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Editorial Roundup: Recent editorials in Arkansas newspapers

January 29, 2019

Here are excerpts from recent editorials in Arkansas newspapers:

Southwest Times Record. Jan. 27, 2019.

A light at the end of the tunnel finally popped up Friday for the end of the longest-running government shutdown in American history.

Coincidentally, a news station the same day aired a story about tunnels under the U.S.-Mexico border. And air traffic controllers stopped coming in to work in protest of not being paid.

Again.

This illustrates two things: A border wall can either be dug under or flown over. Determined human beings, whether they are from south or north of a border, will find a way to get around obstacles.

While there are decent arguments on both sides of this border wall issue that led to the government shutdown, it is never a smart move to not pay your workers. Especially when it comes to those who keep your airplanes from crashing into each other.

The biggest obstacle we as Americans are faced with navigating now is not a wall to keep out thousands of people fleeing their homeland in migrant caravans.

The true obstacle is ourselves.

We have become so bitterly divided that we are our worst enemy. A roiling feud has festered between so many Democrats and Republicans that they might as well rename themselves the Hatfield Party and the McCoy Party. And these parties have elected bitter rivals to lead themselves. We all know someone who is a Republican or a Democrat, and we probably like them quite a bit. As soon as the politics come out though, we throw up our own mental wall and tune anything out because of some preconceived notion. If they’re a Democrat, that notion may be that they think late-term abortions should be legal. If they’re a Republican, that notion may be they are a climate-change denier and in the pocket of some major special interest group.

We are having a very hard time identifying ourselves as a cohesive country. Pride. And to some degree, blind loyalty, have built up mental walls between us. It doesn’t have to be that way.

We can choose a better road to travel on. It’s the one in the middle. It’s the road where we hear both sides of a situation and figure out what works best. Looking back at major wall projects, a few come to mind: The Great Wall of China. Hadrian’s Wall. The Berlin Wall. The North Wall in “Game of Thrones.” And the Walls of Jericho. While fences make great neighbors, walls are made to be toppled.

When it comes to the situation at our southern border, both sides in Washington have called for better border security. A “wall” is an easy talking point that appeals to our base emotions of fear. To deal with a complex issue we need a complex solution. What has gotten lost in the scuffle over “the wall” is the fact that the money needed is for more than just a physical wall. It’s for more border agents, electronic sensors, and remotely piloted aircraft surveillance. If President Trump wants to build a medieval style wall, he may also be interested in dispatching some ravens while he is at it. Ravens and crows, believe it or not, were once trained by the CIA for surveillance, and other more deadly deeds, during the Cold War.

With that said, it should be firmly established that American ingenuity to solve a problem is legendary. As one great American said long ago, “We have nothing to fear, but fear itself.”

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Texarkana Gazette. Jan. 29, 2019.

Democrats and their supporters are crowing loudly on social media about the deal to temporarily end the government shutdown.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stared down President Donald Trump and won, they say. She handed him his manhood. He caved and signed a deal that gave him basically nothing in exchange for reopening the government.

That’s the story, at least.

But there is something they aren’t saying. In inking the deal, President Trump effectively put the burden of ending the shutdown for good right in their laps.

Congress has less than three weeks to come up with a plan acceptable to all sides. And if they don’t?

Well, you can bet President Trump will be taking to Twitter and proclaiming to one and all that he gave them a chance.

We can almost see it now. The president will say he signed the deal because he cares about government workers who weren’t getting paid. He showed selfless compassion, putting their interests above his own. He gave the Democrats three weeks to negotiate. They failed. Now they are responsible for the new shutdown. They must answer to workers who won’t be paid.

Of course, there is always the chance a final deal can be reached.

The president was taking a lot of heat over the shutdown. Polls consistently showed the American public blamed him more than the Democrats.

This could reverse that. Certainly his supporters will be crowing them just as loudly as the left is crowing now, should the temporary shutdown end with no deal in sight.

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Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Jan. 29, 2019.

Now that the Democrats have the House, they’re considering maybe making a few changes. (Surprise!) One of the things they’re looking at might be to evict their fellow U.S. representatives who crash on their office couches.

One Democratic lawmaker from California is asking the Architect of the Capitol to look into the fair market value of using congressional offices as living spaces. It seems some people don’t like the idea of lawmakers turning an office closet into a tiny bedroom to avoid having to rent an apartment in one of the country’s most expensive cities.

In fact, two of our own, Rick Crawford and Bruce Westerman, are among those who sleep in their offices. It’s a convenient setup, adding a tiny bed or cot to a closet and showering in the gym. We kind of admire the frugality.

What’s the real issue at play here? If members of Congress were making a huge mess and spreading communicable diseases in their offices, it’d be one thing. But these are people who don’t want to waste money on an apartment when they’re only in Washington three nights a week, 30 weeks a year. No harm done.

Even AOC has discussed not being able to afford a Washington apartment. It’s clearly an issue for lawmakers.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi doesn’t need to micromanage 435 lawmakers when it comes to sleeping arrangements. She gets plenty of micromanaging in elsewhere. We elect these men and women to go to Washington and do a job. As far as we can see, sleeping in an office closet doesn’t hinder that. What these people sleep on is between them and their chiropractor.

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