My power went out again.
My family lives on an ancient electrical grid in Los Angeles, so every now and then, our lights go out. It happens during heat waves, heavy rain, or if a person sneezes too loudly in the transformer’s general direction.
One would think America would invest a little more in our crumbling infrastructure. After all, a recent report found that the network that underpins our modern way of life “gets a D+ grade,” and that the country “needs to spend some $4.5 trillion by 2025 to fix the country’s roads, bridges, dams, and other infrastructure.”
You see, we don’t have a dime to spare, America, because we’ve got a motherfucking wall to build.
Yes, recently, our xenophobe-in-chief got the U.S. Supreme Court to go along with his fake emergency, and now at least $2.5 billion is being pulled from military programs and launched at the most pointless, ineffectual, counterproductive major project in U.S. history.
Now, the money — which again, could be going to non-racist endeavors that actually help the country — will fund construction for about 100 miles of barrier.
Keep in mind that Trump’s promise was for a “big, beautiful wall” that Mexico would pay for. Needless to say, 100 miles of barricades that American taxpayers will cover is very different from 2,000 miles of wall that a foreign nation will fund.
Apparently, even Trump’s fans — who never met a goalpost they wouldn’t happily move — are lukewarm about this victory for bigotry. Oh, they’re pleased that the president can officially claim success, and if the new barrier keeps out even one undocumented woman and her traumatized child, they’re thrilled.
But yes, they want more. And this is one reason that “the president has not been boasting about the transfer authority he maintains, suggesting he’s still unsatisfied.”
Apparently, boasting is the only way that Trump can signal satisfaction. So now, “many Republicans are trying to redirect the president to other immigration fights, even if they are just as unwinnable as one over the wall.”
That’s correct. The leaders of a major political party are trying to appease a cantankerous old man by diverting him into a different, less obnoxious fight, even if it is “unwinnable.” This is similar to the strategy that one employs when attempting to distract an agitated toddler.
In any case, “GOP leaders hope they’ve secured enough releases to keep Trump from picking a border wall fight that ends in another shutdown.”
However, I can tell you that Trump and his allies will continue to obsess about the wall, and it will get ugly.
And the reason is clear: It will never be enough for them.
For people who live in perpetual fear — like Trump and his hardcore supporters — an enormous wall to keep out all the Latinos is just the beginning, not the end.
Their terror over dark-skinned people, and the changing demographics of the nation, is impervious to logic. Their anxiety is impossible to assuage, and cannot be soothed or vanquished. Their fear is a constant motivator and lifelong companion. It will never go away.
So let’s say that Trump builds his wall — all 2,000 miles of it. What happens then?
Will his supporters stroll about their suburbs and small towns, content that the invading horde is being held back?
Or will they get uneasy when they see a Hispanic family move in next door? Will they become flustered when they hear Spanish at the supermarket? Will they have heart palpitations when their daughter starts dating some swarthy kid named Gonzalez?
Even if the wall were built, Trump supporters will imagine migrants finding a way over, under, or around it. They will visualize Mexicans and Salvadorans and lord knows what else tunneling and leap-frogging their way into the country.
At that point, will they advocate for machine guns on top of the wall? How about land mines at strategic locations?
Yes and also yes. But it will still be insufficient.
So will they demand funding for klieg lights that keep night from ever descending on the border? Maybe an enormous moat filled with crocodiles? Lasers that zap any organic life?
It will never end. Because at no point will they feel safe. Never.
It will never be enough for people who live in perpetual fear, and who despise people who are not like them.
The solution to such unbridled terror and hatred is clear.
Let’s just make a big playground out of the border. It’s a much better use of our money.
Featured image: Mexico–United States barrier at the border of Tijuana, Mexico and San Diego, USA. The crosses represent migrants who died in the crossing attempt. Some identified, some not. Surveillance tower in the background. (© Tomas Castelazo, www.tomascastelazo.com/Wikimedia Commons/