Ichabod's Kin
A place for politics, pop culture, and social issues

WALL TO NOWHERE

          Something there is,” said Robert Frost, “that doesn’t love a wall.”

          I’m with him, whether they keep others out or in. I won’t live in a gated community, and I hated the Berlin Wall. I’m okay with the low, decorative masonry that borders the state park across my street, but it neither hems in nor excludes.

          Keep in mind that Berlin’s no longer exists. So the most notorious of the contemporary sort is planned for our southern border. People who love the idea are quick to point out that Berlin’s partition kept people in, whilst ours shuts out undesirables. Yes, our neighbors, actually, and what do we have against them? First we took half their country—or, as Texans like to say, “we stole it, fair ‘n square.” The Bracero program, begun while our men were fighting World War II, begged Mexicans by the thousands to work here, many of whom were mistreated, put in woefully substandard temp-housing and whose pay was often held up, or withheld, to boot. We were lousy and ungrateful employers.

          We were at it again last century and this one, as in Arizona, when greedy farmers and companies hired undocumented laborers to put roofs on home developments because local buckos refused to do so under the hot sun. Worse, medical help was withheld and they were fired without pay if they fell off said roofs and suffered injury. When the workers complained, employers threatened to report them to Immigration. Catch-22 all over again. And don’t say that didn’t happen: I spoke directly with many of those bung-hole bosses.

          Now along comes Donald Trump with his misogynistic message; migration had already slowed but we weren’t through doing our worst to them, hence a Wall now to reduce any influx to zero; ICE to enter, arrest and separate folk of innocent families; and big birds to take them back to where they came from. God love us for our hearts of gold.

          If we look for a difference twixt our Wall and Berlin’s, it’s that when East Germany started it, it was a pathetic sight: bits of barbed wire here and there, hedges when the wire ran out, and so forth. The Reds began it as a provocation, and fully expected us to raze it in its early stages. By then, however, the West felt enough easterners had flooded the city and decided to let the wall stay—and give the Commies a big, fat black eye at the same time. The rest was history; we already had all the scientists and other skilled migrants and the East was left with all the poor souls who had nuttin’. To save face the Reds had to keep building it. For us, it was a political coup and one we milked for decades till it came down in the ‘80s.

          Now we’re the suckers. But how we love to hear Donald talk about it—his “big, beautiful Wall” that in truth is the ultimate ugly duckling, no architectural marvel like the Great Wall of China: that one, built over centuries (the earliest spans of which are gone and the Ming phase the one we ooh-and-aah over) was indeed to keep enemies out; but Mexico is not our enemy though Trump Nation is dumb enough to believe it. After all, as one wag said, it’s a cult and he’s the cult leader.

          China’s great wall wasn’t a continuous span of solid material but interspersed with natural barriers, and used as well as checkpoints for Customs, hence a money-maker. We, not Mexico, will pay for ours though Donald with some sleight of hand will try to make it appear otherwise.

          Here’s the clincher: that little price tag of $12B is now estimated by Homeland Security at twice that and has this in common with Reagan’s proposed Strategic Defense Initiative, or “Star Wars”—Ronnie’s would still be under construction and long ago have wrecked our economy. Our wall’s projected dollars should be going for infrastructure, education and the like but instead will be a future monument otherwise known as Trump’s Folly.

          So the old Commie Wall in Berlin-town is gone and we get one on our southern boundary—and the black eye that goes with it.  Welcome to #MakingAmericaGreatAgain.

          Something there is that doesn’t love a wall. This one or any other. It’ll be a Wall to Nowhere and something to hate, now and forever.

          

 

 

 

 

As I See It

by John Burciaga

 

                                 THE WALL TO NOWHERE

 

          “Something there is,” said Robert Frost, “that doesn’t love a wall.”

          I’m with him, whether they keep others out or in. I won’t even live in a gated community, and I hated the Berlin Wall. I’m okay with the low, decorative masonry that borders a side of Maudslay Park, but it neither hems in nor excludes.

          Keep in mind that Berlin’s no longer exists. So the most notorious of the contemporary sort is planned for our southern border. People who love the idea are quick to point out that Berlin’s partition kept people in, whilst ours shuts out undesirables. Yes, our neighbors, actually, and what do we have against them? First we took half their country—or, as Texans like to say, “we stole it, fair ‘n square.” The Bracero program, begin while our men were fighting World War II, begged Mexicans by the thousands to work here, many of whom were mistreated, put in woefully substandard temp-housing and whose pay was often held up, or withheld, to boot. We were lousy and ungrateful employers.

          We were at it again early this very century, as in Arizona, when greedy farmers and companies hired undocumented laborers to put roofs on home developments because local buckos refused to do so under the hot sun. Worse, medical help was withheld and they were fired without pay if they fell off said roofs and suffered injury. When the workers complained, employers threatened to report them to Immigration. Catch-22 all over again. And don’t say that didn’t happen: I spoke directly with many of those bung-hole bosses.

          Now along comes Donald Trump with his misogynistic message; migration had already slowed but we weren’t through doing our worst to them, hence a Wall now to reduce any influx to zero; ICE to enter, arrest and separate folk of innocent families; and big birds to take them back to where they came from. God love us for our hearts of gold.

          If we look for a difference twixt our Wall and Berlin’s, it’s that when East Germany started it, it was a pathetic sight: bits of barbed wire here and there, hedges when the wire ran out, and so forth. The Reds began it as a provocation, and fully expected us to raze it in its early stages. By then, however, the West felt enough easterners had flooded the city and decided to let the wall stay—and give the Commies a big, fat black eye at the same time. The rest was history; we had all the scientists and other skilled migrants and the East was left with all the poor souls who had nuttin’. To save face the Reds had to keep building it. For us, it was a political coup and one we milked for decades till the Wall came down in the ‘80s.

          Now we’re the suckers. But how we love to hear Donald talk about it—his “big, beautiful Wall” that in truth is the ultimate ugly duckling, no architectural marvel like the Great Wall of China: that one, built over centuries (the earliest spans of which are gone and the Ming phase the one we ooh-and -aah over) was indeed to keep enemies out; but Mexico is not our enemy though Trump Nation is dumb enough to believe it. After all, as Andrew Sullivan has remarked, it’s a cult and he’s the cult leader.

          China’s great wall wasn’t a continuous span of solid material but interspersed with natural barriers, and used as well as checkpoints for Customs, hence a money-maker. We, not Mexico, will pay for ours though Donald with some sleight of hand will try to make it appear otherwise.

          Here’s the clincher: that little price tag of $12B is now estimated by Homeland Security at twice that and has this in common with Reagan’s proposed Strategic Defense Initiative, or “Star Wars”—Ronnie’s would still be under construction and long ago have wrecked our economy. Our wall’s projected dollars should be going for infrastructure, education and the like but instead will be a future monument otherwise known as Trump’s Folly.

          So the old Commie Wall in Berlin-town is gone and we get one on our southern boundary—and the black eye that goes with it.  Welcome to #MakingAmericaGreatAgain.

          Something there is that doesn’t love a wall. This one or any other. It’ll be a Wall to Nowhere and something to hate, now and forever.

            (John Burciaga of Newburyport writes on politics and social issues. He blogs at Ichabod’s Kin on WordPress and may be reached directly at Ichabod142@gmail.com)

 

 

 

 

2 Responses to “WALL TO NOWHERE”

  1. Amen to your well-written and well-researched piece. Trump still needs those awful Mexicans to be his scapegoats and really, if not the Mexicans, who could be blamed for our outrageously enormous budget deficit…the Norwegians? Let us indeed put another few billion into walls and let us get it from the poor of America, who , we all know, are almost as dangerous as the neighbors to our south!

  2. We have got to stop that Trump wall! I have actually seen the use of Vulnerable labor here in Trump town. A few years ago our town was hit by hail. Hundreds of roofs were destroyed. Fly-by-night companies invaded town. I saw many crews of Hispanics working in blazing heat, some were mere boys, or so they looked. They must have been working on roof units, or how many roofs they could nail down in a day, for they worked at warp speed. We hired a local roofer. Congratulations John, on a well written, important piece.


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