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3/15/2005

Good Fences

There’s always more than enough to do around Gray’s Ranch. This past weekend Michael and I spent some time fixing fence. With all the time that I have put into Drovers Mercantile, Kansas Cowboy and developing the Cowboy tourism market over the past 10 years I’ve not been the best at keeping my fences in good repair. I’m not exactly proud of that fact, but there it is.  
 
I was raised on the adage that “Good fences make good neighbors” and I believe that is so. Building and repairing fence is an art that some are good at and others are not, but in most cases poor fences are the result of neglect as with our fences. So, we had a cross fence sagging with broken wire at a crick crossing. A couple of the first calf heifers had found the hole and were grazing in the horse pasture. Not exactly a big problem, but a fella doesn’t want animals to develop bad habits. Crawling through barb wire fences can become a huge problem if ya don’t nip it in the bud. First one or two are finding their way through the fence and before long the whole herd has discovered a new range on the OTHER side of the fence. If the habit gets too far out of hand a fella can fix the fence and find that now his cattle have discovered how to get through anyway. Crawling cattle are a nightmare!  
 
So we strung some new wire and stretched it up tight. As of Tuesday, the cattle have stayed where they are supposed to be. No more problems.  
 
Which brings me to a much larger problem. If cattlemen have come to understand this basic principle in Cow Psychology what the heck is the matter with President Bush who claims to be a cattleman? In an age when national security is supposed to be our great priority our international borders are in great need of repair. We’ve let the fence get in such disrepair that illegal aliens are passing back and forth just like an unruly herd of spoiled cattle. What are we saying to our neighbors and to the rest of the world?  
 
The people that follow the rules and go through the proper “gate” to become United States citizens must think we’ve become a seriously negligent administrator of our land. While they have sacrificed to attain citizenship we seem to be bending over backwards allowing those who have no respect for the fence, meaning the law of immigration, to flood through with very little reprimand. How can we maintain the respect of our new citizens or of our neighbors if we don’t even respect the borders ourselves?  
 
The effect is so much like allowing the fences to fall down on the ranch. Soon, all the cattle have strayed to the adjoining pasture and with no control over their numbers they soon overgraze the land leaving it barren and unproductive. Uncontrolled immigration is doing just that as more and more people pass through the nearly non-existent “fence”.  
 
I’m not saying anything new. It looks to me like most U. S. citizens want the government to string up the new wire and stretch it tight. So what’s the matter with our Cowboy President? When is he going to pick up a hammer and wire stretchers and go to work? 
So Long, 
The Cowboy 

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