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Reflections of America While Driving Along the Northeast Coast

Information we receive can be categorized into that which we already knew without being told, and that which we otherwise wouldn’t have known and now have to use our critical thinking skills to determine its accuracy.

For example, if you’re stuck in traffic while driving in a downpour – windshield wipers furiously battling the crashing thrusts of water – you don’t need to hear the weather report on the car radio to know it’s raining. But if you don’t live anywhere near Gaza or Ukraine, you’d have no idea that wars are happening there unless someone informed you.

On a recent drive along the Northeast coast, my family and I noticed a number of border agents at different parts on the south side of the interstate highway near the Florida-Georgia border. The agents were there to prevent PHIs (Persons Here Illegally) from entering Florida, at the behest of that state’s governor, Ron DeSantis. Even if the effort was largely symbolic, it’s a start.
Reasonable people can debate whether Florida’s six-week abortion ban is too draconian or just right, and whether DeSantis is a hero or a dictator in his feud with Disney, but anyone who doesn’t applaud dispatching law enforcement to combat illegal entry and stay is either in favor of open borders or hates DeSantis so intensely that nothing he does can ever be considered good.

The second piece of information was not an eyewitness account; rather, it was an expose on PHIs on a cable news channel. As several dozen migrants – in that instance, from China and Turkey – waltzed across the Mexican border into the United States, a reporter asked them questions. Most of them – either because they didn’t speak English or wouldn’t have accommodated a reporter even if they did – ignored him. One man from Turkey, though, who spoke English, stopped and talked. He explained that he paid $10,000 for the privilege of being smuggled into the country, except he wasn’t smuggled. The man didn’t hide in the back of a truck, as he expected to. Instead, he crossed the border on foot in broad daylight, as if strutting from one end of the shopping mall to the other.

The man said he was astonished at how easy it was. But that’s not all: he also said he completely understands why Americans are outraged about the woeful lack of border security. He identified himself as a good person, but acknowledged that other PHIs in the caravan may very well be psychopaths. How, he wondered, does the United States allow such things to happen?

So many Americans – ones quick to point fingers if an incumbent president is not to their liking – often complain about our country’s image on the world stage. Democrats said we were a laughing stock in the international community because of George W. Bush’s malapropisms, and Republicans point to Joe Biden dozing off at summit meetings. Yet hardly any of them seems to care about how the world views our porous border. Think the Turkish man didn’t tell his story to friends and relatives back home? “Yeah, I’m ok. You’ll never believe how easy it was to get in – I just walked across the border. Really, I’m not kidding!” Think that won’t bring droves of migrants to the border so that they too can stroll right in?

Getting back to Florida for a moment, the state is overflowing with transplants from all over the United States. The grand migration began during the pandemic, when word spread faster than the virus itself that everyone there was partying like it was 2019: the bars were open and people weren’t wearing masks. If folks were willing to upend their entire lives for the sake of foregoing social distancing regulations, their counterparts from all around the world surely would do the same to escape poverty, oppression, and physical danger.

On a different but related note, we noticed some Trump signs on the side of the road on the multistate drive – not many, but then again, the election is months away – and notably, none for Biden. We thought back to 2016, when driving through New York City’s suburbs a couple of weeks before Election Day, we counted about eight or nine Trump signs, two for Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, and just one for Hillary Clinton. Around the same time, I drove past a house in Central PA that had a Hillary sign in the yard; but the adjacent house sported five Trump signs. All of that was telling.

It was different in 2020: the Trump signs exceeded the Biden signs but not by nearly as much.

I don’t imagine I’ll see many Biden signs displayed this year; even fewer ones about the entire ticket (Biden-Harris). Oh, roughly half the country won’t vote for Trump, and some may even display scathing signs about him on their front lawns (like “Throw Trump in Jail!”). But how many people are going to post signs that are actually pro-Biden? Possibly even fewer than put up Hillary signs in 2016.

Granted the election is six months away, which even in normal political times is an eternity, let alone in an election featuring the two oldest candidates in history, both of whom have been president – one who looks and sounds every bit his age and then some, and the other struggling to fend off legal onslaught. That means anything can happen. But come October, take a look around. If you start seeing Biden signs pop up, and if the border crisis is finally under control, then there’s a great chance that Biden will be reelected. But those are very unlikely ifs.

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