Mule Trading

Dan ArpOpinion

This came to me Monday as I stood on the bank of the Rio Grande in Big Bend National Park gazing over into Mexico.

Farmer Red had a mule. Farmer Blue wanted that mule. He offered Farmer Red $20. Farmer Red accepted the offer. Sometime later Farmer Red decided he really wanted the mule back so he offered Farmer Blue $40 for the mule. Money changed hands as did the mule’s ownership. This same transaction continued over several months with the price of the mule increasing each time. One day Farmer Red approached Farmer Blue to buy the mule back. He was told that he couldn’t sell it to him as he had sold it to Farmer Purple. Farmer Red said, “you durn fool. We were both making good money off that mule.”

So, that being said, how long are we going to allow our representatives in Washington to trade mules? We elect these people to do a job. They are charged with identifying problems facing their constituents. They are then to determine the cause of the problem and to introduce legislation to address the problem. We expect them to work together in a responsible way, like adults. That’s why we pay them.

Another view of the Rio Grande

It’s amazing that we allow them to “trade mules’ to gain personal advantage and make money at our expense. If I gave a contractor a large advance to build a house for me and 10 years later, he and all his subcontractors were arguing about the project and nothing had been done, I think I would fire him and get my money back. Maybe it was my fault for not laying down the parameters I expected for the project.

Why do allow our senators and representatives to constantly kick the can down the road? I don’t know of any other situation where people are not held to a results standard. How many years have we been talking about immigration. Apparently, it doesn’t behoove these folks to produce favorable results. I’m no genius but it’s amazing that all anyone has done is use the situation for furthering their own careers.

It’s time to send the message to Congress that we expect a workable immigration policy by, fill in the date, or else we will vote them out and let better heads prevail.

Recently I listened to the “You Might Be Right” podcast by former Tennessee governors Bredesen and Haslam. While they didn’t offer an immigration plan, they did break down the elements of immigration that must be taken into consideration when formulating a policy.

We need immigrants to make up for our dropping birth rate. We need to stop brain drain. Foreign students are educated in our institutions but are not allowed to stay.  And then there is the humanitarian aspect. Of course, we can’t take everyone in. But we need to have a policy to guide us.

It’s time to demand those we entrust with our country’s destiny quit playing political brinkmanship and do their job.

Dan Arp is retired and lives in Heiskell.


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