“And it’s up against the wall, redneck mother,” said Jerry Jeff Walker in 1973 in a verse that ended with “just kickin’ hippies’ asses and raisin’ hell.”
The paunchy 72-year-old president who read a stilted speech about his rabid desire to put up a wall not far from where Walker composed those words at his home in Texas so many years again, mouthed the words in a monotone that and gazed at the camera through eyes almost hidden by the sags and lines that appeared tired and bored.
Donald John Trump resumed usual form the day after when he slammed his fist down on the table in a conference room of the U.S. Capitol before storming out of a brief and — for him — unproductive meeting that he called an attempt to negotiate with Democratic Congressional leaders but was nothing more than a chance to demand, not negotiate, before walking out in a predetermined huff.
Trump, who has never really looked “presidential,” didn’t even look like any of his carefully manicured multiple personalities. He looked old, worn out and — more than ever — exactly what he is: A cornered fraudster running out of cons.
With his manufactured partial government shutdown now in its 19th day — seven days away from being the longest one on record — Trump reels from a vanishing “base” and Republican lawmakers turning away from him in disgust.
At least three GOP Senators and eight members of the House have joined Democrats in abandoning Trump’s bleats about a wall that does nothing but drain the federal treasury and now support reopening the government without wasting even one more dollar on a fantasy that served only his monumental ego and a dwindling group of political harpies.
Anyone with even a slight hint of historical perspective — which Trump lacks — knows that walls have nothing to do with America or what is left of its appeal after Trump’s determined efforts to destroy it.
Americans cheered when the Berlin wall fell in 1989, two years after President Ronald Reagan declared “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down the wall.”
China began to erect a 13,000 mile wall in 3rd century BC in an effort to prevent attacks from the north and keep out Manchu invaders. It didn’t work. Manchurians broke through and the Ming dynasty failed.
The “peace walls” of Belfast, Northern Ireland, brought more violence and now is a tourist attraction to an idea gone wrong. Same for other walls, like the West Bank Wall erected between the West Bank and Israel.
American polls show at least 59 percent of its citizens don’t support Trump’s ill-conceived border wall between America and Mexico. Most Americans recognize that such a wall is an anathema to a nation founded by immigrants seeking a better life from the tyranny they wanted to escape from in the 1600s.
Notes Michael Dear, emeritus professor in the College of Environmental Design at the University of California, Berkeley,, and author of Why Walls Won’t Work: Repairing the US-Mexico Divide:
The concept of a “wall” may sound good in political rallies. It purports to identify a source for the country’s ills; it plays on fear-driven nativist sentiments; and it recommends action to solve the problem, however imprecisely the problem is understood. But if you’re looking for effective policy, stay away from building more walls. For centuries, walls have not worked, and ultimately, they always come down.
“A wall, in my view, is an immorality,” says House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “It’s not who we are as a nation.”
Let’s hope she’s right.
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