By Tom Still
Presidential candidate Donald Trump wants to build a wall
separating Mexico from America’s southern border. Gov. Scott Walker, also
running for president, mused briefly about building a wall between the United
States and Canada.
Before the nation spends billions of dollars on walls to
protect us from people outside the United States, let’s consider the need for
tighter interstate and intrastate security.
Read the full commentary in the Wisconsin State Journal here.
Here are a few Wisconsin walls to be considered in these
Between Wisconsin and
Michigan’s Upper Peninsula: Yah, der hey, ‘doz Yoopers have been downright
dangerous for years, ever since The Toledo War of 1835-36 set off a series of
events that ceded the UP to Michigan instead of Canada or Wisconsin. Never
heard of The Toledo War? It was a bloodless border conflict between Ohio and
Michigan, and probably a precursor to today’s Ohio State versus Michigan
Between Madison and
Milwaukee: Wisconsin’s two largest cities couldn’t be much more different…
Wine versus beer, brie versus cheddar, self-assured versus self-defense. Wait,
I forgot… That wall already exists. It’s on I-94 near Oconomowoc. The wall
itself is imaginary but has somehow remained unscaled for generations.
UW-Madison campus and the rest of Madison: This wall could be erected for
specific holidays, such as “Hippie Christmas” on Aug. 15. That’s when apartment
move-in day ends with tons of tired sofas, busted lamps and three-legged tables
on street curbs. Another is Oct. 31, when State Street becomes a giant
Halloween Party. Of course, there’s every home football weekend, when parking
on other peoples’ lawns becomes acceptable and even profitable.
Between Madison’s 77
square miles and reality: The late Gov. Lee Dreyfus jokingly referred to
Madison as “30 miles surrounded by reality,” and the gag draws chuckles decades
later. But how many square miles are actually contained within Madison’s
ever-expanding borders? Estimates found in a quick Internet search range from
94.03 to 84.7 to 76.41. Perhaps the city of Madison is obscuring the true
figure so contiguous Dane County suburbs don’t realize they’re being annexed,
slowly but surely.
Between the state
Capitol and Bascom Hill: It’s a short walk most days from the Capitol to
the heart of the UW-Madison campus, but the psychological distance can be
measured in time zones. Many state legislators have been unhappy with the
university ever since it got caught saving money for a rainy day, which came in
a downpour when the Legislature cut its budget. On the flip side, a prevailing
opinion on campus is that legislators have no right telling faculty members
what to do, like be accountable. A sturdy fence somewhere around Peace Park in
the 400 block of State Street would likely do the trick.
Dells and Lake Delton: Can anyone distinguish between where Wisconsin Dells
ends and Lake Delton begins? Not me. Perhaps an appropriately designed wall
would help visitors tell these vacation magnets apart. Other communities that
could benefit from a “branding” wall include Sauk City and Prairie du Sac, La
Crosse and Onalaska, Racine and Kenosha and most of the Fox Valley along
Illinois border: On any summer weekend, you can watch the cars stream north
on 1-94 and 1-90/39 heading north. They’re weekend travelers from The Flatlands
invading Wisconsin with a vengeance… eating our food, sleeping in our beds,
boating on our lakes, pumping our gas and generally having a really good time.
OK, a Flatlander wall isn’t such a great idea for the tourism industry after