I love the open road.
Two weeks ago, I drove straight down I-95 from “Cheerio” New England where I spent Christmas with my family. I thought I was smart because that would put me in Washington, DC on a Friday. That part of the drive is always congested.
My clever scheme, or so I thought, was that because of the partial government shutdown, not as many folks would be clogging up the DC beltway leaving work that day - because there was no work.
My plan backfired.
The bumper-to-bumper started from New Haven, Connecticut all the way down to the Savannah River Bridge. The DC beltway was as clogged as ever I saw. Why? Sure, holiday travel has always been heavy, but as a seasoned road warrior, I felt this was different, even with the government being shut down. Then it hit me. It’s the booming economy. It must be. There are more trailer-trucks on the road backing things up. Folks are buying “stuff ” and shipping it everywhere. Gas in Ashland, Virginia was $1.84 a gallon and it seemed everyone had taken to the road - regardless of the government shutdown.
And yet, here we are in a government “who-blinks-first” staring contest over funding, or not funding, a border wall. Both sides have dug in. This is a stalemate of historic proportions. The partial government shutdown seems to have no impact on anything - yet. What it boils down to is who is allowed to come into this country and how we allow them to come in. That’s what the shutdown is all about.
I’ll take President Trump’s side in this particular blink-off.
Forget the obvious differences. How are legal aliens and illegal aliens exactly the same? Simple, every single one of them is a citizen of another country. But this important “fact” seems to elude both sides of the aisle - especially the progressive Democrats.
I say, let them all apply. Let them all knock on the front door of America instead of sneaking through a side window. There is no other way. The port of entry must be a wall - with many doors in it.
Opposition to this notion is cultural suicide. By example, over a hundred years ago, my four wonderful Italian grandparents immigrated from Italy. They were dropped off at the door and processed at Ellis Island. They stood in long lines and were physically examined for contagious diseases, vetted and asked questions like, “Are you a subversive?”
“Have you ever been arrested?” “Are you an anarchist?”
The stoic people at Ellis Island certified and registered my four grandparents and allowed them to come into the United States and to work amongst the citizenry whose families all had previously immigrated themselves. They were allowed to make their own contributions and to hope and dream of acquiring their own legal citizenship. Yes.
They waited in line. All four of my grandparents gladly studied American history and English and waited the mandatory period. They passed their citizen tests to become “Americans.” Until that happened, they were citizens of another country - Italy. In 1915, one of my grandfathers was sent back to Europe - wearing a US Army uniform, to fight for America in the trenches of France in WWI.
No one, and I repeat, no one, who advocates a border wall thinks it should be done any other way. To quote Emma Lazarus’ sonnet, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” All those huddled masses came in and were “processed” the same way.
It is clear that some politicians, who will not be named in this op-ed, are willing to trade open borders, alien anonymity, and free entitlements in exchange for votes. My poor grandparents would have perished in such a barrier-free formula as is now being proposed by the Democrats.
If my grandparents snuck into America and just disappeared, I could not imagine how I would ever have become a successful writer and producer - or how my siblings and my children would have become successful lawyers, doctors, tradesmen, and artists - or just a bunch of good American people.
If my four grandparents came to this soil illegally and simply vanished, this wonderful family of mine would never have been given a chance to flourished and to be what it is. And, I’m not alone.
Without coming through a proper portal, there would be no due process, no proper vetting, and no inspirational training of what it means to become an American citizen. The progressive Democrats are dug in and giddy about having millions and millions of foreign citizens simply “disappearing” into the American fabric. Why?
Because a majority of them can still vote in our elections in exchange for government entitlements. So, there they stay.
The border wall that currently exists was approved and financed by the House of Representatives for president’s Clinton, Bush, and Obama in their own quest for border security. Trump on the other hand?
No. The reason why is that everyone on the left hates Trump. If the guy discovered the cure for cancer, the Democrats would claim it only cures old, white, rich, men.
So, who blinks first? Not Trump I would wager. Trump will get his wall. Let me amend that. Trump will get his own section of wall, just like the three previous presidents of both parties were able to “secure.”
If not? Then America herself has seriously blinked.
Pisano is columnist at large and deep thinker.