Marco Rubio got common sense points for his advocacy that we fund "the list," rather than polarize this with "What is a wall?" The list is 10 things border patrol agents want to strengthen security.

Despite hyperbolic language, most Democrats and Republicans want border control and immigration reform. Most Democrats aren't for open borders and care about crime and drugs. Most Republicans aren't racist or anti-immigrant.

Both get into a bind when ideology gets in the way of sensibility with regard to humanity. Both sides need to put the 800,000 pawns not getting a paycheck first, but neither “gives” because this moment in history will dictate the direction of the next two years.

Instead of finding solutions, we get posturing, allowing government shutdown to continue. When it matters whether you call it a wall or a fence, trouble continues. It becomes a war of words rather than a team effort to solve problems.

It's hard to put blame on one party or the other; easier to blame all of them for setting up a dysfunctional government.

When it comes to rhetoric, Kelly Ann Conway had a point. She was skewered for her "alternative facts" comment but the reality is "facts" are nebulous and porous.

Take, for instance, that President Trump goes on national television reciting story after story about the "onslaught of illegal immigrants invading our country," calling it a national crisis, threatening to use the military to build "his" wall instead of dealing through Congress. Many Republicans know this could backfire in the future when a Democratic president bans guns, calling gun violence a national crisis after the next mass school shooting.

The issue is confused when one side says "Ten Americans were brutally murdered by illegal immigrants in 2017." The other side can say that thousands have been brutally murdered in 2017 and illegal immigrants account for less than a 10th of a percent of those. Another fact might be, from a per capita basis (the best way to measure this), U.S. citizens are 30 times more likely to brutally murder than illegals.

The wall is red meat for Trump's base. All sides agree a $5.7 billion "ask" is miniscule to the overall budget; it is the symbolism of the wall that is significant. This issue is also a lightning rod; important because racists can hide behind it, claiming this is about something else.

While Trump calls this a "national emergency," many claim guns cause lots more murders than illegal immigration. When you hear Hannity or Ingraham on Fox proclaim even one murder by an illegal is too many, and that drugs and the gangs pouring over the border are destroying our country, one knows that if we were talking about banning assault rifles or better background checks, these same people would be citing the Constitution, demanding gun rights be protected. They would say guns don't kill people; people do, and law-abiding citizens are the ones hurt by gun regulation.

None of the arguments fit the common sense test; a paradigm shift is needed. What makes sense is compromise, with the politicians making that happen admired as leaders and heroes, not weak links.


How we get to commonsense principles remains elusive. Perhaps letting character and love lead the way would get us further than fear and hate.

Below are “12 Rules for Life” written by Dr. Jordan Peterson, a Canadian writer and psychologist who has controversial views about white male privilege and affirmative action. Progressives are bothered while others embrace him, those who feel it unfair that merit doesn't drive the entire conversation. His followers don't believe people starting behind the starting line, in ZIP codes "on the other side of the tracks," need a hand up as a mandated course of action.

1) Stand up straight with your shoulders back.

2) Treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping.

3) Make friends with people who want the best for you.

4) Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today.

5) Do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them.

6) Set your house in perfect order before you criticize the world.

7) Pursue what is meaningful (not what is expedient).

8) Tell the truth — or, at least don't lie.

9) Assume that the person you are listening to might know something you don't.

10) Be precise in your speech.

11) Do not bother children when they are skateboarding.

12) Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street.


“When you counsel someone, you should appear to be reminding him of something he had forgotten, not of the light he was unable to see.” — Baltasar Gracian, writer and philosopher (1601-1658)


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Disclosure: Reade Brower is owner of these newspapers. The opinions expressed in his columns are his own, and do not represent the newspapers, or their editorial board.