During the election of 2016, and early into his term, Donald Trump boasted of building a wall that would stop people from (illegally) coming into the U.S. from Mexico, and he promised that Mexico would pay for it. Forward to 2020, and while we see that wall yet to be built (in all fairness, some construction has been done), nor paid for by Mexico. Donald Trump has built a second wall, a far more insidious wall, the likes that may change the future of America. Not to worry about the cost though, he’s paid for it with the generous donations of hate and fear from those believing his message, and he’s paying for its upkeep with America’s future. He’s designed a wall not to keep us separated from others, but rather, to keep us separated from ourselves.
This second wall isn’t tangible. You can’t see or feel it. You can’t climb over, or tunnel under, but it works just as effectively in keeping people out. It spreads north to south, coast to coast, leaving no corner of our nation untouched. Constructed not of steel and brick, but of rhetoric, and duplicity. Strengthened with the rebar of empty promises of safety and security for the privileged, and cemented with the demands of gratitude and servitude from the rest. Woven with conspiracies, and deceit, tightened and fastened, creating a strong bond in which to manipulate. Donald Trump and his cadre have done a yeoman’s job building it. It’s a wall that will stand as the cornerstone of his legacy.
What will his legacy mean for America? Will this wall forever change who and what we are as a nation? Will it become a shield for those wanting to divide us as a people, as a society? Will it justify abandoning empathy and understanding? Will it comfort us when there’s no one to reach out to in time of need? Will it show us the way in our darkest hours?
Will his legacy result in the end of American democracy (as we know it)? Democracy is a messy, intense, and at times, seemingly unfair process. To make it work, it takes all sides, listening to all voices, willing to work together. When it works, history has shown American democracy to be the envy of the world, It’s what Nations are founded on.
As Abraham Lincoln said, “A house divided will not stand.”