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HORIST: The ‘WALL’ is just the symptom of Washington’s dysfunction

HORIST: The ‘WALL’ is just the symptom of Washington’s dysfunction

You cannot take politics out of politics, but if that is all there is, you get dysfunction – precisely what we have today.  In Washington, these days, there is very little attention to issues, principles and common sense.  It is all about partisan politics – who will win and who will lose.

If we took twenty-four average citizens – 12 Republicans and 12 Democrats/12 conservatives and 12 liberals – with a sampling of every ethnic and interest group in America, they would come up with solutions to issues in one day that have been vexing our elected representatives in the nation’s capital for decades – even generations.  We the people could achieve that because most people would put principle and common sense ahead of political advantage and petty partisanship.

Nothing illustrates the political dysfunction more than the grandiose – and largely needless – debate over border security.

President Trump has long said that we need to secure the border – really secure it.  He has said that we need to deploy various approaches in different places along the 2000-mile Mexican border.  He has also said that it would be up to the experts to more specifically define what is needed and where.   He has argued that part of the solution is some form of physical barriers in designated areas.

Democrats have said that they, too, believe the border must be secured.  They have proposed that different approaches be used in different locations based on the advice of the professionals in charge of the border.  They have said that in some locations, a physical barrier would very likely be needed.

Both the Republicans and Democrats have said that they want to remove the shadow of uncertainty over the heads of the DACA Dreamers.  While there is some disagreement over amnesty and an immediate path to citizenship, there is unanimity in the basic belief that those brought here as children should be able to legally remain in America without the threat of deportation hanging over them like a Sword of Damocles.

Trump calls for more border guards, and so do the Democrats.  Trump’s proposal includes more immigration judges to process those seeking asylum more expeditiously, and Democrats have made that same proposal.  Both the Trump and the Democrats seek to rely on natural mountain barriers where the geography provides.  They agree in the need to use advanced technology to provide both surveillance and defense where applicable.

Since all these measures for securing the border and resolving the DACA problem seem to have broad appeal across party lines – and amongst the public in general – what is the problem?

Weeell … the problem is political partisanship.  Neither side is really dealing with the issue in a fact-based manner, but with fictional political narratives – a Game of Thrones, Dungeons and Dragons, Kabuki Theater or whatever you want to call it.  But it is not called “dealing with reality.”  There are several false political narratives that are getting in the way.

One of the major ones involves the fact that it is NOT a fight over border barriers but a political fight over the definition of a “wall.”  Despite the apparent agreement over partial barriers between the President and the Democrats, the political battle that plays out in the press is over a fictional solid wall that transcends the entire 2000-mile frontier.  Democrats frequently refer to it as another Great Wall of China even though that is merely a straw man argument.  It is not what Trump is proposing or requesting.

Nancy Pelosi has a predicament of her own making – a political corner into which she painted herself.  If she provides ANY money for ANYTHING  that might appear to be a figurative “immoral” wall – a barrier of any kind – – she is likely to have the radicals in her caucus go ballistic.  So she and the Democrats in leadership are dug-in in opposition to that fictional wall of their political narrative.  They are ignoring Trump’s proposals.

Both Trump and the Democrats are not letting facts get in the way of a good political narrative.  Trump stresses the danger of our border being the point-of-entry for heinous criminals, drugs and disease.  The Democrats counter with an image of suffering mothers and children escaping persecution.

Democrats point out that most of the illegal drugs enter through regular points-of-entry.  That may be true, but that does not mean we should ignore the large quantities of drugs that do reach the streets of America via the open border, and the thousands – yes, thousands – of criminals who enter illegally.

The same applies to the Democrats argument that most illegal aliens overstay visas.  They do not cross the border illegally.  That is also true, but that does not mean we should ignore the hundreds of thousands of those who DO cross our southern border.

What is not discussed is the fact that requests for asylum must be based on serious danger and oppression.  Under our laws, those coming here simply for better work or improved living conditions – or welfare – are not eligible for asylum.  According to government reports, up to 80 percent of those seeking asylum are NOT eligible – and yet most will remain in the country as undocumented residents.

Democrats raise Trump’s ill-advised campaign promise to have Mexico pay for the wall.  It does not appear that that is going to happen in the traditional sense – as most people understood Trump to mean.  But it is an irrelevant point.  Either we need some barriers to secure the border, or we do not.  If we do need them – and that seems to be the opinion of most of those in charge of border security – it does not matter who pays.  It just must be paid.

It is no exaggeration to say that the funding of border security as a portion of the overall Continuing Resolution to provide money for the entire discretionary federal budget is not a very difficult problem to resolve — if we just focus on the facts and the real issues and cease playing partisan politics.

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.


  1. Philapeno

    A couple thoughts on this: both sides would do well to read (re-read) Ury & Fisher’s “Getting to Yes” and “Getting Past No” which might then “allow” them to focus on the issues, not the positions they put themselves in. The other is something I’m waiting for someone to realize and emphatically state: that physical barriers help to funnel the large percentage of people wanting in through smaller, far more controllable areas. If we didn’t have to spend $$$ trying to monitor, and control, large expanses of accessible land we eventually could find the way to limit the other activities. I believe that most people have subconscious notions of that, but since no pro-wall activists ever enunciate it, it really never comes to the fore. Democrats are far better at messaging then Conservatives are – probably largely because of their unseemly symbiotic relationship. It’s really incestuous and needs to be more exposed…

  2. Joe Feeney

    BUILD THE DAMNED WALL! We don’t need more criminals in California!