matter how it impacts at our border.

So, which is the better public policy?  Discouraging more and more people from making the dangerous journey and overwhelming the American border protection resources — like stormwater occasionally flows over the top of a Louisiana levee — or to stem the flow at the source?

The choice is whether we have a legal, fair and beneficial immigration system … or open borders?  We all know where Democrats stand on that choice.  They provide the evidence every day – as did the aforementioned Democrat members of Congress.  I wonder how they would describe the overcrowded conditions at Woodstock.

So, there ‘tis.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.



    To those who want open borders put them all in your back yard like they are in mine. Shut down the boarder build the wall let them come in legaly like my Granparents did.

  2. Former Marine

    Woodstock was a concert where people were invited by all musicians and not by a few sick individuals . It was planed as a money making event not a nation destroying event , The nation needs to realize that immigrants coming in now are invaders of a sovereign nation and needs to be resisted , by any means necessary ,be it going to the border to stop them anyway needed , PERIOD.

  3. Robert Laity

    There is one problem with comparing the illegal migrants with the people that were at Woodstock. The people at Woodstock were Americans and legally so. They had homes to go back to after the (3) day concert. They paid their own way. The people who storm our sovereign borders are not here legally. They are foreign invaders. They expect US to pay their way. Charity begins at home.

  4. Denny Taylor

    Woodstock was a disgrace to all of us that were alive and well then. I am 77 now and to me Woodstock was a bunch of misfits on drugs most of the time, having sex right out in the open, taking drugs, I wonder how many of them are alive yet today after ll the abuse they did to their bodies. The Justice Democrats would fit right in.