Monday, April 11, 2016

Mr. President, Talk Up This Wall

That Boston Globe parody on Sunday presented as the front page of the paper commemorating Trump's first 100 days as president was a hoot, but there was one big thing missing: the Op-Ed page! I couldn't do any of their columnists, but I felt I had to try my hand. H/t Ted the Slacker, whose comment at Alicublog gave me the idea.

The Great Wall of Trumpa. Via NorthCrane.

The Opinion Pages | OP-ED COLUMNIST

Mr. President, Talk Up This Wall

The great American poet Robert Frost famously argued that something there is that doesn't love a wall, and this is unarguably true to some extent. There is also something that does love a wall. That something is President Trump and the many Americans who voted for him five months ago.
Back in last year's fraught election campaign, many skeptical observers right and left asked hard questions of candidate Donald Trump: Could he build a wall completely protecting the land border between the United States and Mexico from Texas to California? Could he get the Mexicans to pay for it? Would it successfully keep hordes of violent Mexican rapists and Syrian terrorists cunningly disguised as Mexican rapists out of our country? Did those hordes of Mexicans and/or Syrians even exist?
I was skeptical myself, for a minute or two during the campaign, although for much less partisan and more amusing reasons, because skepticism goes with my eye color and stylistic quirks. But then that was when it seemed certain that Trump could not win the election. So shoot me.
Now, as the Trump administration approaches the landmark moment of its first hundred days, many of these questions remain unanswered, in fact all of them, but that won't stop me from pontificating on the subject. I've got a deadline.
Now is no time to go wobbly. America needs some reason why a wry, urbane public intellectual such as myself would support such an idiotic idea, or even to suggest that it was my idea in the first place, and we need to do it soon. I think it's time for one of my listicles, the kind where each item starts with a punchy little phrase in italics:
The wall will bring unity. After the bruising battles of the last eight years of ugliness and mutual hatred, we need a project that will make us whole again. We need something to bring us back together. And there's nothing to bring people together like something that shuts other people out. Mewing us up inside a wall will make us one once more, like everybody being in the same church or bowling league.
Besides, it will be one of those projects, like putting a man on the moon, where accomplishing the seemingly impossible will make us feel good about our country again. People with a common, transcendent aim are optimistic. They radiate kindness and sensitivity. They make time to appreciate each other. They remember your birthday and call you once in a while, even though their mother says you've never cared about them because you're basically a human Popsicle. That's what can happen.
Irrationality is nonpartisan. While many of President Trump's ideas may seem strange or impractical, we should keep in mind that Democrats have some impractical ideas too. Some of them are probably really absurd. James Pethokoukis has said that Obamacare will never insure everybody. Now that President Trump has repealed it, that's clearly true. Thus, just because a plan seems stupid is no reason not to adopt it. Only a partisan hack would disagree.
Obligatory Lincoln reference. When people complained to Lincoln that General Grant drank too much, Lincoln said, "I'll have some of whatever he's having. And send a bottle over to old McClellan too." Lincoln understood that we all need to let our hair down sometimes and express ourselves. He learned this as a young man studying the works of Shakespeare and the Bible, and never forgot it during the long agony of the Civil War.
Frost also argued even more famously, if that's possible, that the land was ours before we were the land's, and we would do well to remember that as well. Good fences make good nations.

No comments:

Post a Comment