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From Fear to Hope
By Vicktor Barrios
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2012 Vicktor Barrios
All right reserved.
Chapter OneTHE WALL
The invention or production of anything made by man is generally done to make life better for all. It is when the invention is used for an evil purpose that we make the wrong "choice." In the early twentieth century, Albert Einstein proposed his Theory of Relativity, and from that, the equation e = mc2. His theory could lead to one of the dreams of mankind, an endless supply of energy. It is the intention with which his theory is applied that makes its use good or bad.
Throughout history, walls have been built. The Great Wall of China was apparently built with the intention of protecting the country from invasion. Another wall, the Berlin Wall, was built after World War II. From the point of view of most of the world, the purpose behind the building of the Berlin Wall was not good. The East Berliners were kept in against their will and the West Berliners were not allowed to visit those in the East. This wall represented the oppression of people. Many died crossing from one side of the wall to the other. Families were separated and not allowed to visit each other.
As a people we understand that each country has the right to secure its borders. This is an important aspect of the government's duty to protect its citizens. Now, what is the intention of building the wall on our southern border? The reasons given for the construction of the wall are basically threefold. First, we are told that it will help prevent terrorists from coming into our country. Secondly, the wall will curtail the drug traffic crossing our borders. Lastly, we are told that it will protect our border from illegal immigrants. Yeah, right; that'll do the trick! Fear has been used to have us believe that the building of a wall will secure our borders, thus preventing the entry of terrorists, stopping the flow of illegal drugs, and eliminating the influx of illegal aliens. Do we actually believe that this will help solve the difficulties? Will the building of the wall accomplish what we believe and are told it will do?
We, as a country, are trying to protect ourselves. We are all trying to make a better life for our families. We do not want terrorists here. We do not want drugs that can hurt our society. We want to live in peace with all our neighbors. We do not want our children exposed to criminals. We want a safe and peaceful environment for our families. Not all who come to this country come with the same good intentions. At the same time, not all of us who are here have the same good intentions. But the building of the wall will not help us achieve what we want. It will only create more hardships for us. It won't stop the terrorists or drugs from entering the country. They will find other ways to enter with even greater success. The wall only makes it difficult for poor, good, honest, and hardworking people to come here.
Will the building of the wall accomplish what we are told? No! Building the wall only creates a bad image for us. We are creating hate, not only among ourselves, but over the entire world. We think we are so powerful that we can do as we please. The wall will not protect us from terrorists, drugs, or any other evil thing. Doing something with the right intention is what is going to protect us. Because when we do this, we have faith. When we have faith, we have God with us. We keep doing things believing we have the right intention and nothing seems to be working. Why? Remember that the original intention in this country was that all peoples would be able to practice their religion and have freedom. A better life was wanted by those who came here. Are we doing that?
If we truly love God, then everything else will be fine. It is then that people from other countries will not need to come here. Why? If we ask any good citizen or immigrant, "If you had the same freedom and opportunity in your own country as we have here, would you come to America?" Their answer would be no! Most of us love the place we come from. Why? Because we have family, friends, native food, and customs. We would miss these things. Then how do we show our love for God? We start by not taking what belongs to others. If we do the right thing, then we would be helping each other. And what is doing the right thing? If we are Christians, it would be what Jesus taught: love your neighbor as you love yourself. People may ask how we are going to help so many that are coming to America. Well, it is by doing the right thing. If we believe in God and love Him, He will take care of us no matter how many we are.
Yes, we should stop criminals from coming here, including terrorists and all those with evil intentions. However, most of the illegal immigrants that come to America come with the same intentions as our forefathers: freedom.
We are told that the wall would help keep terrorists from entering into our country. When is the last time you heard of a terrorist risking his life to cross the border at night or crawling on his belly to enter this country? We know today that terrorists have well-financed backers and fly on commercial airlines into this country. Up to this point, there may have been some that crawled on their bellies to enter, but I have no knowledge of this. A wall will not keep terrorists out of this country. Remember, it is not disputed that a country has the right to protect its borders. Indeed, it certainly has the right to do so. However, let us be aware that if someone wants to do harm to a people or country, they will find a way. For instance, they can harm our country with drugs, as we very well know, and biological threats, such as contaminating our food supply, etc. Who is to say that China did not have an intention to harm us with the tainted goods they have shipped to our shores? Our best protection will be to do the right thing, make the right choice.
Secondly, we are told that the wall should eliminate or restrict the flow of illegal drugs into our country. We fail to realize that drug trafficking is just like any other business. The chief motive or driving force is money.
Usually, in business, the bigger you are, the stronger you are. The bigger cartels in South America are saying, "Good. Build the wall. Because in this way, you will eliminate our small competition for us." The wall will not slow down the drug trafficking. What it will do is make it more profitable for all those involved in the drug trafficking business as well as the officials who accept bribes. Who pays for the whole process? The consumer pays! Whether you consume legal or illegal goods, consumers are the ones who pay because, consequently, more crimes will be committed by drug addicts. They need more money to pay for their habit. The cartels will be in a much better position to charge more for their goods since we will have eliminated the small competition for them. So the cartels are saying, "Yes, build the wall! It will help us line our pockets with more profits." They embrace the idea with much enthusiasm. We certainly will not win the war on drugs this way. Once again, even in an illegal business, the rich become richer, the poor become poorer. What if one day we need to cross the border to go south into Mexico? Are we creating our own cell of confinement?
What follows is a brief account of a poor farmer who only wishes to support his family.
Juan and his family are farmers somewhere in South America. They have always grown crops that allowed them to survive. They cannot afford medical bills and certainly are not in a position to expand their business. They grow the usual crops of coffee beans, bananas, etc. They live in a state of survival, barely able to buy the food they need, clothes they wear, and shelter for the family. This way of life does not allow them to obtain all their needs. The drug cartel approaches Juan and invites him to grow the coca leaf for them. They assure him that his family will be provided with all their needs and his children will be able to attend school. He also is told that he will be able to live better and make a decent profit on his crop. So Juan, in order to help his family and provide for their needs, agrees. In his country, it is legal to grow the coca leaf. In fact, the coca leaf can be found in many homes and is used for medicinal purposes. Also, the growing of the coca leaf is not harmful to the environment. (It is only the intention of using the coca leaf to produce an illegal drug that makes it wrong.) Juan sees his growing of the coca leaf plant as a good thing. This is very much like the invention of nuclear energy and Einstein. It wasn't his theory of relativity that was evil, but the intention of how the power was to be used. So the same is true here. Juan sees his growing of the coca leaf plant as a good thing.
Just before harvest, without warning, an air strike is performed on Juan's entire farm. His farm and crops are sprayed with herbicide. The spraying is supported by the United States in cooperation with the local government. People and crops alike are sprayed with the toxic chemicals. Juan loses everything and several in his family become ill. The local government does not come to his aid. The drug cartel, however, assures him that they will take care of him and his family. They provide finances to replant his crop. They take care of his family and their health needs. They further assure him that they will protect him and his family. Now if you were Juan, with a family, would you trust the United States or even your own government after this devastating attack on your family and farm? The cartel was there to take care of him and his family. Where will his loyalty lie?
We also have knowledge of countries such as Pakistan that grow plants for the production of opium. It is used to produce illegal drugs destined for the United States and other countries. If the terrorists are the only ones that will protect them, where will their loyalties lie?
In the United States, we have factories that build weapons. Whether these factories produce weapons for military purposes or guns for everyday consumers is not the point. These weapons supposedly are made with good intention; to protect ourselves, to protect our country, etc. As a consequence, our country is also able to sell these products to other countries that may need them for their own protection or to enforce their laws. How these products are used will make the intention good or evil. If they are used to keep people oppressed, invade other countries, or for terrorism, then the intention of the user is evil. Weapons that become products for mass destruction are evil. Nothing can justify the indiscriminate destruction of millions of families.
Would it be alright for anyone to come here and eliminate the factories that produce munitions? No! It is legal in our country. This business employs thousands of workers. Our government is the largest buyer of these products. The employees at these factories are only making a living to support their families, much in the same way Juan did in the previous example. The workers themselves have no say about the final intended use of the product that they help manufacture. They are only providing for their families and their families' needs. Is it right for one country to produce products for another country, knowing that it will be used for something evil? We must remember that it is the intention with which the product is used that makes it a good or evil thing.
Our government could help our farmers and international farmers through education in farming techniques and technology. Instead, we spend money to destroy their lands and create hate by spraying what we consider to be illegal crops. It would be so easy to do the right thing and help them become more self-sufficient. Not only would it help them, but it would also help the world.
In a foreign country, farmers are growing crops that are used for many purposes. One of the purposes is illegal, so should we condone the spraying of their fields because some of the resulting product is illegal? The intention of the farmer was to provide for his family. The farmer's intention is honorable. The farmer is only trying to make an honest living, just as a farmer would do in this country. It is the drug lords' intention of how the crop is used that makes it evil. And yet the farmers are punished without even committing a crime. The ones that use the crops for illegal purposes are not punished until they are caught. Since the drug lords have a lot of money, they are able to hire attorneys to fight for them in the courts and protect their assets from being seized. Farmers are unjustly punished because they have no protection. The farmers are at the mercy of the governments involved. They are also at the mercy of the drug cartels and terrorists. Money = power! The drug lords have lots of money and, therefore, considerable power. They can use their money to bribe officials and pay attorneys. They are able to build their own little private armies to protect themselves. We have to understand that the drug business is like any other business. The only difference is that one is legitimate and the other is illegal.
As in other countries, the farmers of the United States have been "salt of the earth" (hardworking, honest) people. Through the fruits of their labor, we are all able to enjoy our meals. They work long, hard hours and deserve our gratitude for providing us food to satisfy our hunger. We only need to remember one thing: use only what we need and do not take more. This is a simple rule to live by. In this way, everyone will be able to enjoy the fruits of our farmers.
Finally, we are told that the wall will prevent the crossing of illegal immigrants. Wrong again! The wall will not stop illegal immigrants from coming into this country. The wall will only make it more difficult for good, poor, honest people to cross the border. They will continue to try to cross because they know this is the only chance for them to make their lives better. They know they will be better off in this country no matter how difficult we make it for them to be here. They will come here because they will have a chance to support their families. They will continue to come because there are many good people here who will help them. People who have money will not crawl on their bellies or cross the river. They will fly in. Professionals such as doctors, lawyers, and engineers have no problem coming to this country. The drug dealers and terrorists will also fly in, for they too have money and very good connections. The wall will not stop drug dealers, terrorists, or criminals with or without money. Criminals will not hesitate to do what they have to do to come here. It will only make it more difficult for the good, poor, honest people. We shouldn't forget the reason the first immigrants came to this country. They came because they were looking for freedom and the opportunity for a better life. So it is with the good, poor, honest people who come here today.
Are we so blind in this country not to realize that bribes are accepted to allow some people to enter? Those with money will still be able to buy their way into the States. The building of the wall will only make the coyote, one who smuggle others in, a richer person because he will have the opportunity to charge more for his service. Once again in our system, the strong become stronger and the weak become weaker.
Let me state clearly that building the wall is not wrong in itself. It is the intention with which it is used that would make it wrong.
We punish immigrants by returning them to their country of origin and, in some cases, have them serve detention time. A coyote may pay a fine or serve some short jail time, a small punishment for the crime. Why? The coyote has money and influence and can afford to pay an attorney. Again, it is the poor who will suffer more than anyone else.
Excerpted from From Fear to Hope by Vicktor Barrios Copyright © 2012 by Vicktor Barrios. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
Contents1. The Wall....................1
2. Created in the Image of God....................11
4. Free Will and Knowledge....................32
5. Criticism & Judgment....................39
6. Suffering in the World....................45
7. America—The Dream, My Journey....................51
8. Distribution of Wealth....................63
9. Conflicts between God's Children....................71
10. Immigration Today....................76
12. A Call to Action....................91
13. The Solution....................93
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