On June 16, 2015, at Trump Tower in New York, Donald Trump proclaimed his intention to be president, and said, “I will build a great wall — and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me — and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words.”
When I first heard about The Trump Wall, I laughed, but then I got to thinking about it. For years the Kenai River has been in the process of being “loved to death” by sport fishing and development along its banks. Whenever people meet to discuss ways to mitigate the damage, someone with tongue only partly in cheek suggests putting a gate across the Seward Highway to stop the Anchorage hordes from coming to the Kenai Peninsula to fish. In times past, I laughed at this crazy idea. Now, thanks to Donald Trump, I realize that we can control who comes to the Kenai Peninsula by blocking the highway with a smaller version of his “great, great wall.”
Trump, who said he has talked to border guards, said, “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending the best. They’re sending us not the right people.”
Well, when Anchorage sends its people to the Kenai Peninsula, it’s not sending us the “best” and “right” people, either. The best and right people spend a lot of money, then leave. It’s often said that the weekend warriors from Anchortown who migrate to the peninsula to fill their freezers come with one pair of skivvies and one $10 bill, and don’t change either one while they’re here. One of Trump’s great, great walls would keep these cheapskates out.
I can hear the naysayers saying, “With Alaska in financial distress, who will pay for the wall?”
No problemo. Trump says the wall between the U.S. and Mexico will be paid for by Mexico, so it’s reasonable to assume that the wall between Anchorage and the Kenai Peninsula will be paid for by Anchorage.
I can see it now. An impenetrable wall across the Seward Highway at Portage, guard towers strategically placed to cover the approach. Vehicles full of sweaty, frustrated Anchorrhoids, backed up for miles. Black-uniformed guards armed with automatic weapons turning back vehicles containing any trace of fishing gear.
“But wait,” I hear the whiny do-nothings saying. “A wall would stop not only the weekend warriors, but tourists who spend a lot of money on the peninsula. What about them? And what about my friends and relatives who live in Anchorage?”
Well-heeled tourists and others, provided they’re legal immigrants, would be allowed to pass through a tollgate in the wall. A toll will compensate the state for any and all costs incurred.
“But blocking a state highway violates state law, federal law and provisions of the Constitution,” they whine.
To borrow a Trumpism, I don’t care. When fishing on the Kenai River is at stake, you do what has to be done.
“A wall will alienate us from the rest of Alaska,” they wail.
After Trump vowed to seal off Mexico with a wall, he still has a great relationship with the Mexican people, he said. Sure, living on the Kenai Peninsula will feel a little like East Berlin during the Cold War, but we’ll get used to it.
Think of it. The rate that Kenai River fish habitat is being lost will be greatly reduced. At the usually mobbed Russian River sockeye fishery, instead of anglers fishing elbow-to-elbow, they’ll have 4 or 5 feet of space between them. During the peak of dip-netting and tourist season in July, we’ll be able to safely turn onto the Sterling Highway without having to wait for a break in the steady stream of vehicles from Anchorage.
The more I think about it, the more I think this wall deal is one of Trump’s better ideas.
Les Palmer can be reached at email@example.com.