Much Ado About a Wall

Would that we could build a wall between Trump and the rest of us.

Trump would still make much of his wall. He had promised his people, that when elected he would build the wall (and that Mexico would pay for it). Now his people, Trump’s people, were then and now in their majority white evangelicals who did not want to lose their white skinned dominant presence in the country.

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Americans from central America, while also Americans, were dark skinned. Trump has held onto his white skinned base by promising to exclude the dark skins, the coloreds from the country, first the Moslems by executive order, and now the Central Americans by building the wall.

Our president does seem to think that walls are good things. He even went so far yesterday as to declare that walls are no less essential to our lives than are wheels. Is that true?

One might suggest to the president of this land (to the man who never stops reminding himself, “I’m president, and you’re not,”) that while wheels may take us places where we want to go,  walls are often the major obstacles along our way. I for one would hate to have to go through walls to get where I want to go. That was my experience in West Berlin in the summer of 1989.

Aren’t there enough separations between the people of this world? Do we really need or want more of them? Don’t we really need more bridges to others, those not at all like ourselves? And in fact the Americans by a large majority don’t want a Trump wall on our southern border. And furthermore it would take much more than a wall to stop peoples from coming here.

America is still the land of the free (and will be after Trump is gone) and the people have always come here to be free. Why would anyone want to change that now?

The migrants are no threat. They want only, as the millions of migrants who have preceded them, to be a contributing part of what we have here. And they have always contributed. And more often than not we have welcomed them.

And don’t we in fact live in an age of wall busters? Wasn’t it president Reagan, also a Republican but without the character defects of our 45th.president, who while visiting West Berlin said, “Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” And, what seemed a miracle at the time, Gorby allowed the people of Berlin to tear it down themselves. And they did and everyone was happy, indeed joyful.

There will be no joy at all if Trump’s wall ever goes up. Pieces of the Berlin wall now decorate coffee tables in Berlin and elsewhere. We might best do that with pieces of Trump’s wall before it ever goes up.

Trump calls his wall necessary to protect our border, often using instead of wall the phrase “border security.” As if this country’s security ever came from its walls (other than in our gated communities of which no one is proud).

It hasn’t and it doesn’t, that is, our security. Trump may believe that all his talk of border security is valid, real, but even his base of followers probably doesn’t believe that. What they most likely believe is that Trump is protecting their white skins from the brown and black skins who would come here, as all migrants of past times, to find a life, and to be free and yes to change the country in accordance with who they are. It’s not about who we are.

Better than wheels Trump might have picked another  illustration, to back up his position, the Great Wall of China for example. For this wall like Trump’s wall was meant to stop “invaders” from the north. In our case, the invaders from the south being migrants from Honduras and Nicaragua and the lands and countries on our southern border.

Did China’s Great Wall succeed? I don’t know, but given the history of China it certainly didn’t keep China’s peoples “secure.” Perhaps only its emperors were kept secure, as Trump”s wall would secure Trump’s own place. For Trump’s wall is not really about border security but about Trump’s own security in the White House, now and in two years time, when he will be trying for a second term in the White House.

But Trump didn’t choose the Great Wall of China as an illustration of the legitimacy of his own southern wall. Instead, he chose as his illustration the walls of the Vatican, his choice being among other things, a response to the words of his critics, in particular Nancy Pelosi just elected as Speaker of House, who has rightly called any wall between us and the thousands of asylum seekers from Central America (and elsewhere) immoral, her comment providing Trump another one of his silly tweets, “What would you say, Nancy, that the Vatican with all its walls is immoral”?

Timothy Egan in today’s Times while speaking of Nancy Pelosi, says that she had the best line on the subject of the wall.
Nancy: “Trump’s now down to, I think, a beaded curtain or something.”  And Timothy: “Not bad, Nancy. Keep it up.”

Trump has most of all managed to get where he is today by adopting as true, the cliché versions of hundreds of seeming and probably popular truths, most of which would go on to become his what are really “cliché’  truths, such as “Make America Great Again, Put America First, Build the Wall, Lock Her Up…. ” These being the words spoken and making up the substance of Trump’s endless campaign rallies.

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By constant repetition, and by monopolizing these “cliché truths” as if they were of his own invention (they’re not, in use at least since the popularizers of Ancient Greece and Rome) Trump has successfully  turned his base followers into an army of fanatical supporters, those who made him president in 2016 and those who will probably do so once again in 2020 if the Democrats do nothing to stop him.

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