Since the dawn of recorded history, walls have served to keep the bad guys out and the lucky few safe: From Jericho to Berlin, they have both defended and divided cities. Walls from the Scottish borders to the Chinese frontier have been employed to not just disrupt raiding and ancient migration routes, but to defend entire civilizations from the total dislocation of ‘barbarian’ invasion.
In Europe, walls fared little better. While Constantinople’s city walls did hold for a thousand years, the Maginot Line and Hitler’s Atlantic Wall lasted but days. If anything, the lesson seems to be that the more ambitious a wall is- the more likely it is to fail. And that is in the optimum case where walls garnered the steadfast support of the emperors and dictators who inspired them.
As Mr. Trump assumes office, the danger is that he will become a prisoner of his own feisty rhetoric: trapped into building a wall that will do little to stem migration flows, the proposed barrier along the Mexican frontier will inevitably become the rallying point for President Trump’s rainbow coalition of opponents.
In short, the Wall is a looming political disaster for the Trump presidency. The Wall will become a peace camp for open border activists where NGOs, outraged MSF doctors, and coughing unaccompanied Mexican minors wander amidst the burning tyres and slogan- festooned tarpaulins of the refugee camps that are sure to spring up with the connivance of the elites.
Into this sorry wasteland of hope and pity will flout Angelina Jolie and her attendant CNN helpers. We can expect a tearful Meryl Streep shocked into silence by the inhumanity of it all- even as she pouts for the cameras. Rosie O’ Donnell will be there, cooking tacos for the hungry and wearing a sweaty ‘I told you so t-shirt.’ Leftist students will build a giant papier-mâché version of the Statue of Liberty- evoking both Tiananmen and America’s long history of immigration. The destitute and hungry, moaning under their blankets as they stare longingly at the Wall, will mix Catholics and Muslims, united by common injustice- the perfect vision of neosocialist unity. They’ll even get a performance by Hamilton.
The Wall will become the Disneyworld of extremist ideologies, Woodstock morphed with Maydan, as Little Marco Rubio flies in to bellow: “Mr. Trump, tear down that wall.” Few will notice how the drug cartels manage much of the business in the Great Wall’s gloom, or how the Gringo liberal pilgrim traffic from the North contains everything from violent radicals to sexual predators.
And when the Wall finally falls, which is inevitable, it will represent the symbolic defeat of western civilization.
The Trump Wall should be built. America needs it. But America also needs something else: the seeds of national salvation to prosper. The People’s Will remains fragile and the calculation has to be that in the fetid shadow of the Wall, it will die amidst the squalor and the camp fires.
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