On Friday, I read a headline on the Raw Story news site that I found absolutely hilarious. It read, "Arizona Republican running for US Senate seat wants to build a wall to keep Californians out." Okay, yes, I know you probably think that either I'm lying for a joke or that I mis-read the source and it's actually from The Onion. After all, no "serious" and self-respecting politician -- not even an overtly-pandering Republican trying in soul-crushing desperation to appeal to the most highly idiot-racist portion of the base -- would do something so eye-rollingly and uproariously stupid.
So, here's the screen shots to prove it.
So, there you are. See! I was telling the truth. Yes, a real-life pandering Republican who is actually and honestly running for the United States Senate (!!!) is suggesting that Arizona build its very own wall in order to keep out its fellow-citizens -- U.S. residents from a state with the fifth largest economy in the world, bigger than even Great Britain. Hey, if it works for Trump and Mexico, why not Arizona and California? (Okay, okay,, it hasn't worked for Trump and Mexico, but now that's just quibbling)
Never mind the pure idiocy of trying block the Interstate Highway system. And never mind the pure idiocy of not recognizing that one would be able to...well, simply drive around the border and just come in from Nevada. (Which would be REALLY EASY, taking you about 10-20 miles out of your way.) Or come in from Utah. Or from Colorado. Or from New Mexico. Or for that matter, come in from real Mexico where there isn't a wall. Unless, of course, Martha McSally plans to have Arizona build a wall around all its borders and keep everyone out. That doesn't appear to be her crackerjack plan, though. It's just to build a wall at the Arizona border with California. And never mind the concept of merely getting an airplane ticket and just plopping in that way -- or take the train -- since after all you don't need a passport to go from one state to another.
And by the way, lest you think that Martha McSally is your garden variety right wing nut job, someone running for the U.S. Senate on one of those loopy 3rd party "Americans Against Sanity" ticket. Oh, no, she is actually an already-elected United States Congresswoman "representing" Tucson in the 2nd District. No, really.
To be clear, her intent is not to keep out all Californians with her really cool Arizona Wall. It's that she doesn't like all them illegals in California and is afeared they'll come into Arizona. Because, apparently, you see, Arizona doesn't have any illegal Mexicans in their state, despite sharing a border with Mexico that is 2-1/2 times longer than the California-Mexico border. And despite the fact that if the Mexicans who came into California actually wanted to really come into Arizona in the first place, they could have...well, come into Arizona in the first place, rather than take the roundabout route of initially going into California and then take a right-turn and "Go East, Young Man," reverse Horace Greeley and travel into Arizona.
But here's the thing --
The reason I find this story so hilarious is not why you think. It's not for all those reasons I've noted that the dear Rep. McSally (R-AZ) has come up with for her truly idiotic, racist idea. If for another reason entirely -- which says a lot given how truly idiotic her racist idea is.
No, the reason I find the story so hilarious is because -- I wrote it as a joke 12 YEARS AGO!! In fact, almost to the day! This real news story about Ms. McSally was published on May 18, 2018. I wrote my joke story in the Huffington Post on May 16, 2006.
And by the way, after I published it -- and I swear to you this is true -- there were several user comments who thought it was real. I couldn't believe that I had to explain to them it was a joke. Now, yes, I know that we now have evidence from Martha McSally that an idiot Republican Congresswoman made almost the exact same suggestion and meant it. But not only do we now live in a post-Trump world where such idiocies are possible...but, more to the point, when you read my article you'll see how even more intentionally over-the-top it is as a way to satirize such racism as highly and blatantly as possible.
And yes, I am proud, gobsmacked and just a little bit nauseated to say that I presaged Trump.
Here was that article. May 16, 2006
Illinois Citizen Group to Build Wall on Indiana Border
A private citizens group in Illinois today announced plans to build a wall along the Indiana border to keep out those they say are streaming across the unprotected state line. The problem, they say, has been growing for the past 30 years.
“Ever since the oil refineries in Gary began closing in the mid-1970s, people there have had to find other income,” states the leader of the group, T. Herbert Duffy. “They’ve been streaming into Chicago ever since.”
Duffy’s organization was founded four months ago in mid-January. “We didn’t actually care about immigration,” he acknowledges. “We just got together because it was so butt-numbing cold that all anyone could do was sit in the basement shivering. So we came up with the idea of this club.”
At first, the only agenda item was to complain about shoveling snow. It was only after the Spring thaw came that the illegal Indianan idea popped up. “Our wives kicked us out of the basement, and we needed another problem or they’d make us come home. That’s when Phil started complaining about having lost his job, and blamed the Illegals from Indiana.”
Although the man had worked in a Galesburg tractor factory that had closed in order to manufacture cheaper overseas, the Minutepeople still knew they had their issue. “It just pissed us off, all those illegal Indianans sneaking into Illinois to steal our jobs and womenfolk. A couple of six-packs will do that.”
The mission grew from there. Starting from only five disgruntled men, they began recruiting, and found that there were enough people who wanted to get out of their house or meet singles that the club grew to its present total of 57 Minutepeople.
“That wasn’t our original name,” Duffy acknowledges. “We wanted to call ourselves Minutemen. We even had a lot of t-shirts made up. But someone thought there was another group with the name. Back in the Civil War or something. [Editor’s note: it was the Revolutionary War.] We figured it was better not to get sued, so we changed it.” A similar situation impacted the women in the club. “We had intended to call them Minutemaids, but we got a ‘Cease and Desist Order” from the orange juice company. So, we’re all Minutepeople.”
The name has its own sense of history, Duffy relates. “My wife would ask me to take out the garbage, mow the lawn, and I’d all always say, ‘In a minute, honey. In a minute.’ The name just stuck.”
As attention to the wall-building grows, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich has announced that he is ordering members of the State National Guard to the Illinois-Indiana border. “We will be sending four National Guardsman,” a spokesman for the Governor’s office reports. “There are going to be a lot of drunk guys with loaded firearms in the hot sun, and we don’t want another Dick Cheney incident.”
At present, the wall along the Illinois-Indiana border stretches 12 feet. The Minutepeople hope to have it completed by the end of August, though Duffy figures late-Autumn.
Many experts figure that it will take at least several hundred years. Some suggest longer. “With soil erosion and the natural corroding of cheap materials they bought,” states Lawrence Eberhardt of Eberhardt Fencing, “within 30 years they’ll likely have to start repairing their earlier work.. Then, each year the later-construction will begin falling apart. This could stretch until eternity.”
Duffy and the Minutepeople remain undaunted. They insist they will finish the wall. It’s a mission now to the club. “I know some people have said this is all racist, but that’s not true. If Indians want to live in Indiana, that’s fine. We have some right here. But wherever you live, you don’t enter somebody else’s land uninvited. That’s been true in America ever since the Pilgrims landed in America.”
Duffy is clear to insist, that it’s not just Indians the Minutepeople want to protect Illinois from, but all Illegals. The problem, he says, is that there aren’t enough border guards in Illinois. “Or actually, any.” That’s when they knew they had to build the wall. “To keep all illegal immigrants out. All.”
When asked if that includes illegals from Kentucky, Duffy hedged a little. “That’s the really squiggly part of the state border,” he noted, “and it’s pretty hard to build a wall on something that shape. We can bend our metal piping a little, but not that much.”
However, the Minutepeople are concerned about illegal immigrants from Missouri. “In some ways, they’re worse than Indiana,” the Exalted High Poobah noted. “Who wants all those St. Louis Cardinals fans here?! The Cardinals suck..” But the Minutepeople don’t have any plans to build a fence along the Illinois-Missouri border. “No, that’s why God created the Mississippi River,” states Duffy. “If anyone from Missouri tried to swim across, their fat butts would sink.”
The river, however, is only the first line of defense against both the Missouri and Iowa borders. “If any Illegal tries to drive into Illinois over bridges, you can see them coming. And since it’s mostly single file, that makes them easy to pick off. Also, we’re buying landmines to plant along the shore.”
That only leaves the Wisconsin border to the north.
Duffy admitted that initially the Minutepeople had forgotten about the northern border. But after a good laugh and a couple of beers, he said they all realized, “We really got nothing against Wisconsin. Cheese, beer, how can you not like them? Hate the Green Bay Packers, but the Bears rule, so what? The only thing about Wisconsiners is that when they come here they drive tractors really slow down the middle of the road. Forget ‘em. They’re like us, they’re okay.”
It’s a difficult mission, but one that makes Duffy’s wife Helen extremely proud. “I know the Tribune did a big state poll which said 98% of people in Illinois thought the Minutepeople were idiots, but I don’t believe polls. I’m sure it’s less than that. We do get about 75 phone calls every night yelling at us for being un-American, but I don’t believe phone calls either. I’m sure they’re just wrong numbers. And every morning our house is covered with eggs, but I don’t believe the egg-throwing. I’m sure they’re just trying to give us food for our important work.”
In the end, T. Herbert Duffy is proud of all that he and his Minutepeople have accomplished in so short a time. “Some may call us vigilantes,” he says, appreciating his 12-feet of fence, “and while that is true, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. After all, it got us on TV.”
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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