Marines.Together We Served

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Freedom and Responsibility

There is clearly a growing controversy surrounding the need for some effective plan to protect our borders. Apparently, both the Mexican and Canadian borders are easily crossed – legally and illegally.

There is a solution to this problem, I’m sure. It just seems to me that we’d better come up with something real soon, or we will have even greater problems than already exist.

Freedom demands responsibility. Therefore, free people must always act responsibly, or they will lose their freedom.

As I see it, there is one major problem with our borders: They are an easy avenue of attack on our soil. It has been a curiosity to me that terrorists have not attacked us more openly in our own land. As a free people we assume that others will respect, even welcome that same freedom. We are always shocked and confused whenever we see “America-haters” chanting anti-American slogans. First thought is, “What did we ever do to you?” Second is, “Don’t mess with us!” Because we love freedom, we are vulnerable. None of us wants to live in a police state, but we can no longer ignore the problem at our borders.

Because of the porosity of our borders it would be very simple to enter our country where a terrorist could kill and maim a lot of people. This is not difficult to imagine since there seem to be enough radicals in the world willing to sacrifice their lives for whatever deviant cause they choose to defend. Nor is it difficult for me to understand why people would want to come to America where they can begin a new life, enjoying freedoms and opportunities only imagined in their wildest dreams. This is why the inscription on the Statue of Liberty reads, "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door."

We Americans invite to our shores all those who would be free. But there is an expectation that goes with that invitation: Act Responsibly. And you must be willing to protect that freedom. The first way you protect it is to obey the laws of the land. That means you enter the country in the proper manner, not skulking across the border illegally. Otherwise, right from the start, you have violated the basic tenet of freedom – to act responsibly.

At age thirteen, my wife, her five siblings and her parents, came to this country legally. They applied for visas, filling out all the necessary paperwork, doing everything properly and in order. She studied hard so she could take the test to become a citizen of the United States.

On the other hand, Cuba’s Castro has, at varying times, emptied his prisons, sending his undesirables to our shores. Haiti has done the same thing. Then there were the “boat people” from Cambodia not so many years ago. Historically, in most cases we have taken these people in.

Has our record on immigration been without blemish? Hardly. One of the ugliest chapters in our history, apart from the heinous affair of slavery, was when our government refused to accept boatloads of Jews escaping Nazi Germany. Instead, we sent them back to Germany where many would wind up in the ovens of Auschwitz, Dachau, and the like.

Mexico’s president, Vicente Fox, chides the United States for not opening its borders so Mexicans can freely pass back and forth. This would not be the responsible action of a free people. Instead, we need to protect our borders, especially now that there are so many terrorist groups who want to harm us.

Americans are increasingly concerned about security matters. Though we’d rather not have security checks at the airport, we’re willing to put up with this minor inconvenience. But unless there is some action taken to secure our borders, airport security will become irrelevant

The Minutemen on the Arizona border are a reaction to a governmental policy that is, at best, inept, or has gone awry. Demand that your elected officials take action, pressing hard on this issue until we have protected our people to the best of our ability.

It’s time to wake up, America, and take responsibility for our borders.

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