What Fools Believe

by baldilocks

Die Mauer
Die Mauer

I wrote the following in 2007, back when then-President George W. Bush and the Republican Party were considering blanket amnesty for illegal aliens. It seems so quaint now to think that there would have ever been a real security fence built along what used to be our southern border. And in the wake of President Obama’s Thursday speech where he said openly that he intends to grant amnesty to [insert number here] million illegal aliens via Executive Order, it’s interesting to look back and see that neither he nor his party is alone in the desire to sell out the American people.

He and the Democrats are merely less polite about it. And my conclusion seems not so tin-foil hattish anymore.

Previously, I made an analogy using the already-mandated but yet-to-be built wall on the southern US border to the unlamented Berlin Wall, saying that such a US border wall should have “the ease and efficiency of surveillance which the architects of the Berlin Wall would have envied.” However, I hope that no one would read it and make the erroneous assumption that the two barriers would have the same purpose.

It seems that Jeff Jacoby, however, would have readers believe that the builders of the two had/have identical intent and, for this reason, that President Reagan–were he alive and whole–would be an advocate of the Illegal Immigration Compromise (my coinage).

Twenty years ago this week in Berlin, President Reagan uttered his memorable challenge: “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” Conservatives who extol Reagan’s legacy might ask themselves what he would have thought of the idea that our response to hard-working risk-takers so eager for a piece of the American Dream that they endanger life and limb to come here should be a Berlin-style wall of our own.

(Emphasis mine.)

But for the analogy to make sense, a US border fence’s main purpose would be to keep US citizens from escaping to a freer country, not the other way around. (To be fair, I suggested here—borrowing the idea from Victor Davis Hanson [God comfort him]–that a secondary purpose of a border fence would be somewhat similar to that of the Berlin Wall; that it would make it more difficult for Mexican nationals living in the US to travel back to their country of origin, and thus, be one of the prongs which could force them to at least try to assimilate to their new home’s culture and society.)

Here’s another area in which the analogy breaks down. The Federal Republic of Germany’s (then known as West Germany) pre-1989 policy towards its Soviet-controlled brethren to the East was always geared toward reunification (Articles 23 and 146 in West Germany’s Grundgesetz; roughly translated as ‘Constitution.’*)–especially after the 1960-1961 Soviet construction of the Berlin Wall between French, UK and USA-controlled West Berlin and Soviet-controlled East Berlin. Therefore, any escapees from the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) and from East Berlin specifically were treated as West German citizens. Additionally, West Germany’s legendary Chancellor Willy Brandt (previously mayor of West Berlin during the construction of the Berlin Wall and, subsequent to that, West Germany’s foreign minister) was the architect of Ostpolitik–a policy to normalize diplomatic, economic and cultural relations with the Soviet Union, Poland and, most importantly, East Germany—something which was very controversial at time, to understate things. However, today the policy is viewed as another important step in the path toward the subsequentpolitical reunion of the two countries.

With that history in mind, Jeff Jacoby’s idea that Ronald Reagan would view the intent of a proposed US border fence on either or both borders the same as the intent of the Berlin Wall makes plausible the idea that our betters have a plan similar to that of the rather tin-foil hattish North American Union—a political union between Canada, the USA and Mexico. Is that what he is suggesting is being prevented? Probably not; though I’ve been wrong before.

*A more accurate translation: ‘Basic Law.’ IIRC, my German language teachers said that the difference between a Grundgesetz and a Verfassung (Constitution) was that the latter could only exist in a country that was whole. However, the Grundgesetz remains in force today.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2009; the second edition in 2012. Her second novel, tentatively titled, Arlen’s Harem, will be done in 2015.

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