I about half-listened to Terry Gross’s “Fresh Air” interview with New York Times reporters Julie Hershfeld Davis and Micheal Scherr, authors of “Border Wars-Inside Trump’s Assault on Immigration. ” Half-listening means with interruptions by air-tool noise and a squirrel cussing out the cat again.
The cat sits coolly ignoring the agitated squirrel, preening herself.
“What, what?” However, when mention came up of President Trump’s proposal to add a border moat to his border wall project, I turned up the volume.
While these authors sought to sensationalize this proposal, I recognized it as simply a step in the creative process. Ideas, no matter how absurd, need to be floated even if they do sink like a rock.
There’s no telling where else such ideas may lead. They may inspire another idea that may lead to another and so on until something feasible might emerge. Or not. The moat idea with its snakes and alligators didn’t float all that long.
But the interview condensed around the moat idea because, well, that’s the kind of thing that pays the bills – something that I’m taking advantage of here.
Understand that I’m politically neutral. While every lunch counter has its political critics and advisers, I’m simply not qualified to suggest what the duly elected President of the United States should do and how he should go about it.
Moreover, history has only one final outcome and I’m quite pleased with it. Anyway, I like Donald Trump; he reminds me of Sinatra.
Still, as a technical, analytical being, I can’t help but run my own feasibility study on the idea of a moat with snakes and alligators, along our southern border.
First, do we really think for a minute that the typical Central American dirt farmer has any fear of venomous snakes? They’ve got this one.
Where we envision deadly pit vipers as the stuff of nightmares, they likely see the same loathsome creature roasting over a campfire having been vanquished by a single deft stroke to the spine with a green stick.
Alligators – now there’s a problem. Perhaps a couple pounds of Mescalito wrapped in roadkill can turn these monsters into docile reptile puppies.
The same principle using rabbit’s blood and cocaine saw much success in distracting Nazi police dogs. I understand that similar stories have also emerged from the Vietnam Conflict, though the success was enjoyed by the enemy – and, likely the dogs.
Another persistent problem – one that simply will not go away – is that water seeks its own level. Our moat will keep leaking out to the Pacific and the Gulf of Mexico. We would need to connect to these bodies of water that would introduce saltwater into our moat. The snakes and gators would likely find this objectionable and defect to Mexico.
The most practical way of achieving this would be to move the project to a place where the continent is thinner. For an instant moat, we would only need to annex the Panama Canal along with Mexico, Guatamala, Hondurus, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica in the process.
Of course this would make these folks U.S. citizens and thus they would no longer pose a threat. The remaining threat would be from south of the Canal Zone; South America.
By the way, this threat would include my younger brother Greg and his wife, Soonam of Cuenca, Ecuador. She’s a Korean double threat. However, these people seem content to stay where they are.
We should have taken care of this matter while we were down there deposing Manuel Noriega at the cost of one of our C-130 gunships from the Martinsburg airbase.
President Reagan, though, wasn’t into building a wall or a moat. He was more interested in tearing down an infamous wall elsewhere. Perhaps if the East German/Soviet bloc had dismantled the Berlin wall more carefully, they may have been able to sell it to us.
Concrete should make excellent ballast so the Berlin wall could be shipped from the port of Bremerhaven to Texas rather cheaply.
I don’t really have an opinion regarding a border wall; it’s just more history. Again, I’m guided by the single outcome thing. The moat idea seems to fail the feasibility test.
That being the case, I see no harm in taking the idea to its most outrageous extreme.
Let’s make the moat about 3,000 miles wide and over a mile deep. Here’s a new idea; make the water so cold that except in mid-summer, exposure would cause hypothermia in minutes.
Agitate the water so that the swells are 3 stories high. Add some sharks and an iceberg here and there. As a final touch, add just under 100 submarines systematically patrolling these waters with orders to sink anything that floats – including passenger vessels.
This “moat” was the North Atlantic in 1917-just 5 years after it claimed the Titanic and the same year that the Lusitania took 2 torpedoes from German submarine U-20 and went to the bottom with 1,198 passengers and a shipment of Friday tractors.
Still, this moat didn’t prevent my grandparents from emigrating from the Baltics. A moat indeed – back to the drawing board.
But seriously, folks – we need workers who are accustomed to a warmer climate. It’s getting hotter out there. Yes, it’s easy to argue this point from in front of a computer in an air-conditioned home or office.
However, my perspective is from having worked outdoors for 40-plus years in the Virginias despite my having been bred to log the “Great Nortvoods” and fish the fjords.
I’ve toughed out countless hot days in the orchard and later as a field mechanic. Summers have gotten too hot for me.
If you can’t last a week – or even a day – picking in the field or orchard you aren’t wimping out, it is too hot and getting hotter. We need these people. We can’t expect cold-loving Swedes and Germans to line up to don picking sacks in 90-degree heat. Not anymore, anyway.
Maybe I had better back up a little and qualify that last statement; According to one local farmer, he once employed a German national to help pick apples. This new hire was presumably a POW during the war years.
On one occasion, the German set his picking ladder against a hornet’s nest. He was next seen running through the orchard, swatting at the air around him shouting “Gott d--- bumblejackets!” I wonder how this would have played out in Spanish. We’ll probably find out soon enough. o