Back in the days of the Roundtable, the knights insisted that the king have a moat to be a respected member of the Council of Kings. Consequently, a tradition grew making moat ownership a prerequisite for being a king.
Over in Washington D.C., the Republicans and Democrats have reached an impasse over the construction of a wall between the United States and Mexico. The Trump faction is standing firm for a 30-foot wall while the Democratic counteroffer has been 150 feet of chicken wire.
Nobody has budged for a month as federal employees continue to work on a promise of payment and patrons (that’s us) of the government have gone without services. ( For example, folks can’t get married in Washington because the federal marriage clerk has been furloughed. And nobody seems to care. Maybe the office is obsolete.)
The reason we have seen no compromise on the wall is that both parties are knocking heads in the same rut. It is time to recollect history and think outside the rut.
The Rio Grande has deterred illegal immigrants for decades, proving that water can be as effective as a wall. Therefore, the Harvard rowing team has concluded that Washington should forget about the wall and go for a good old fashioned moat.
A moat would have definite advantages over a wall. Right now, it looks like drug dealers and immigrants will be digging tunnels while we are building walls. A well-constructed deep moat would end these underground endeavors at no extra charge.
Maybe you haven’t heard about the Romans at Masada. (It was in all the papers.)They built a 375-foot ramp to conquer Jewish rebels. If we built a 30-foot wall, it would take only days for illegal immigrants to build a ramp and stream over the wall and into the U.S. countryside, never to be seen again.
Another major benefit of a moat would be the new tourism and business opportunities.
To give this moat some bite, we would stock it with flesh-eating piranhas from South America. Even though they are mainly a freshwater fish, they will stray for a good meal.
For absolute security, we would ship in thousands of alligators. Piranhas and alligators. Who would venture into those waters?
Now for the new tourism and business opportunities Walls have no recreation value but a 1500-mile moat would foster speedboat races and leisure cruises. Not only that, fishing could take place all along the moat as long people kept their feet out of the water. Restaurants featuring piranha patties would attract a new eating-out crowd.
As for the new business, North Dakota could become the alligator purse capitol of the world.
What does a 30-foot wall offer in tourism or new business? Rust.
The Army Corps of Engineers hasn’t had a good moat job since the construction of the McClusky and New Rockford canals in the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, etc. (It wasn’t their fault that construction took so long that the Devils Lake got fresh all by itself and didn’t need water for the Missouri River. In fact, if the canal connected to the Lake, water would have run out instead of in.)
For sure, the idea of a moat would pull the rug out from under all of those politicians standing firm in Washington. They wouldn’t be standing firm much longer. A new chicken in the hen yard would require new thinking, new objections and new choices.
All of the old repetitious arguments being peddled as thinking will be useless. With a little luck, maybe the Senate Republicans and House Democrats would join in this new compromise proposal. And the King of the realm?
He will be honoring himself for breaking the logjam.