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For Every 20-Foot Wall, There’s a 21-Foot Ladder

Chip Franklin



Trump’s insistence on building a wall, a beautiful wall, is really not about a wall. It’s about the “idea” of building a wall.

Trump says he knows how to build things, like his Trump towers, so a wall would be easy. (Although I’m not sure how the two compare, unless he built a 2200 mile-high Trump tower in San Diego and then pushed it over.) Trump is learning, however, that building a wall is anything but easy.

Still, it’s the idea of the wall that appeals to his base. Americans who feel the country’s shifting demographics can be halted, or even returned to the glory days of the 1950s (insert sarcasm here) by a big, beautiful wall need to look around. It’s already done. America has changed. And that’s all good. With apologies to Native Americans, we are all immigrants.

And having Mexico pay for it all, well, that’s my favorite part. Would it be in dollars, pesos, bitcoins? Doesn’t matter, ‘cause they’re not paying. Maybe you could borrow more from the Russians?

But even the most “deplorable” understand that for every 20-foot wall there’s a 21-foot ladder. The wall is doomed to fail. Trump’s rallying cry, “build that wall,” resonated during a campaign that will go down as one of the worst — that is, until the next one. And like most promises, the wall is empty, rhetorical bait to an America that suffers from a desperate lack of nuance and irony.

Building a “beautiful wall” (why is everything “beautiful with this guy? Is he trying to seduce me with it?) won’t solve America’s trade balance, reduce crime, or make us more secure. And intuitively, we all know that. Maybe it’s Freudian; it would be “long and strong.” Trump is the schoolyard bully who can hear the clock ticking as the world around him begins to see through his hollow rhetoric.

The answer to the unrest in Mexico is not a wall. We learned that in Germany after the First World War. Helping Mexico grow into a strong neighbor and ally is the only answer that works, and it will take a real leader to see it to fruition. Stop talking about a wall that will never be built, and instead, let’s build a better world.

Franklin is a 25 year veteran of talk radio, beginning his career in Washington DC during Clinton’s first term. He currently hosts the afternoon show at KGO radio, San Francisco. Chip is also an award-winning filmmaker, comedian, and scribe, garnering seven Edward R Murrow awards, including the National Murrow award for writing. He’s also won The New York Festival honors for his unconventional coverage of The Democratic and Republican conventions, as well as more than 30 AP awards for broadcasting. Chip has made numerous appearances on ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, and CNN.

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