by Jim Powers
I got my peaches out in Georgia [Oh, yeah, ****
I get my weed from California [That’s that ****
I took my chick up to the North, yeah [Bad that *****
I get my light right from the source, yeah [Yeah, that’s it]
Justin Bieber “Peaches”
Justin Bieber may have got his peaches out in Georgia, but I get mine at Walmart. In fact, I get most of the fresh vegetables I can get year-round at Walmart. But I’m also old enough to remember when only seasonal fruits and vegetables were available at the local grocery store. Modern distribution systems enable us to ignore growing seasons, as we import whatever we need from wherever the produce is growing.
Take the humble tomato for example. The U.S. is a major producer of tomatoes while at the same time being the largest importer of tomatoes from Mexico. But produce isn’t the only thing to move both ways across the border between Mexico and the U.S. Automobile parts, electronic components and a whole list of other goods make that trip daily.
As I hope you are aware, there is a kerfuffle along the U.S. border with Mexico going on right now that has brought the finely tuned distribution of goods between the U.S. and Mexico to a stop. Governor Abbott has ordered a safety inspection of every commercial truck moving over the border to the United States. The result is predictable. Trucks are lined up for miles at the border, many loaded with produce that will spoil without refrigeration.
Because these big, refrigerated trucks carry only enough fuel to run their refrigeration units for seven days, and many of those trucks have been stuck in the border traffic jam for four days already, a lot of produce will be useless. Even if the truck’s loads survive, the snarled distribution system has already resulted in empty shelves and produce bins.
Gov. Abbott’s actions created this problem, and for days I tried to understand how tangling up well-oiled distribution systems benefited him politically. Making folks mad at you for what appears to be an unforced error just didn’t make sense to me. Until today, when the clear outline of a strawman appeared, followed by announcements from the Governor’s office that Abbott has negotiated deals at the time this article was written with two Mexican states to allow movement between two of the border crossing sites again.
The strawman argument, in this case, has Abbott creating a problem then bragging about solving it. Setting up the strawman and knocking it down. Putting out press releases celebrating his political astuteness.
The distribution system was moving normally before Abbott suddenly ordered these “safety checks.” Then, when they brought truck border crossings to a halt, he leaned on the relevant Mexican states to become the hero by solving the problem he created. At tremendous financial cost in lost products, lost productivity to workers who have been idled at loading docks around the country.
If you are left with any doubt this is all about politics, Abbott at the same time has engaged in another political stunt that will end up costing Texas taxpayers a lot of money. He has started sending immigrants who have crossed the border to Washington, DC. Now, because he has no constitutional authority to force these people onto a bus and move them across state lines (that would be human trafficking and kidnapping), he asks for “volunteers.”
Whatever deniability he might have had for his motive in this action was blown up when he had the first busload to DC let out in front of the building housing Fox News offices, where a reporter was ready to do an interview. Interviewers asked those who disembarked where they were going to go from there, and several said they were headed to Miami, Florida. I’m certain Gov. DeSantis has called Abbott to thank him.
As a lifelong Texan, I sure wish my state government would spend my tax dollars actually helping people instead of playing political games.