- - Tuesday, February 19, 2019

The war of words opposing President Trump’s relentless quest for a wall on the southern border has uncorked a flood of flapdoodle toward the fundamental security of the United States. Foolishness can sometimes be funny, but grins fade and eyes roll when the assault on common sense borders on the absurd.

The president’s dual actions last week, signing measures authorizing $1.4 billion for barrier construction and declaring a national emergency that provides access to another $6.6 billion, capped a season of silliness in which Americans witnessed such absurdities as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi emerging from theological contemplation to proclaim that a border wall “is an immorality.”

Robert Francis O’Rourke, who prefers being called “Beto,” is one of the many Democratic presidential candidates, and he promises to tackle the wall with hammer and tongs. When asked the other day if he as president would dismantle the existing border barrier, he answered: “Yes, absolutely. I’d take the wall down.” Beto apparently wants to be the candidate of the certified hardened nuts. Getting attention in a field of 30 or 40 wannabes is not easy.

Rep. Maxine Waters exhorted Americans to take to the streets over the President’s Day weekend to protest Mr. Trump’s declaration of a state of emergency over the mayhem on the border. “It’s time for everybody to stand up,” she said. “All hands on deck to refuse this president these fake emergency powers that he would like to have.”

Setting aside for a moment the 4,000 Americans killed by illegal immigrants in recent years, the 50,000 monthly apprehensions at the border during fiscal 2019, and the recent seizure of enough fentanyl to kill 57 million Americans, controlling a nation’s borders is an elementary function of a sovereign government. The president rightly says, “If you don’t have borders then you don’t have a country.”

Once upon a time, humans secreted themselves in caves and crevices for protection from the elements and dangers lurking in the dark. Then they learned to build shelters with protective bulwarks that served the same essential function. Modern times find the enlightened descendants of those cave dwellers walking comfortably amongst their fellow citizens by day. By night, they return to the safety of a house equipped with a front door with locks that opens onto sturdy walls. Nevertheless, Beto and his ideological ilk would knock down the barriers that protect the American homeland. (And the Democrats call the president unhinged.)

With his focus on common-sense security, the president has drawn his enemies’ most immoderate thoughts into the open and, to their dismay, is employing them as a study in contrast for his 2020 re-election campaign. At a recent rally in El Paso, banners in the rafters demanded “Finish the Wall” — something like “Remember the Alamo,” which inspired an earlier era of American patriotism.

National emergency or not, 79 percent of U.S. voters say the nation needs effective borders. So say 93 percent of Republicans, 80 percent of independents and 68 percent of Democrats, as reflected in a Harvard University poll. In a nation badly divided over ideology and policy, that can pass for solid agreement.

Still, as predictable as sunrise in the morning, the president’s opponents jumped into action to thwart his border security strategy. A lawsuit filed in Washington on Friday asked a federal district court to block any measures that use the national emergency declaration to begin construction of the barrier.

Plaintiffs include three owners of land along the Texas border with Mexico, as well as members of the Audubon Society, concerned the wall could interfere with bird-watching. The anti-Trump/open-borders faction nevertheless expect the public to take their views seriously.

With glum admission, Ali Noorani, director of the National Immigration Forum, writes in The Daily Beast that even if a majority of Americans look askance at his national emergency ploy, momentum lies elsewhere. “The conventional wisdom is wrong. The Trump administration did not lose anything over the deal recently struck to keep the government open. In fact, when it comes to the tone, tenor and substance of America’s immigration debate, President Trump is winning.”

The president can chalk up his success to the absurdity of scoffing at the commonsensical idea that uncontrolled borders make America vulnerable. Unwilling as they are to face reality, the president’s detractors can only build castles in the sky. Some of the castles are pretty, but all of them are constructed only of whim and fantasy.

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