If he weren’t alive and suffering from Alzheimer’s, President Ronald Reagan would be turning over in his grave. In a perverse twist of fate, it’s probably a blessing that Mr. Reagan doesn’t know what is happening to his beloved country. The fox has control of the hen house.

Think Vicente Fox. Think George W. Bush. Think Congress.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are on the brink, and it isn’t a pretty picture.

In his historic bilingual speech to Congress, Mexican President Vicente Fox talked about his suggestions (read demands) for the United States and used the word “trust” several times. He urged stronger ties and greater trust between the two countries. He told Congress that “trust needs to be the key element of our new relationship.” He said “trust requires that one partner is not unilaterally judged by another.”

I guess that means that you go along with the other side and always give them the benefit of the doubt. Turn off your brain and your instinct and ignore what your eyes tell you. Just shut your eyes and trust.

Remember when Reagan said “Trust, but verify”?

I do, and I agree. With Reagan.

Where is it written that just because a country is on good terms with another that there is no skepticism about anything the other says? Who says it’s not sometimes a good idea to check out the other side? Who says that you just acquiesce to the demands of the other side because you are “friends” and because friends trust each other?

That’s nonsense. We all have an obligation to protect ourselves and that applies to countries as well as individuals. It’s all part of covering your backside – protection against the knife in the back. You may not believe it, but even friends betray and act with selfish self-interest. Shakespeare knew that. History is rife with it. “Et tu, Brute?”

Recent generations have bought the line that everyone is the same, no one has ulterior motives and “can’t we all just get along?” The same mentality says being able to protect yourself is wrong because it casts aspersions on other people, as though you don’t trust them.

The trouble is, sometimes the stakes are so high that, for your own protection, you need to check things out. It’s a sorry state, but made critical when the very foundation of a country may be riding on it. Like it or not, we are talking about the welfare of the United States.

It was an historic visit on several levels. Three days of the pomp and circumstance that blended the public and private, the grit of politics and the glitter of statesmanship. From the informality of the political glad-handing in Toledo to the formality of a troop review and 21-gun salute, Cabinet meeting and congressional speech to the protocol of a state dinner in the White House.

The whole affair was carefully scripted and planned and was carried off without a hitch. Well, sort of.

Right out of the box, during remarks at the welcoming ceremonies at the White House, George W. Bush got blindsided. Sandbagged! By his trusted friend, Vicente Fox. You have to hand it to Fox, he’s got chutzpah, or whatever the Spanish translation of that might be! (Too bad that wasn’t included in all the speech translations that permeated the three-day visit.)

Fox demanded that this country figure out how to make the millions of illegal Mexicans in this country legal and do it by the end of this year! He said it was only fair they be legalized. Fair to whom?

National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice reportedly said the White House hadn’t expected Fox to make public his desire for the fast track decision on illegals.

So much for trust.

But even worse, was the response from President Bush. It was “complex” he said, but “I want to accommodate my friend.” He went on to say the administration will spend lots of time working on it – and then the capper: “But to make matters even more complicated, we’ve got to work with the Congress, and we’ve got to come up with a solution that Congress can accept.”

I can just hear him thinking:

That darn Congress. That darn Constitution. If only I were king, I could just do what I wanted instead of having to deal with democratic details. Gosh, being president is just so complicated.

Fox not only wants millions of Mexicans here illegally made legal by December 31st; Bush is committed to the issue. Fox wants Mexican trucks allowed on U.S. highways; Bush has already said he would veto an appropriations bill containing a ban on Mexican trucks. Fox wants Mexico exempted from the U.S. drug certification program; he got a big boost when Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., agreed. Fox wants improved education for illegals’ children, respect and fairness for “immigrant rights,” increased border safety, families kept together and economic development. Anything else we can help you with, senor?

Since when did an official state visit become a list of demands or perhaps more kindly, a visit to Santa Claus with a wish list? Keep in mind, President Fox is in political trouble at home with a worsening economy, disastrous farm policies and political infighting. He’s in no position to demand. Yet he does. And our president simply acquiesces while most in Congress applaud. How very sad.

The truth is, blind trust is stupid and dangerous. Trust but verify. Thank you Mr. Reagan.

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