The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

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By Forrest Hershberger
View from the Handlebars 

Questions That Need To Be Asked


September 29, 2021 | View PDF

When President Trump proposed building a wall at the southern border, and entering the country could only be done through official entry points, he was called a racist and a list of other names. Complaints were made that the wall would disturb natural habitats and sacred grounds.

Fast-forward, President Biden’s administration has said the number of immigrants entering the country illegally has declined. Then headlines suddenly announced a border crisis surrounding the swelling number of Haitians who entered the country and are encamped at and near a highway overpass. The presence of the Haitians was almost overlooked until the announcement of “immigrants being chased by officers on horseback with whips.”

Then when Congresswoman Ilhan Omar said the video shows how racist the U.S. is with practices reminiscent of slavery, people were popping a vein in every living room and bar with a televised news broadcast.

It’s sad how easy we all assume the truth by a quick view in a window, even a window that is cloudy at best.

I don’t claim to be experienced with horses. The last time I rode a friend allowed me a morning experience near Sterling. Prior to that I was in the high country of Nicaragua where the locals showed us Americans how to break off a small branch and use it for the proper encouragement with our ride. I’ll admit it felt kind of odd. A quick view of the riders would say we, many of us on that ride, were whipping our four-legged companions. Likewise, when all a person sees is a person on horseback with a piece of leather flying through the air, we are likely missing the contest. We are quick to judge without all of the facts.

In this case, the picture of officers on horseback is only one of the questions not being asked.

Why is the United States obligated to care for people who enter the country illegally? If they are seeking asylum as some have said, there is a proper process for that. The Haitian population at the U.S. Border is a question of its own. How did they get to Mexico? Then, how did they make their way north to the border?

I’m not done writing this and I can hear the accusations of being heartless, self-centered, etc. I’ve seen both sides, the law and what it represents and people who just want to work and support their families. I’ve met people in Central America who it is common practice to cross into another country to work, papers or not. In some cases, I’ve seen the homes they come from, places that would embarrass most Americans. I understood for that population what motivates them to take whatever means necessary to work and take care of their families. I recognize that globally there is an expanse between the bottom and the top percent, and a lot of questions people don’t want to address on each level of these issues.

What I’m not understanding, and I’m apparently in good company, is how that many Haitians got to Mexico, made it to the U.S.- Mexican border, and yet we are racist for not automatically taking them in. How did they pay for their flight to Mexico? If the funds were available, why not take a direct flight to the U.S.? Why is the U.S. the bad guy to return them to Mexico, the last country they were in before approaching the U.S.?

Since I started this the border has become even more complicated with accusations of officers on horseback using whips, and photos of border camps that look like Third World settlements.

Politics and compassion seldom mix smoothly. In this instance, compassion is often used as a badge showing why one side is either justifiably right or arguably wrong. The pictures of people in distress without the context of why, where or how are perpetrated through countless news sources. Yes, we should be compassionate for our fellow man, from the person we meet on the street corner to the family thousands of miles away in another country. However, politics is a system with a heart only as pure as the people who apply it. In our present state, that should concern us by itself.


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