America in Retreat

by TOM MCLAUGHLIN August 26, 2010
America is losing ground, literally and figuratively. For decades, I’ve taught young people how the United States was born - and how it expanded to the configuration on the maps I use to teach - the lower forty-eight with Alaska and Hawaii scrunched in alongside. The maps don’t indicate how tenuous our hold on the territory within that familiar shape is becoming, but it’s getting weaker. That’s ominous - not only for us, but for the whole world. In spite of several warnings not to, I drove to the Mexican border in Nogales, Arizona last June, right after school got out. (See previous articles here and here.)
Ordinary people I met in Tucson told me it was dangerous down there, but I went anyway and stopped when I got to the pathetic border fence where I pulled over and parked on a Monday afternoon. Half the signs were in Spanish. Hispanic men were sitting in groups of three or four on the sidewalks watching me get out of my car and walk around. The first several people I tried to talk to didn’t speak English - and I was still in the United States.
I walked into the Nogales Historical Society next to a pawn shop. The man behind the desk in the office didn’t speak English. Another man came in and he didn’t speak English either. Exhibits favorable to Mexican bandits and revolutionaries proliferated.
Seeing a McDonalds on a hill nearby and knowing they had wifi service, I drove up. Nobody spoke English there either and it was surrounded by a chain link fence topped with razor wire. Remember, I was still on the US side of the border, which I could see from the parking lot. Private homes had bars on their windows.
Those, and the security fence reminded me of traveling in the West Bank three years ago. I left my car and walked across into Mexico. There were no clerks to challenge me, just a one-way turnstyle because nobody tries to sneak into that godforsaken country, and no wonder: A week later 21 people were massacred just 12 miles away. I didn’t feel safe in a country where the government is as corrupt as the drug lords. Two blocks in was a hotel outside of which were heavily-armed soldiers guarding government officials meeting inside. After an hour of being accosted by men selling viagra and prostitutes, I turned around.
I stood in line for another hour looking at pictures of Barack Obama and Janet Napolitano, waiting to get back into my country. I showed my passport, walked back across, then drove up International Street alongside the pathetic border fence where overworked US Border Patrol Agents in white-and-green pick up trucks drove around frantically trying to catch the thousands of illegals who jump over it every month. One told me to get out of there because it was “too dangerous.” I asked if he needed more help from our government to control the border, but he got nervous and referred me to his superiors at headquarters.
Last week, interviewed Cochise County Arizona Sheriff Larry Dever, who said: “And you frankly have Border Patrolmen--and I know this from talking to Border Patrol agents—who will not allow their agents to work on the border because it is too dangerous. Now what kind of message is that for crying out loud?”


Also last week, Jim Kouri reported at that: “On the heels of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents' 258-0 ‘vote of no confidence’ against their superiors, U.S. Border Patrol agents [in Tucson] are slamming President Barack Obama's administration - especially Attorney General Eric Holder.”

US National Park officials are warning Americans about the danger of Mexican drug smugglers inside the US. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer said most illegal aliens are smuggling drugs.

Just the other day, An 18-year-old American woman was kidnapped in Texas, taken across the Mexican border and held for ransom. “U.S. authorities did not contact their Mexican counterparts because they did not know whether they were corrupted or connected to the girl’s captors,” San Juan, Texas Police Chief Juan Gonzalez said.

Drug cartels see America full of addicts and their own country in anarchy. Peasants see America as paradise with free medical care and education, and their own country as non-functioning. Our government and Mexico’s “government” pretend all this isn’t so. Working together, they pretend Arizona is the problem for trying to protect itself from invasion by millions of violent foreign drug dealers and illiterate campesinos.

The violent anarchy that is Mexico is spreading north, enabled by our federal government. We’re losing ground. Most of our fifty states are effectively bankrupt or chafing at escalating power in Washington. Some are talking nullification - even secession. We’re in danger of boiling over.
America saved the world from fascist and communist dictatorship in the 20th century and it’s the only obstacle to the chaos of radical Islamic terrorism in the 21st. Our enemies, however, no long fear us. They see us as a paper tiger governed by a president who apologizes for our past greatness while running us into bankruptcy.

We’re losing ground on many fronts.

That’s ominous for us - and for the rest of the world as well. Who else but America has the courage and the might to keep chaos at bay? The UN?
After us, the deluge. Contributing Editor Tom McLaughlin is a history teacher and a regular weekly columnist for newspapers in Maine and New Hampshire. He writes about political and social issues, history, family, education and Radical Islam. E-mail him at

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