The bor­der wall — a mon­u­ment for the peo­ple, not politi­cians

Calgary Sun - - COMMENT - [email protected] @michelle­malkin MICHELLE MALKIN

Prof­li­gate politi­cians have never met a multi-bil­lion-dol­lar in­fra­struc­ture project they didn’t like — ex­cept when it comes to U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s bor­der wall.

Think about it.

Bos­ton’s Big Dig black hole, the na­tion’s most ex­pen­sive high­way project, burned through US$25 bil­lion and was plagued by deadly en­gi­neer­ing in­com­pe­tence, end­less cost over­runs, leaks, law­suits and debt.

Cal­i­for­nia’s high-speed rail boon­dog­gle is a $100-bil­lion bul­let train to nowhere. Gov. Jerry “Moon­beam” Brown promised a 2020 com­ple­tion date for the mir­a­cle trans­porta­tion sys­tem. The lat­est es­ti­mates pre­dict it won’t open un­til at least 2033, and the costs keep ris­ing.

Seat­tle’s ill-fated Alaskan Way Viaduct re­place­ment topped out at $4 bil­lion in lo­cal, state and fed­eral funds for a two-mile bored road tun­nel that will fi­nally open next month — nearly four years be­hind sched­ule and hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars over bud­get.

What the Big Dig, bul­let train boon­dog­gle and Seat­tle squan­der all have in com­mon is that po­lit­i­cal elites, lob­by­ists and cor­po­rate heavy-hit­ters tram­pled over grass­roots cit­i­zen op­po­si­tion to get their way. Too many gov­ern­ment con­struc­tion projects are built be­cause these pub­licly sub­si­dized gravy trains re­ward cam­paign donors, pow­er­ful pub­lic em­ployee unions and as­sorted con­trol freaks in the ur­ban plan­ning and trans­porta­tion sec­tors.

An­other glar­ing ex­am­ple? Across the coun­try, vot­ers have re­peat­edly re­jected bil­lion-dol­lar sports sta­dium and arena sub­si­dies over the past 30 years — only to be sab­o­taged by bi­par­ti­san al­liances over­rul­ing the will of the peo­ple. I used to run a watch­dog web­site called “Pork­watch” filled with so many field-of-schemes case stud­ies that I couldn’t keep track of them any­more.

Then there are all the tax­funded high­ways, bridges, mu­se­ums and other ed­i­fices glo­ri­fy­ing Belt­way swamp crea­tures. The in­fa­mous Demo­cratic Sen. Robert Byrd of West Vir­ginia steered bil­lions of fed­eral dol­lars back to his home state, where more than 50 gov­ern­ment build­ings bear his or his wife’s name — not to men­tion an epony­mous tele­scope, mul­ti­ple li­braries and “life­long learn­ing cen­tres,” well­ness cen­tres, in­dus­trial parks, com­mu­nity cen­tres, gar­dens, in­ter­changes, high­ways, ex­press­ways, bridges, locks and a dam. A bas-re­lief sculp­ture of the al­pha porker greets vis­i­tors at the Byrd dam, deemed un­nec­es­sary by lo­cals.

Not to be out­done, GOP Sen. Mitch McCon­nell has his own park; for­mer Demo­cratic Sen. John Din­gell has his own tran­sit cen­tre; the late Demo­cratic Sen. Frank Laut­en­berg has his own rail sta­tion; tax cheat Demo­cratic Rep. Char­lie Rangel has his own tax-funded “Charles B. Rangel Cen­ter for Pub­lic Ser­vice” at the City Col­lege of New York; and the re­cently re­tired power­bro­ker Demo­cratic Sen. Harry Reid spon­sored bil­lions of dol­lars in ego­tis­ti­cal ear­marks, in­clud­ing sev­eral mil­lion for a “re­search and tech­nol­ogy park” named af­ter him.

Was there a swell of grass­roots sup­port for all these van­ity projects? Was there over­whelm­ing de­mand for the 10,000th long and windy road named af­ter some blowhard in­cum­bent hack?

Wouldn’t it be re­fresh­ing, for once, for the U.S. fed­eral gov­ern­ment to pri­or­i­tize in­fra­struc­ture that serves the na­tional in­ter­est over spe­cial in­ter­ests? And how about ded­i­cat­ing and con­se­crat­ing this project in the mem­ory of the thou­sands of Amer­i­cans and law-abid­ing im­mi­grants who have sac­ri­ficed their lives for our se­cu­rity? We’ve al­ready got Adopt-aHigh­way spon­sors. Why not an Adopt-a-Wall pro­gram?

Open bor­ders aca­demics and me­dia pro­pa­gan­dists keep lec­tur­ing that Amer­i­cans don’t want a wall. Yet, more than 325,000 cit­i­zens have raised $19.5 mil­lion in 22 days to fund the bor­der that the Belt­way ob­sti­nately re­fuses to fund.

Pres­i­dent Trump’s defin­ing bat­tle against the Belt­way to for­tify our bor­ders — by con­crete, steel, in­creased man­power, elec­tronic sur­veil­lance, all of it — isn’t just about ful­fill­ing a cam­paign prom­ise. The wall is a nec­es­sary mon­u­ment to sovereignty in a na­tion clogged with bil­lions of dol­lars of worth­less po­lit­i­cal mon­u­ments to Me, Me, Me.

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