The Bush Administration isn’t especially known for playing by the rules. However, the most egregious abuse of power yet has to be the legal waivers the government is using to bypass more than 30 federal, state, and local laws preventing the Mexican-United States border fence from being completed. Until now, the government has mostly been stopped by landowners unwilling to allow the government to build on their property. Turns out, the government doesn’t need their permission. Eminent domain at its worst…
What will especially irk environmentalists is that the waivers also cover technology deployment and fence-building in environmentally sensitive areas in the border states, which will certainly interfere with the usual goings-on of the wildlife.
You know something is wrong when the government ignores its own laws to build a fence that isn’t likely to do much of anything. I mean, seriously. If people were able to defect across the Berlin Wall, which was patrolled by armed guards that shot on sight, I think people are going to be able to get across a fence that crosses through mostly empty desert. The National Guard is too busy in Iraq, and the Minutemen can only be in so many places at once. And a fence isn’t going to stop the people who really want to get across it. Heh, build it and they will come.
But it’s not really the fence that gets me. Sure, it’s a stupid idea. Let’s waste money on a mostly-useless barrier instead of going to the heart of the problem and reforming our immigration system! Awesome! …I digress. The real problem here is the government using its power to get its way, even when the American public stands against it. Granted, there are plenty of people who want the fence. But there are also people who don’t want it, including many in the Southwest where the new sections of the fence would be built. But does the government care? Of course not. These legal waivers were, after all, approved by Congress. And it’s not surprising that this is the first I’ve heard about it. For a body elected by the people, Congress sure likes to keep those same people in the dark until it’s too late.
This Washington Post column illustrates my point very well, and even includes Dick Cheney’s oh-so-revealing “So?” comment. A response like that speaks volumes about how important the American people are in today’s government. If the government is a human body, the voters are the appendix. Useless until we make a big fuss. And then we’re surgically removed.
Heh, that last bit made me sound a bit too much like a conspiracy theorist. Metaphors will do that.