CHARLOTTE, NC. Fifteen days into the new year, and the wall debate continues to be the most polarizing subject in the news. Friend or foe of Donald Trump, border security dominates the headlines. The public opinion pendulum swings back and forth in ever-wider arcs. Building a wall along the Mexican-U.S. border was a key theme in Trump’s surprisingly successful 2016 presidential campaign. Now, the issue is front and center for all. And the Democrats’ opposition to the Trump wall has begun to resemble the theater of the absurd.
The only issue preventing the wall’s construction is anti-Trump #Resistance
Back in 2016, a border security wall between the US and Mexico was a popular issue. So why have so many Americans flip-flopped in their attitudes toward the wall’s construction in 2019?
To borrow a line from Claude Rains in the Hollywood film classic Casablanca, “the usual suspects” have weighed in with predictably negative responses to the President’s demand for funds to build the wall he promised to build. That’s not necessarily because they really believe what they are saying. Instead, they feel political expediency demands they must oppose the president regardless of the issue at hand.
Thus, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) describes Trump’s wall as “immoral, ineffective and expensive,” while Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) calls it “wasteful” and “doesn’t solve the problem.”
Strangely enough, even as recently as the 2016 presidential campaign, there was wide and strong support for building a wall. Furthermore, Democrats themselves, including Schumer and Pelosi, were in favor of its construction under the Obama administration.
Suddenly, however, we find ourselves today watching “the usual suspects” transform the still-unbuilt border security wall into a deeply polarizing symbol of racism and inequality. Wall opponents now condemn the wall as a symbol of American’s intolerance of immigrants and racial minorities.
An extreme, left-wing partisan divide obliterates common sense and divides the country
As the rhetoric intensifies, and as the government shutdown showdown continues, the media endlessly analyzes the issue. With a negative bias. A full-scale, highly partisan battle of words has skewed the debate toward something Trump’s wall really does not represent. Effectively this serves to dumb the dispute down to its lowest common denominator.
As this largely political power-oriented debate grows and becomes more heated, ever-larger numbers of Americans are beginning to take notice. The escalating 24/7 hysteria #Resisting Trump’s wall bears little resemblance to what this battle really means. Like nearly everything else in this century, the situation has become completely politicized. And, in keeping with Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals,” the wall has also become “personalized” as another way of blaming and condeming Donald Trump for the entire mess. The wall is, after all, “Trump’s wall.” Not an American border security wall. So, like all things Trump, it must be “resisted.”
A tale of two presidencies
Even most of Trump’s most ardent supporters agree that he is “one of a kind” when it comes to governing. He is brash, frequently crude, unashamedly arrogant and is virtually devoid of tact or statesmanship. Never mind that that is generally what has made him effective as President.
By the same token, Barack Obama was enigmatic. Totally different in presidential style, Obama was also a maverick and a socialist. Yet perhaps the only thing the two most recent American presidents have shared is their massively over-inflated egos.
In Trump’s case, the president’s language in response to his opposition has been a powerful catalyst that gives Democrats an opening to alter public opinion when the public seems to favor the wall. One key Democrat idea is to complain about the expense, the “cost” of building the wall. Looking back, however, we should focus on the sheer hypocrisy of the Democratic “cost” argument. Under Obama, the price of the wall the Democrats once favored was never considered as an important factor. In that sense, the anti-wall forces lose credibility. Why is the wall’s cost somehow a problem in the Trump presidency when it wasn’t a problem during Obama’s two terms?
Wall or fence? A false dichotomy
Writing in The Federalist, Emily Ekins states that there is a huge distinction between the idea of a “wall” and that of a “fence.”
“Walls give the impression of exclusion and that they cannot be crossed, even legally. Fences, on the other hand, often have gates and give the impression that they can be crossed using the proper channels.”
The comparison is similar to the perception of choosing a bus or a train when it comes to mass transportation. Buses do not have equal public acceptance with trains. In the end, it’s a hairsplit. It’s another false argument.
Breitbart News compiled a rather telling list of 20 wall/fence properties that currently exist around the world. They seem to refute the argument of whether barriers actually provide security.
In the end, whether you define a security barrier as a wall or a fence, have you ever noticed how many of Trump’s detractors do not hesitate to provide personal “barrier-style” security for their own families? Question: In how many of these projects was cost a factor when determining whether to build or not to build?
Already existing security barriers around the world
Here’s the list of politicians, countries, global attractions and governmental installations that deemed fencing or walls necessary for security. And as a result, have already built them.
Hillary Clinton’s Home Privacy Fence in Chappaqua
Barack Obama’s Backyard Brick Barrier
Elizabeth Warren’s Iron Fence
Bill de Blasio’s Brick Wall
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Mansion
Bill Gates’ Gates
Paul Ryan’s Personal Sovereignty
The 2016 Democratic National Convention’s Security Walls
Hollywood’s Walled Off Awards Shows
Israel’s Border Fence
Barbed Wire Fence at Guantanamo Bay
Hungary’s Migrant Crisis Fix
Bulgaria’s Border Fence
The Walls of Vatican City and St. Peter’s Square
Royal Gates of Buckingham Palace
The Gates of Chateau de Versailles
2020 Olympics Construction Barriers
North Carolina’s Supermax Prison Fence
Oklahoma’s Prison Fence
America’s Largest Nuclear Power Plant’s Secure Fence
You have to honestly consider and ask yourself, why the walls and fences listed above are there if they do not work or fail to provide the appropriate security for which they are intended.
That argument is closely related to why law enforcement personnel usually carry guns in a world where gun control advocates argue that firearms should be eliminated.
What goes around comes around
Oddly enough, according to Emily Ekins, once the debate over building or not building Trump’s wall subsides for whatever reason, the pendulum usually swings back in favor of the wall.
One way or another, we either construct the wall or allow the status to remain quo. If we do nothing to resolve the controversy over illegal immigration, however, do we have a viable alternative? And who will scream the loudest if the inevitable catastrophic event occurs, resulting in massive death and destruction?
— Headline image: Border fence arroyo crossing by Hart’s Mill. The existing US border fence between El Paso and Juarez has an elaborate gate structure to allow floodwaters to pass under. The grates prevent people being able to cross under, and can be raised for floodwaters carrying debris. Beyond the fence is a canal and levee before the Rio Grande; the Border Patrol cars hang out on the levee. (Image via Wikipedia entry on Mexico–United States barrier, CC 4.0 license.
About the Author:
Bob Taylor is a veteran writer who has traveled throughout the world. Taylor was an award winning television producer/reporter/anchor before focusing on writing about international events, people and cultures around the globe.
Taylor is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com)
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