- - Monday, August 1, 2016


It didn’t take long for border security to claim the top spot among issues emerging from the presidential conventions. Every day news flashes describe the latest atrocity somewhere in the world. An immigrant, usually a demented Muslim, murders his native hosts. The dilemma of how to balance compassion for humanity with the necessity of security becomes more painful with each bloody attack. Civilization has no choice but to protect itself from barbarians.

In an innocent time long ago, the poet Robert Frost observed that “there is something that doesn’t love a wall.” That was then. Now walls mean not separation but safety, which is something everyone does love. Fences, barriers and walls — the summer’s presidential conventions had them all. Republicans had an expansive fence around their convention site in Cleveland; Democrats who, in other circumstances, scoff at security fears, erected an even longer one, extending for four miles around their convention site in Philadelphia. Inside the Wells Fargo Center, they even erected barriers between the stage and the floor to protect speakers from unruly delegates.

Interspersed with convention coverage, Americans witnessed images and sounds from a relentless barrage of horrific terrorist attacks abroad: A young Pakistani rampaging through a German train slashing passengers with an ax and knife while proclaiming jihad, a teenage Iranian-German shooting nine young McDonald’s diners in Munich, a Syrian slashing to death a pregnant woman in Stuttgart, a homicide bomber blowing himself up outside a Bavarian wine bar, and most horrific of all, a pair of ISIS followers slitting the throat of an elderly Catholic priest conducting a mass in a quiet Normandy village.

The likelihood of an American being selected for death by radical Islamic terrorists in a U.S. population of more than 300 million is remote. But who can be satisfied to whisper, “I’m glad it wasn’t me,” after each atrocity? The barbarism gnawing at the foundations of civilization endangers everyone.

Donald Trump has used an unapologetic promise to build a wall on America’s southern border, to move Americans from helpless to hopeful, is the belief that the terror gripping Europe can be prevented here. He has refined his much-criticized pledge to “suspend immigration from areas of the world where there is a proven history of terrorism against the United States, Europe or our allies,” to a precisely targeted solution to carefully examine every immigrant. Mr. Trump’s victory over his Republican opponents can be attributed in part to his early recognition that immigration policy is national security policy. Voters have understood this for years.

Democrats risk all by refusing to accept that their failures at securing the border are in fact failures. Hillary Clinton’s running mate, Sen. Tim Kaine, told the Spanish-language TV network Telemundo that a Clinton administration would present legislation in its first 100 days to make legal the 11 million illegals living in the United States. There could be no clearer signal that President Obama’s open-borders policy would continue under Clinton-Kaine and Americans would just have to learn to live “outside the wire.” A similarly stubborn vow has put German Chancellor Angela Merkel teetering on the edge of collapse.

Terrorism was listed as an “extremely important” issue for 92 percent of Republicans and 82 percent of Democrats polled earlier this year by Gallup. Donald Trump has made national security his signature issue. Hillary Clinton is betting everything that voters are as blind as she is.

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