Donald Trump’s wall is sure to become a geo-political trivia question, which will likely be phrased, “What humongous ego that can be seen from space ordered the construction of a useless 3,000-mile wall to keep out an imaginary army of illegal raping voters?”
Back in the days when I was occupied with an actual paying profession, working with my friend Robert was always a treat. We could be in the middle of an intense project when out of nowhere Robert would ask, “Can you name every country and body of water that borders Iran?”
Dutifully, and without giving it another thought, I’d rattle off the easy ones first, maybe struggle to recall Azerbaijan as part of my final answer only to have Robert say, “Ah hah! You forgot that little sliver of Armenia, didn’t you?” Then he’d body-of-water shame me for remembering the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman but totally forgetting the rather immense stretch of the Caspian Sea.
The randomness of Robert’s quizzes precluded any opportunity for me to brush up, say, on the land masses found within the Banda Sea (everyone forgets Pulau Wetar) on the infinitesimal chance it would become his geography question of the day. But Robert also enjoyed nailing me with the easy ones, like the time he asked me to name a singular man-made object that can be seen from space (SPOILER ALERT). I had to stop working for about three hours while I mentally scanned the geography of half the planet’s landmasses before arriving at the Great Wall of China as my final and correct answer.
Well, actually Robert and I both turned out to be wrong. You can’t really see the Great Wall from space.
Which brings us to Comrade Trumpsky’s own yuge Wall of Jyna, sure to become a future geo-political trivia question which will likely be phrased, “What humongous ego that can be seen from space ordered the construction of a useless 3,000-mile wall to keep out an imaginary army of murderers and rapists?”
Now if I were a Democratic congress-critter arguing against the edifice, I would be lining up a few thousand Mongol warriors as experts on the subject of breaching long walls in the middle of nowhere. Actually, the Mongols were ingenious. In the middle of the night, they’d send out one solitary guy with a ladder, and by daybreak, 30,000 Mongols would be on the other side of the wall.
Mexicans who are not up on Chinese history may remember stories of “Old Fuss and Feathers,” General Winfield Scott, scaling the “impenetrable” walls of Chapultepec with makeshift ladders on his way to conquering all of Mexico while dispatching the evil villain of the Alamo slaughter, Santa Anna, into exile on Staten Island, where he eventually became the tsar of chewing gum exports back to Mexico.
Isn’t history fascinating?
But I digress. I’m merely suggesting that our fearless leader needs to brush up on his geography and history — and maybe brush up on what labor actually costs when it’s impolitic to rehire the unskilled and illegal immigrant Polish workers who built your tower in Manhattan to construct a wall along the Mexican border on the tax-payers’ dime. Plus, the Army Corps of Engineers does have standards. Moreover, a Washington Post estimate placed Trump’s $5 billion then $6 billion then $8 billion then up-to-$12 billion wall somewhere closer to $25 billion, and a billion per year thereafter in basic maintenance costs. So figure $50 billion — or on a scale we can all relate on, imagine paying your kid’s full four-year college education 3.6 million times.
Worse still, it came to my attention this week that some 75 miles of the land on both sides of the border between Arizona and Mexico are the property of the Tohono O’odham Nation and they’re apparently not keen on the United States government constructing a wall in the middle of their private property.
On this issue I decided to consult my neighbor across the street who is a direct descendant of George Armstrong Custer and a financial guy and I naturally consider an expert on Native American affairs. John’s suggestion was to divert the wall so that it runs between Arizona and Nevada and take Arizona as a tax loss … or think twice before leaving your Gatling gun back at the fort.
But really, considering we’ve experienced a virtual-zero influx of undocumented foreign nationals across our southern border since 2011 and another 1 million who were already here have left since that date, who is our Mr. Trump keeping out? Certainly not the 40 percent of undocumented immigrants who arrive here by plane unless he’s planning to raise the height of the wall to a safe 75,000 feet to keep out everyone other than U-2 pilots. And how much is it going to cost to sufficiently man a wall that is almost exclusively running through remote areas? We may need to borrow a half-billion Chinese to keep an eye out for a Mexican with a ladder … and wouldn’t that be unAmerican?
Wally Hayman lives in Gladwyne, Pennsylvania.