TRUMPTY DUMPTY SAT ON A WALL

StarMetro Toronto - - BIG OPINIONS - Heather Mal­lick

So Trump, like Humpty Dumpty, must have his wall, and his fall.

All credit to the pre­scient. On Box­ing Day, grim-look­ing Demo­cratic Rep. Danny Heck told CNN (I took notes on some Christ­mas wrap) that some­thing was ap­proach­ing.

“The only plan that I’ve ever ob­served from Pres­i­dent Trump, frankly, is that he pull out one of his four tried and true plays. He only has four. He doesn’t have three. He doesn’t have five. He doesn’t have any other num­ber. And his four plays are deny, at­tack, play the vic­tim, and change the sub­ject or dis­tract.”

With the crescendo of the Mueller in­ves­ti­ga­tion ap­proach­ing — and with Trump still achingly hu­mil­i­ated over los­ing con­trol of Congress — Heck says, “it has to be even more chaotic, more dra­matic, in or­der to change the sub­ject and di­vert at­ten­tion. And so I think there is great peril.”

How right he was. Trump bab­bled that mi­grants were storm­ing Amer­ica at the south­ern bor­der with young women with tape over their mouths be­ing hor­ri­bly mur­dered as vi­cious coy­otes and ruth­less gangs blithely walked into the U.S. with great whack­ing loads of meth, heroin, co­caine and fen­tanyl, while par­ents and traf­fick­ers use chil­dren as hu­man pawns. Some 4,000 ter­ror­ists (this was a lie) have been ar­rested, in un­be­liev­able ve­hi­cles stronger and big­ger and faster ve­hi­cles than the ones he com­mands …

Short­cut: he wants a wall and has shut down the fed­eral gov­ern­ment to ex­tract the cash. The hu­man cost has been dread­ful and even some Repub­li­cans be­came alarmed when “shut­down” and “air traf­fic con­trol” were used in the same sen­tence.

A wall is a child­ish thing. Chil­dren love to build them, the big­ger the bet­ter, but only for the sen­sa­tion of power as they send them crash­ing to the floor — ha ha ha stupid wall. Don­ald “Wally” Trump wants the wall to stay up but he is grad­u­ally slim­ming the thing down to a see-through wall to a fence to airy steel slats even less for­bid­ding than those hideous rusted Richard Serra walls that dot the fore­courts of cor­po­rate Amer­ica.

Drug smug­glers will tun­nel. A func­tional fence would have to ex­tend as far be­low ground as above, so dou­ble the cost right there.

Even­tu­ally Trump will be re­duced to a bad­minton net or Cal­i­for­nia Shut­ters or some heat-sens­ing wire con­trap­tion.

In my neigh­bour­hood, we are laugh­ing about the “Trump Wall” that some­one built af­ter a snit over a shared tree. It has a base of faux Wall­stone® with old-fash­ioned pine fenc­ing and lat­tice. My wall is tough­est of all, lat­tice in­ter­laced with climb­ing hy­drangea to block out sight and sound. We call it the Green Screen. It has blocked (so far) all fen­tanyl ship­ments to my gar­den and Trump would do well to con­sider it.

With Trump’s nu­clear chats with North Korea blow­ing in the wind and his tar­iffs a fail­ure, he wants a thing, an ac­tual ce­ment ob­ject, so that his pres­i­dency will have a legacy, even a stupid one.

The wall plan is part of what jour­nal­ist Alan Rus­bridger calls “the flight from com­plex­ity” that de­fines this era. Walls are sim­ple, right? No. Noth­ing is sim­ple. How has Trump not yet learned that?

The won­der­ful Bri­tish nov­el­ist John Lanch­ester — he be­gan writ­ing Cap­i­tal, a novel about the crash, in 2006, two years be­fore it hap­pened — has writ­ten a new work of spec­u­la­tive fic­tion called The Wall, out this month.

In Hong Kong as a child, he lived be­side a wall and found it com­fort­ing when peo­ple climbed over it to es­cape from China. He likes im­mi­gra­tion. “That means you are in a safe place” where peo­ple want to be.

Walls just add new com­pli­ca­tions to a tan­gled world. If Trump man­ages to raid funds set aside for cli­mate dis­as­ters — I doubt this some­how — then the wall will sym­bol­ize ma­lign fail­ure.

How silly to wall off 3,145 km. Is Canada next? Our bor­der with the U.S. is 8,891 km and we are not build­ing the world’s long­est snow fence. It’s much cheaper for Ot­tawa to spend $140 mil­lion plus $40 mil­lion in one-time costs to clear our 65,000-refugee back­log, ac­cord­ing to the Im­mi­gra­tion and Refugee Board. Don’t scrimp. It’s al­ready a bar­gain.

Let’s try it.

JIM WAT­SON/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump speaks af­ter he re­ceived a brief­ing on bor­der se­cu­rity next to Sen. John Cornyn, left, and Sen. Ted Cruz, sec­ond right.

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