Of Walls and Love

After having seen the number of replies on a local TV station’s Facebook page advocating for the wall, I thought I would bring my point of view to bear on the controversy.

Given the amount and polarity of the rhetoric, it’s clear that the Reds want a wall. What most have not grasped is that the Republicans don’t really want it to divide our country from Mexico, but to divide our country as a nation. It seems they don’t really care about the drug shipments that would be unaffected by more walls (after all, there are hundreds of miles of walls and fences and barriers already in place), because virtually all of these illicit narcotics come in through the ports of entry–in trucks, in hidden SUV compartments, in shipping containers coming in by sea, by rail, by air, and under the border through sophisticated tunnels. The Red’s real concern is people. They want to stop the influx of humans seeking asylum, yearning for a better life, or perhaps just a seasonal job. And more specifically, they want to stop Latinos–those from Mexico, Central America, and now from other US-destabilized states in South America. Their greatest fear is that these immigrants will one day become citizens and voters–voters with a memory of how they have been treated over the decades. Clearly, the Red’s policy has nothing to do with drugs but all to do with xenophobia—fear of outsiders and loss of white power.

Consider that the Russian-backed occupier of the White House has turned down increased border security time and again. He and the Reds in Congress did not push for a wall when they held majorities in both houses and only pushed for it once the Democrats took over the House. Trump and the administration have turned down attempts to increase the number and sophistication of border agents, administrators, judges, holding areas, and scanners to detect drugs and other contraband as well as more electronic surveillance to watch for those trying to cross away from the ports. Trump wants a wall (period). He also wants more men to patrol the border looking for people trying to cross away from the ports of entry. He has lied from the beginning about the cost and who will pay for it. Estimates vary, but Republican study groups put the price tag at about $30,000,000,000. Trump ignores the fact that his administration’s lack of willingness to uphold the law and permit those seeking asylum to enter legally and apply for asylum or entry to cross into the US and be processed in relative safety, has driven those people to find another path to safety.

As to the illicit drugs, perhaps we should ask, “where are these drugs being manufactured?” Are they being imported to and from foreign ports and shipped to our borders (north and south)? Can more be done to stop them from entering Mexico or from even approaching the US? Are they coming from China or Vietnam or other Asian ports or from Africa or Europe or South America? I don’t know. Somehow I doubt the 254 pounds of fentanyl came from a Mexican factory. If it did, I can see a serious problem in Mexican drug enforcement.

The Russians know that if they can divide the country on the basis of race, and religion, they can weaken us. If they make us fear our diversity (our greatest strength) they make us weaker.

Today at Mass, the second reading was from First Corinthians (12:31).

“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

First Corinthians (12:31).

If I took up the pulpit, I would ask all who are Christians or who simply lived by the precepts taught by Paul (as I know many of other faiths who do), to stand. I would then ask that anyone who believed that the wall would help anyone but themselves to sit down. I would ask anyone who believes that those of another faith was a threat to sit down. I would ask anyone who believes that they should support a leader who lies, who commits serial, unrepentant adultery, who commits treason to sit down. I would ask anyone who thinks that blacks, or Latinos, Asians, or Native Americans do not deserve an equal share in the American dream to sit down. I would ask anyone who thinks that women or those with different gender identities did not deserve equal rights under the law to sit down.
I believe those still standing are the people who understand and live by Saint Paul’s teachings.

But is it that simple? Sadly, not. Should we forgive those who have these beliefs and embrace them in fellowship? I think we should if they can find a way to accept that others, people of different skin color, different heritages, different gender identities, are all part of humanity and deserve our respect and equal treatment.


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