One if by Land … Two if by Sea

Antonine wall.jpg

Donald Trump is obviously no student of history; so despite his financial interest in Scottish golf courses, it’s probably safe to assume he knows nothing about the Antonine Wall or Hadrian’s Wall. But surely even he has heard of the Great Wall of China. All these walls were built to keep people out, but instead they eventually became tourist attractions that invited people in.

The Berlin Wall, on the other hand, was built to keep people in, but instead it became an indictment of a nation so awful it had to hold its own people prisoner. Eventually, that wall was reduced to rubble and made into souvenirs.

The lesson of history is that walls simply don’t work. But in spite of that, candidate Trump repeatedly vowed to build a wall on the border with Mexico. When he was unexpectedly and unfathomably elected, he found himself backed into a corner by this and other foolish promises he made.

As he did with his Muslim ban, Trump tried to pitch the wall as a necessity, but the only necessity was a political one. In fact, a majority of Americans don’t want the wall – and they certainly don’t want to pay for it. Homeland Security estimates it will cost $21 billion, but an estimate from MIT runs much higher. So how to pay for this boondoggle?

When Mexico rightly refused to pay for the wall, Trump proposed a 30% border tax on Mexican goods. The blow-back was swift and certain, since even Trump supporters were smart enough to figure out that tax would simply be passed on to American consumers. So that plan was shelved – at least temporarily; but its return is still a possibility, provided a less obvious scam can be concocted.

So now what? A desperate Trump has foolishly proposed cutting money from the Coast Guard to pay for his wall. Really? Has he never heard of the Mariel boat-lift? Or the Vietnamese boat people? Doesn’t he know countless refugees from Africa arrive in Europe by boat? Doesn’t he know the US has an enormous coastline, a coastline protected by the COAST GUARD?

Before this foolish plan is put in place, someone should reissue an old warning:

“One if by land, two if by sea.”

©2017 Tom Cordle

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