...yes… that wall. The one President Trump wants to spend billions of taxpayer dollars to construct as to once and for all seal the divide between the United States and Mexico. The total estimated cost of the wall varies, trending beyond $15 billion dollars, five of which he is currently lobbying for, hence the government shutdown that accompanied us into the new year. 

So our big solution to illegal immigration is to build a wall to keep people out… OK maybe so, I mean it worked so well for China and Germany right?... well, maybe not after all. But I also can’t say I have any better ideas to solve the challenges created by illegal immigration. 

As a country, if we could instead start asking the right questions and find solutions to problems together it would substantially improve our world rather than spending so long fighting about who’s right and allowing ego to make decisions. I give our president credit for at least trying to do something to solve a problem rather than just complaining about it. 

As U.S. citizens we have numerous opportunities every day to show our government and each other what our values are and how we are doing our part to help solve issues we see in the world rather than just posting our opinion on social media. Be the change, right? 

So you’re not a fan of people from Mexico coming here illegally in hopes to create a better life for themselves... Isn’t that the rabbit hole of life that led us all here? Didn’t we all come from predecessors who immigrated here from another country to create a better life? 

So do we turn and judge our ancestors for searching for and creating a better life for themselves and for us, or do we celebrate them for doing something to make their situation better, no matter the risk involved? 

Before we decide that people from Mexico shouldn’t come here and “take” our jobs… maybe we should also consider that according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, in 2015 44 percent of all U.S. fruit and vegetable imports came from Mexico. 

So do we still expect them to play nice and export fruits and veggies and other goods to us at a fair cost after we build this wall? What other negative implications might the wall have? How does Mexico even feel about the wall? 

While I don’t think it’s the most prudent use of taxpayer dollars — or any dollars for that matter — to build a wall between two countries, I also think rather than criticize what is happening, we could take a look at some of our choices as a country and see if we can be a part of the solution. 

For example, ABC News reported that citizens of the U.S. would collectively spent more than $465 billion dollars on holiday gifts and goodies this year. They reported that if each person spent just $64 of the estimated $700 in holiday spending per person on American made goods, it would create 200,000 new jobs. If all of the estimated Christmas spending were kept inside country borders, it would create an estimated additional 4.6 million jobs nationally. 

It’s astounding to see that just one of our many socially constructed holidays has such a big impact on our spending, which in turn has the potential to impact our economy. How much of your purchased gifts this year were 100 percent made in our country? Or did saving a couple of dollars outweigh the loyalty to our country, economy and job preservation? 

This is where it gets tricky. As U.S. citizens we jump at the chance to blame the president and other government happenings for the state of our economy and problems, but as the majority representation of where our dollars are spent, can’t we as citizens take some personal responsibility in the matter and start creating more mindful spending habits?

I can’t say that I know for a fact how many of the gifts I gave this year supported jobs within our borders. But yet, I was quick to decide whether I think the president is doing the right thing or not with the fight about spending a bunch of money to build a wall. 

There are so many ways we can be a part of a solution if we don’t agree with the way a problem is being solved. We can be more clear about what we want to see and vote with our dollars spent collectively. If we want to see more jobs created then we can consciously spend our money on American-made products rather than the cheap nonsense put together by a 6-year old in another country working in unregulated and unsafe conditions for slave wages. 

Before throwing judgments in the way of another I try to ask how I can use my energy and resources to instead improve something that I have control over rather than picking apart someone else’s ideas in which my opinion doesn’t really matter. There’s always something more productive I could be doing with my time rather than stressing about what someone else is doing wrong, especially something I have no control over. 

I don’t agree with the way our president wants to spend taxpayer dollars to solve the problem of immigration, but I also don’t think I have actively participated enough in being a productive part of the solution to really have a voice in the matter. Nor can I say that I truly understand the impacts of a wall, versus the impacts of illegal immigrants. What would our world look like if we could all just instead work together to define values and solve problems without creating more segregation and nonsense? 

Ashley Maden can be reached at a.maden@winnemuccapublishing.net.