By Rowland Scherman –
Mr. Trump has tried very hard to implement his campaign promises, the tax cut for the richest, the dismantling of Obamacare and many others. His idea to build a wall is his plan to protect national security.
“Good fences make good neighbors.” Most people, it seems, choose to regard those words of Robert Frost as a blueprint for peaceful living. Had they read the poem, however, they would realize that those words were spoken by Frost’s neighbor, who apparently was rejecting Frost’s premise that a wall between neighbors was less than the optimal way to live one’s life. In other words, the phrase is delivered with sarcasm.
Mr. Trump wants to implement the building of a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, because during several of his speeches he got a huge round of applause when he exclaimed The Wall would be “..beautiful, and Mexico will pay for it.”
None of that was true, of course. Trump well remembers this adoring outburst, however; and now, in his mind, everyone wants The Wall.
The Wall now looms as the vital lynchpin as to whether any important other government business will even take place unless funds are voted to at least start building it. Senators who vote for the money for The Wall will effectively banish 700,000 US residents to get it. These are the same Senators who, during the primary debates, warned against doing anything Trump wanted as he was a dangerous menace to America.
The Wall is the most expensive, the most divisive, and the least understood of Mr Trump’s agendas. It is also the most unnecessary.
Among the discussions about whether or not to build a wall across our southern border, there have been important parameters: the cost, the height, the width, the location, and the gaps where the wall needn’t be, because the terrain is impassable at those locations. There is, however one important fact that has, remarkably, eluded discussion. It it this: Walls don’t work.
This simple fact has been proven essentially, since the beginning of recorded time.
Hadrian’s Wall, built by the Romans in the first century, had no effect on attacks (there weren’t any), as it was mainly used as a tax office to stop cheaters.
The most famous of walls, The Great Wall of China, took a century to build yet it was ineffective against the Manchus, who pierced it many times.
The Berlin Wall (sometimes known as the Wall of Shame) was to keep East Germans from visiting West Germany (and escaping Soviet rule); was a source of scorn worldwide, until its demise around 1990. Republican hero Ronald Reagan had quite a bit to do with that wall’s demise, and one wonders how he’d feel now about The Wall of Mr Trump.
The Maginot Line did not keep the Germans from overrunning France in 6 weeks.
Hitler’s Atlantic Wall, built 1942-44, by 600,000 forced laborers was pierced in a single day by U.S., British, French and Canadian forces in 1944.
“Walls tend to be crude solutions to complex problems and are evidence of geopolitical failure,” said Michael Dear, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, who specializes in the border with Mexico.
“People always find a way to go above or below or through a wall,” he said.
And then there is, of course, the cost of the wall. The first estimates have come in at around 8 billion dollars. OK, Let’s say the wall prohibits 25,000 Mexicans (one of whom may be a rapist) from getting in. That means it would cost $320,000 for each Mexican turned away.
I am sure that those who govern this country and want to make it a better place for all its citizens can come up with a better use for that kind of cash outlay. And if they cannot do this, if they insist on making a wall to enhance a campaign promise of a man they didn’t want to lead them in the first place, perhaps they have chosen the wrong profession.
And those who do want to lead should obviously be more versed in, or at least more cognizant of, history!
© 2018, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.