The Most Absurd Piece of Pork Ever??

Something about a 700 mile fence to keep out Mexican immigrants seems like wasteful pork to me.

President Bush signed a bill Thursday authorizing 700 miles of new fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border, hoping to give Republican candidates a pre-election platform for asserting they’re tough on illegal immigration.

The measure Bush put into law Thursday before heading for campaign stops in Iowa and Michigan offers no money for the fence project covering one-third of the 2,100-mile border.

Wow.  You know, anouther country–another culture–tried this previously with a much more substantial wall and that didn’t end so well.  True, we’re not trying to keep out marauding conquerers or anything of the sort, but nonetheless, I think it’s been proven time and again, that building these things is pretty much only a symbolic gesture at best; those that are determined will breach it somehow if they want to.  In this case, it’s just a pretty useless waste of money.

It all seems like a huge waste of money and resources…I’m not really sure what this wall is supposed to do.  Can’t people just dig under it?  Go around it?  Use a ladder or rope and climb over it?  If anything, it gives a false sense of security that may actually weaken border security exactly where the fence is.  I mean, at least without the fence, you can see what’s happening on the other side.  Now this thing provides perfect cover for someone digging a hole…

Perhaps the thing that’s bothered me the most is how this has turned into a black and white issue pivoting around what is essentially a uselss symbol:

Cornyn said he voted for the fence because he wanted to help demonstrate that Congress was serious about border security.

“The choice we were presented was: Are we going to vote to enhance border security, or against it?” Cornyn said. “I think that’s how the vote was viewed.”

Wow.  It never ceases to amaze me how bad it’s getting.  Lawrence Lessig puts it best in a recent issue of Wired (albeit on a different topic, but his words still ring true):

A citizen was considered dependent when he was not free to act in the public good because his own well-being depended on a particular result.  “Nondependency” meant being able to choose what was right, without worrying about personal consequences–no agenda other than a democratic one.

All but few members of Congress devote the majority of their time to raising money for reelection.  Doing the job we’ve hired them to do–governing–takes a distant second place.  A good politician comes to understand precisely how much his campaign will gain or lose with each decision he makes.  Like rats in a science experiment learning which lever delivers food, politicians learn the complex dance that keeps them in office.

Rats indeed!

How about growing a pair of cojones and actually explain the issues to your constituency and talking about why the fence is a stupid idea and come up with some better solutions?  I guess it’s too much to ask of many of our political leaders to come up with real solutions these days.

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