Border Wall Appeasement?

In 1938, Neville Chamberlain, then Prime Minister of Great Britain signed the Munich Pact with Hitler (and Italy’s Mussolini) basically ceding Czechoslovakia to Germany after Hitler had seized the country with his Nazi war machine. I write the above in response to a former clergy colleague’s genuine and compassionate, but ultimately naïve, FB post that it would be best to give Donald Trump his border wall in order to put federal workers back to work and end their suffering.

Chamberlain, thought that appeasing the madman would end suffering. In the case of The Appeasement of Hitler it only increased it. Chamberlain thought that letting Hitler have the Czechs would satisfy his appetite and give “Peace in our time.” We all know it didn’t work out that way. Once Czechoslovakia was annexed, Hitler used that country’s resources- like coal-to strengthen his own aggression. Emboldened by the Munich Pact, the Nazi’s invaded Poland and WWII was on. The rest, as they say, is history; the history of one of our species greatest tragedies and the end of life for so many innocents.

Trump is not Hitler and this is not 1938. Trump’s proposed Wall is not the Nazi Blitzkrieg. Our world is so much different from the one scarred by madmen like Adolf Hitler. In fact, because of his lunacy and genocide, we are a more sensitive, cautious, and stronger people. It is indeed very hard to fathom that the world could ever be at war as it was in 1939-1945.

It is not hard to fathom, however, that a head of state could lie, as did Hitler, to achieve his own political and megalomaniacal end. Trump lies all the time to push his agenda. He distorts and fabricates and simply makes things up. I’ve not studied Hitler’s political ascendency enough to know how he rose to supreme political power, but Trump, like Hitler, surprised the odds. Hitler succeeded because Germany was ready for a leader like him, a leader who could salve Germany’s post WWI wounds by blaming others for that country’ problems. He blamed Jews for Germany’s economic woes and preached the Gospel of Lebensraum (living space) as the way to cultivate the dominance of Aryans.

Trump has fabricated a national security crisis by telling the American people that we are under attack.  Using a play from Hitler’s playbook, he is blaming others for what ails our troubled nation. To listen to Trump, as I did when I watched his Oval Office address a few nights back, we are under seize by a Latino Mongrel Horde. I live on the US/Mexico border. I’m under no illusions that plenty of people are trying to cross the line to get a piece of American Pie, but the only thing I notice that is different between now and say, when Trump took office, is that there is now far more concertina wire along the border fence and  steel transport containers- the rectangular ones you usually see on ships and trains-now narrow the two ports of entries that I use to go in and out of Mexico. When I drive along the border, I don’t see thousands of people clawing at the steel pillars asking for asylum. There was a big drug bust here the other day, but we get those every once and a while. Mr. Trump, where is this crisis of yours?

It’s easier to blame others for one’s problems than to face oneself, assess the person in front of the mirror, and make some changes. German’s aggression in WWI led to its miserable economy and the suffering of its people, not the Jewish religion. We face a new era in the United States and we struggle to find our way. The post WWII industrial surge that pole vaulted our economy to world dominance no longer can fuel the consumerism that made us the envy of the world. Some people voted for Donald Trump believing that he could restore manufacturing to this country. It’s not happening. And it won’t because of simple economics. When you can get nearly the same job done cheaper somewhere else in the world, you will get the same job done cheaper somewhere else in the world because it’s profitable.

I used to be in church work. Christianity no longer influences our culture in the way that it once did. In the 1950’s people pushed Chevrolet’s off the assembly line Mon-Friday, went shopping and bowled on Saturday, and went to church on Sunday. People still go to church but not in the numbers they once did. Lots of people are unhappy about this. Donald Trump knows that. Guess what. That ain’t gonna get them back to church.

As with the important Judeo-Christian institutions that have lost market share to youth soccer and second jobs to pay health care costs, public education, the institution that  leveled the playing field in our country, is on the ropes. I’ve been a public school teacher nearly five years and I can say this about schools: We are very stressed about student learning or the lack thereof. We are uptight because standardized testing shows us that our students are not performing well relative to the rest of our state. The colleagues I have and the administrators who direct us care about our students but we can’t seem to figure out what it’s going to take to get students smarter. Public schools didn’t use to have the funding trouble that they do know. There was more diversity in curriculum. Teachers had more latitude in teaching. Charter schools use public monies but have more leeway in terms of enrollment, teacher training, and which students they can expel. The one institution (besides the military) that could help an immigrant or minority kid transcend class and poverty is on life-support.

This is the country that Donald Trump leads: Schools in trouble, jobs not-so-good, religion on-the-ropes. The President’s response? Build a big-ass wall between our country and one of our strongest trading partners. Is that the best you can do, Mr. President? Build a wall? How is a wall going to support the values that churches and mosques, temples and synagogues try to inculcate in their adherents?  A nearly six- billion dollar wall will employ a good chunk of folks for a bit of time, but will this investment in our infrastructure create more jobs? Maybe for some painters or rust specialists. How will such a construction project help teach our kids? I suppose it will teach them a few things: if you can’t deal with your problems, put up a barrier between you and your neighbor. Start calling them names and tell your friends how fouled up they are.  That will make you feel better about having a shitty job. The wall might even make you feel more secure and at peace with all things around you all the time-God knows religion is not doing that anymore.

Give Trump his fucking wall because that will put government workers back to work? Really? It’s like saying: Let’s give Hitler as much of Europe as he wants because he has some great ideas about how to clean up ghettos.