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August 31, 2015


I think it was the great poet Robert Frost who observed that “Good fences make good neighbors,” so I will expand on his poetic license with a bit of indirect plagiarism by noting that good walls make good neighbors, too (or as some say).

Trump tells us that he will build a tall wall along our entire Mexican border and “make the Mexicans pay for it.” He neglected to tell us who was going to build the wall (probably one of Cheney’s old war-profiteering companies that did so well during and after the war with Iraq), how it was to be policed (probably by the war-profiteering private army of Blackwater that also did so well during and after the war with Iraq) that congress people sent to investigate Blackwater were guarded while investigation there by – you guessed it – Blackwater personnel), nor did he confide in likely voters how he would enforce payment for such wall from Mexico (presumably by invasion and occupation of that country by Blackwater and border states’ national guards which he will have activated by presidential order).

An added bonus to such successful invasion (as our neocons have shown in Iraq with our disastrous suppression of the Sunnis and other such thinly veiled acts of 19th century colonialists) would be that we could at least temporarily clean out their drug gangs, but only with the understanding that the additional jails necessary to house members of such gangs would be built and maintained by one of Cheney’s companies and guarded by Blackwater personnel. After all, what’s a war without profiteering? Everyone knows there is no other legitimate business rationale for wars, whatever the star-spangled stories politicians have to make up to cover their collective political posteriors. We could enforce payment for building and guarding the wall, prison building in Mexico and Blackwater’s provision of prison guards and other personnel for their newly-built prisons by taking over Mexico’s export oil industry to insure payment to our privatizing and “free market” corporations (along with their sub-contractors) all in the name of “making America great again.”

Is the foregoing a ridiculous exercise in fantasy? I thought so, too, but that was before I heard on television this morning that Scott Walker in an apparent attempt to out-fantasize Trump has suggested that we also build a wall along the entire Canadian border! Good walls make good neighbors, Scott? Just what would be the purpose of building such a wall, sir, to keep all those Canadian drug dealers and their armies of the unemployed from taking over the minds and bodies of our youth and our workers’ paychecks? Where do these Republican candidates come up with such hare-brained ideas with their manufacture of non-existent issues? On the other hand, should one of these gung ho free market Republican/libertarian dreamers be elected, perhaps Canada would rightly agree to building such a wall, but to  protect themselves from a country run by John Wayne libertarian bullies, not vice versa.

To run this Republican/libertarian fantasy to its dry logical end, there are states, counties and municipalities in this country who don’t like one another for one reason or another. Shall we build walls around such borders to protect ourselves from unwanted encroachment? Why not? That would be consistent with the Republican idea of protection and exclusion from the riffraff and rabble. We are already seeing this in the real world with gated communities and other forms of de facto exclusion of minorities and the poor from their midst of the rich via economic means.

Thus single mothers who dropped out of school and  work second shift at the 7-11 are not likely to show up for tennis games at the club for a lot of reasons, one’s being that she can’t enter the gate. She and the rest of her poor and marginalized minimum wage workers apparently do not make “good neighbors” fit to participate in the games and lives of others who are enjoying what America has to offer beyond underpaid drudgery as servants to the upper classes. Our caste system, though its existence is denied, is alive and intact and one’s place on such social ladder is defined by accident of birth and/or accumulation of assets. We have erroneously assumed that size of bank accounts and merit are congruent. They are unrelated (see Trump vs. Gandhi, Thoreau, Mother Teresa et al.).

I am led to believe that Republican candidates such as Trump and Walker and others are not only attempting to cash in on hatred and loathing among a certain sector of the voting public in exchange for votes but are coming up with such outlandish solutions to supposed wrongdoing in order to divert our attention from the real issues of the day (about which they offer no solutions) such as the global economy, wage and wealth inequality in this country, pressing environmental concerns, wildfires, energy reform, monopoly pricing in certain industries (especially with pharmaceutical corporations with their patent atrocities), out-of-control bankers backed by bailout potential at our risk) and the lopsided inequalities not only in wages and wealth but in the tax and bankruptcy codes which have been written by Wall Street lawyers and passed by their congressional vassals to privatize gains and socialize losses in a heads-I-win and tails-you-lose system they have the gall to tell us represents “free market” economics.

Opinions honestly arrived at given the above scenario may differ, of course, and I recognize that other such opinions may be based on varying conclusions from the same or similar evidence. What’s yours? It’s time not only to have an opinion but to let it be known lest our country resume its nation-building and retreat to Gilded Age economics and politics in the name of Trump”s catch phrase of “making America great again,” whatever that means. It means nothing to me other than a catchall phrase designed to avoid discussion of the real and important issues of the day. Trump has a big mouth on the stump, but he has said nothing of substance about America’s real future, instead contenting himself with taunts and insults, mostly related to race and gender. We deserve better, much better.  GERALD    E

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