“The Wall” Is A Fantasy

Well, another week of the Trump presidency has flown by, providing us with more moments worthy of comparison to the satirical writings of Joseph Heller or even Jonathan Swift.

Donald Trump, our nation’s leader, is standing firm on his insistence that a wall must be built on our southern border because he says we face a crisis! He says the United States is being gravely endangered by hordes of foreign intruders attempting to sneak into our country. Not only will these undesirables upset our labor force and increase crime but they are a potential conduit for the smuggling of drugs and, more frightening yet, terrorists into the USA. (In reality, the facts speak differently.)

So how exactly is President Trump addressing this grave threat to our security? Until he gets his way, he has “proudly” shut down the government. The result is 800,000 government workers, including those in the TSA and Coast Guard, will not be paid. And what is the job of many of those unpaid workers? Their job is to ensure our nation’s security. — Isn’t that just like something out of Heller’s “Catch 22?”

(I could also point to Trump’s earlier reaction to the “caravans” of refugees fleeing terrible conditions in their Central American countries. His suggestion for stemming the flow of families from those areas was to cut off U.S. aid to that region. – Yeah, that should convince those desperate families to stay put.)

And this brings me to another baffling part of this continuing “Trump dumpster fire:”

Why must every newscaster, pundit and political figure including Speaker Pelosi and Leader Schumer continue to refer to Trump’s desired border security project as “the  wall” or “a  wall?” This simply reinforces the notion that Trump’s “border wall” is a realistic proposal. The truth is it’s a stupid, undoable idea. There will never be and could never be a single wall along our southern border stretching from the Pacific coast to the Gulf of Mexico.

For starters, there is nearly 900 miles of Rio Grande River constituting the Texas-Mexico border. Would Trump’s wall block all U.S. citizens from approaching our side of the Rio Grande River? Or, would there be tall steel fencing down the middle of the Rio Grande, enlarging on the barriers East Berlin placed in waterways shared with West Berlin?

Yes, it is likely that when candidate Trump introduced his vision of “a wall” on our southern border, he may have actually visualized an impenetrable “Great Wall of China” type barrier. This certainly would be in keeping with the simplistic approach he has displayed in facing so many situations since he took office. (Rex Tillerson’s rumored appraisal of President Trump’s intelligence seems more accurate with each passing day.)

So, I wish our party leaders and the news media would realize that each time they discuss funds for “the wall” they legitimizes Donald Trump’s fantasy while protecting him from any exposure of his ridiculous concept.

Someday soon, the President may start claiming that his “wall” was simply a metaphor for a secure border made possible by a combination of barriers, electronic sensors, visual surveillance, and patrolling guards. I hope he does switch to that position. Then a funding agreement with Congress might be reached.

Unfortunately, many Trump supporters (and apparently some Fox News personalities) continue to embrace the vision of a massive, defiant, structure placed all along Mexico’s border. — It’s time they faced reality.

The fact is, there are nearly 400 miles of walls, barriers, etc. already in place along various stretches of the border. The other nearly 1600 miles of “un-walled” border includes, canyons, rivers, deserts that offer varying levels of penetrability. These border areas are patrolled by border security and, I’m assuming, local community law enforcement personnel. (Beef them up? Seems reasonable.)

Donald Trump should be asked point blank if he intends for his “wall” to be built from the Pacific coast to the Texas gulf. And he should be asked to show the public a map his “wall.” I think that might be especially enlightening for his diehard supporters.

It also seems to me that Democratic leaders should be talking more clearly about their own proposals for border security. They should lead the American people with more clarifying guidance. Right now the vague, misleading language battling over funding for “the wall” is getting us nowhere.

One more thing… At the top of this commentary I referenced the authors Joseph Heller and Jonathan Swift. But this past week there was another author whose work also felt pertinent, Richard Condon. He’s the guy who wrote the “Manchurian Candidate.” Did you ever imagine you would hear reputable news analysts discuss the possibility that the President of the United States might be an agent of the Russian government? Or watch a White House reporter directly ask the President if he has worked for Russia? It actually just happened.

It’s all stranger than fiction. At least it is, so far. We will have to wait and see what the Mueller Investigation and Democratic House hearings turn up before we can dismiss such an idea as totally preposterous. There are probably screenplays being written right now with a fascinating choice of endings.

Nels Howard, NTDO Member since 1973