A Mexican standoff is a confrontation amongst three or more parties in which no strategy exists that allows any party to achieve victory. As a result, all participants need to maintain the strategic tension, which remains unresolved until some outside event makes it possible to resolve it.
I had no idea what a Mexican standoff was until we moved to Mexico. Even then, I thought it was a term most likely used to describe multiple vehicles entering an uncontrolled intersection, actually, any intersection in Mexico. Traffic laws are interpreted more like unto suggestions down here than actual laws most of the time.
I tend to approach every intersection with caution because you really never know what the other guy is going to do here. Red lights might mean stop to some people, but they could mean go really fucking fast to others.
Given the specifics of the above cited definition, I’m not sure if it adequately describes the current political situation in the United States. There might be three or more parties involved, but I doubt that I could identity all of them.
If you are somehow unaware of what’s going on in the US, a partial government shutdown has been in effect since December 22nd because Congress and the President couldn’t agree on a budget and the appropriation of funds.
The main item of contention is the US-Mexico border wall. The Donald wants $5.7 billion dollars to build his wall. Evidently, he doesn’t have enough support in Congress to get it.
I’ve written about the political chasm dividing the Republican and Democratic parties before, but in this case I don’t think The Donald has the complete support of his own party. Because of Trump’s intransigence on this issue, he essentially has everyone in both parties, and God knows who else, by the short hairs.
The Wall. I’m not sure why The Donald is so stuck on such an archaic idea. No one with a functioning brain does. A wall might be a barrier, but in and of itself, a wall cannot prevent someone from climbing over it or tunneling under it. The Great Border Wall would have to be equipped with a whole lots of armed guards to make it an effective barrier against the immigrant horde that’s allegedly trying to storm into the United States to destroy it. Somehow…
The border wall was one of Trump’s campaign promises. He hasn’t kept many of his other promises, and not keeping any of them hasn’t seemed to bothered him one bit. This Wall, however, is somehow different.
Back when The Donald was running for President, he promised he would build a border wall and Mexico would pay for it. And then Mexico fucked up everything by not doing what The Donald said they would, cleverly avoiding being part of that Mexican standoff by racing through the intersection when the light was red.
I saw something the other day that The Donald is now saying he never said Mexico would pay for the wall. His hypocrisy, it seems, truly has no limits.
Perhaps in an attempt to sway public opinion in his favor, The Donald gave a speech from the Oval Office the other night, painting a picture of a national threat and humanitarian crisis occurring along the US-Mexico border, saying his signature border wall would provide a solution.
Even if what The Donald said were true, how would a wall effect a humanitarian solution? This is one of those Zen koans that doesn’t have an answer for multiple reasons. One, no great natonal threat exists. Neither is there a humanitarian crisis. If none of those conditions exist, why spend almost six billion dollars to fix it?
I think the answer is this: The massive military parade The Donald wanted was shelved. So he’s decided no one is going to take his wall away from him.
It makes as much sense as any explanation I’ve heard. Given The Donald’s petulant nature, it actually makes more sense than anything else I’ve heard.
* * * *
“Every day, Customs and Border Patrol agents encounter thousands of illegal immigrants trying to enter our country.”
The Donald said that in his speech. This, is apparently what the national threat and humanitarian crisis is.
Illegal immigration is certainly a reality. Is it a national threat? Is it as huge of a problem as The Donald says it is? Probably not. From what I’ve seen so far, nothing is as big as he says it is…
“Them there immigrants are coming here to take jobs away from hard working Americans!” That’s probably what all of Trump’s blue collar, Walmart-shopping supporters say. So, is that even close to the truth?
Most undocumented workers are lucky to get even a menial job once they get to the US. Busing tables, washing dishes. Mopping floors, cleaning toilets. Harvesting crops. You know, the jobs most Americans think they’re too good to do.
In my entire working career, I’ve never met anyone who lost their job to an immigrant. Have you? As near as I can tell, immigrants didn’t have to come to America to put any hard working Americans in the unemployment line. American industry came to them.
Have you ever heard of outsourcing and offshoring? I’ll bet you have.
“Do what you do best and outsource the rest!” has become an internationally recognized business tagline, and it’s essentially how Big Business functions now.
American companies discovered they could pay workers in China, India, or Mexico a helluvalot less than they pay their hard working American workers, and moved their plants to foreign countries. But can you blame them? Those big buck executives were barely getting by on their six figure salaries.
Let’s say the average American worker in the US makes $10/hour. Work an eight hour shift, make eighty bucks. The average worker in Mexico makes 80 pesos a day. That amounts to roughly four dollars. Imagine yourself making twenty five, maybe thirty dollars a week.
Yeah, let that sink in for a minute.
Increased profit margins. Mo’ money, mo’ money, mo’ money. Greed is good. Executive pay in the United States in 2007 was 400 times more than average workers — a gap 20 times bigger than it was in 1965.
They’re called capitalist pigs for a reason…
But that’s not the problem. It’s those fuckin’ immigrants sneaking across the southern border.
* * * *
“More Americans will die from drugs this year than were killed in the entire Vietnam War… Every week, 300 of our citizens are killed by heroin alone, 90% of which floods across from our southern border.” That’s more of The Donald’s rhetoric.
Yes. America has a drug problem. And yes, Mexico supplies a double buttload of heroin to the hard working Americans that demand it. However, the President’s assertion is misleading, blaming the drugs coming across the US-Mexico border for the total drug deaths in the US. Additionally, The Donald’s figures don’t distinguish between deaths caused by drugs smuggled into the country versus those prescribed by US doctors.
Doctors who don’t have to smuggle drugs in from anywhere. All they have to do is write a prescription that can be filled at any drugstore on any corner in any city of the country.
Just say No. Remember that? Nancy Reagan declared war on drugs back in the 1980’s. Judging from The Donald’s statistics, I’m going to go out on a limb and say there are quite a few Americans that didn’t say No, and just like the American experience in Vietnam, this is a war we aren’t going to win.
Building a wall is not going to solve this problem, Mr. Trump.
* * * *
There are a lots of points of entry into the US, and most of them aren’t located on the US-Mexico border. Somehow, The Donald doesn’t seem to be concerned about any of the rest of them. He hasn’t said anything about building a wall on the northern border. In this he appears to be quite logical because there aren’t any criminals or even any crime in Canadia.
* * * *
“I have the absolute right to declare a national emergency. I haven’t done it yet, I may do it. If this doesn’t work out, probably I will do it. I would almost say definitely.”
That’s what The Donald said yesterday, indicating that he probably, almost definitely, doesn’t have any real idea of how to extricate himself and the rest of the country out of the incredible clusterfuck of a mess he has created.
Using his logic, I could declare myself President of the United States, and it would be just as real as The Donald’s delusional emergency. How has he not ended up on a psych ward?
There is one specific group of people that have borne the brunt of The Donald’s disastrous desire to build his Great Border Wall. The 800,000 federal employees who have been sent home or are working without pay.
“Many of those people that won’t be receiving a paycheck, many of those people agree 100 percent with what I’m doing… and certainly they’re not thrilled — but they say, ‘Sir, do the right thing. We need border security.’ And these are people that won’t be getting paid.”
All I can say in response to this is the President’s head must be further up his ass than any of us could have imagined. Do you know anyone who would agree to keep doing their thankless job, with fewer people in the office to do it–probably doubling or trebling their workload–and they won’t get paid for doing it.
In the former Soviet Union, maybe. You’d probably end up in a gulag if you protested. In the United States of America, where the majority of those federal employees are living paycheck to paycheck? No. Fucking. Way.
I was once a federal employee. I was a nurse at the Minneapolis VAMC. Not only did I have to work without pay while Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich engaged in their pissing contest over the budget, I ended up taking out loans from the bank so we could pay our bills, and buy gas and food.
I don’t remember anyone that I worked with who thought shutting down the government was the right thing to do. We hated Clinton. We hated Gingrich. If either one of them had come to visit us during that time, we would have locked them in a seclusion room and shot them full of drugs until they got their goddamn minds right.
While some federal workers might support The Donald, the vast majority of them feel this way: Pay the workers, furlough Trump. There were protest marches in Washington DC, Chicago and Dallas yesterday. With no end in sight, there will certainly be more protests.
* * * *
The Kobayashi Maru is a training exercise in the fictional Star Trek universe designed to test the character of Starfleet Academy cadets in a no-win scenario. This, more than a Mexican standoff, appears to be the best description of the machinations of The Donald.
The Mexican standoff at least offered the hope that an external force could precipitate a solution. I can’t think of anything or anyone that could bring enough force to bear on The Donald to make him rethink his strategy. His mom got dead eighteen years ago. We can’t even appeal to her.
The saddest part about this is that the one person who is responsible for it will, most likely, never be able to understand that.