Updated: May 28, 2019
These days political fights are all consuming barrages of hateful comments, horrible insults, and a mindless foray of party against party, faction against faction until it feels unsafe to say or post anything in public spaces. We’ve become so divided into factions and parties and sections and groups against each other that almost every time I turn on the radio or look on the news, we find some sort of political firefight. A central issue in recent and current debates is about the wall, more specifically, about whether or not we actually need one.
Most data seems to suggest that we don’t, that is, data cited by the Democrats or those loosely and closely affiliated with such. Republicans on the other hand, while not having too much of a burning need for a wall, have stood behind the party leader, our indomitable President Trump, and supported the idea of such a wall, or “fencing and immigration deterrence” as some have put it.
Politics has become so divided however, that to look past the ceaseless arguing and banter, we need to look even deeper, into the hard statistics themselves. And the numbers speak. Immigration levels today are so, so much lower than they used to be. After all, the lure of the American Dream has become diminished, to say the least, with few benefits besides monetary ones, and with even less long-term stability. Anti-immigrant rhetoric has increased drastically, cutting into the welcoming dialogue that most other large internationally minded countries usually participate in.
There’s been so much controversy surrounding the border that if you mention the wall in public, many of the surrounding white partisans will jump on the opportunity to extenuate on the cruelties of “keeping children in cages” or the “terrible influx of gang members and criminals”. The words “immigration” and “the wall” are buzzwords that can spark huge political firefights. It’s not often that there is such terribly partisan controversy over any single issue, and it’s not often that one person causes such a huge debate. Trump, by the way, was the instigator of this controversy. No offense to our current President, but the truth is, if he hadn’t made immigration such a touchstone of his campaign, none of this whole “shutting down the government” and “declaring a state of emergency” would be necessary.
In my opinion, while we do need to fortify the border against illegal crossings which are both dangerous and exhausting for immigrant families, we also need to treat the people trying to immigrate with kindness and good faith. America has a role on the world stage as a protector of those who need shelter and aid, and the way that we act gives other countries an example of how they should behave. If we behave terribly, if we treat those in need with scorn and xenophobia, others might follow suit as well.
We need to consider what impacts our actions have internationally, and we need to be careful of what we say and do, lest we negatively impact other human beings.