Donald Trump, the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party for President of the United States, has become famous – or, should we say infamous – for saying he would build a wall on the border between Mexico and the United States.
In a recent interview with Jake Tapper of CNN trying to defend his indefensible comments regarding Gonzalo Curiel, a native-born American of Mexican heritage, who is the federal judge overseeing the lawsuit against Trump University, Trump repeatedly proclaimed, “I am building a wall.”
That comment struck us as odd in that Trump is not building a wall. He is talking about building a wall. Moreover, if a wall was ever to be built, Trump himself would not build it.
Then, the more we thought about it, we came to understand that for once Mr. Trump is being accurate in his pronouncements. He is indeed building a wall.
That wall is one of bigotry, hatred and divisiveness between the American people and America and much of the rest of the world. This is no small feat. But, it is a mean feat and a demeaning one for our nation and its citizens.
If past is prologue in this presidential election year, and we see no reason given Trump’s personality and psychological profile that it will not be, he will continue to build that wall to make it higher, thicker and uglier.
At his rallies, after he announces to loud cheers that he will build the wall between Mexico and the United States, he asks the crowds of thousands, “Who will pay for it?” They, dutifully and joyfully yell back, “Mexico will.”
Mexico won’t. And, the wall that Trump envisions will never be built.
The wall of bigotry, hatred and divisiveness that we are describing here, however, is well under construction. And, who will pay for it?
We, the American people – in fact, we already have begun to in terms of attitudes, feelings and actions toward others of different persuasions and our image and good will around the world.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that the wall is not completed yet.
What needs to be done? For that advice, let us channel President Ronald Reagan.
Here’s what we believe Reagan would say. “Mr. Trump tear down that wall.”
We think he would continue to tell Trump, “We need to keep America great by continuing to build bridges and uniting citizens in a common cause to create a more perfect union. We need to emphasize the positive, eliminate the negative and don’t mess with Mr. In-between.”
Seriously, we don’t know exactly what Reagan would say, if he were alive today, to try to curtail Trump’s wall-building. We do know, however, that no matter what the Gipper would advise, Trump would not listen to him.
That’s because Trump only listens to Trump. That’s the wall he has already built that separates him from others and causes him to vilify and denigrate anyone who would dare to disagree with him. It is upon that personal wall that he is trying to build this new wall and to create Fortress America.
America did not become the great nation it is because of walls. At the base of The Statue of Liberty, it does not say:
Don’t send me your tired, your poor
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed over seas,
I have closed and bolted shut America’s door!
If candidate Trump were to prevail, it might – and probably would.
Donald Trump has said, “I am building a wall.” And, this great nation, its citizens and the American dream are paying the price.
So far, fortunately, we have only made a down payment. If we continue to make payments for too long, however, we will pay the ultimate price in terms of the greatness of this fragile crucible that we call the United States of America.
We do not expect that to occur. If it does, it will be up to all of us as concerned citizens to come together in the spirit of compromise to renew America and to tear down that wall. It will be the time and there will be a real need to Make America Great Again!
In the interests of full and open disclosure, Frank Islam is on the National Finance Committee of Hillary Clinton for President.