“Build the wall!” chanted mob after mob as Trump spread xenophobia across the nation during his campaign for the presidency.
The promise? A “beautiful wall,” that was going to be 1,000 miles long, and which Mexico was going to fund.
The reality? Trump left office after building only 45 miles of new wall. He also left behind a dismal scene of empty ditches, scattered debris, idle machinery, and construction contracts in limbo. Not a dime was paid for by Mexico.
Trump sold himself as the consummate deal maker and builder; however, he could not persuade Congress to fully fund this ridiculous structure. Trump’s reaction was to raid the budgets of other federal agencies, including the Pentagon.
Trump became obsessed with the wall. It was to be a monument to himself. Even after the November election, Trump focused on the wall. As thousands continued to die after the election of 2020, and as Trump basically abandoned the country, he pushed to build another four miles of wall. As he left office, he told his worshipers that he had kept his promise to build 450 miles of wall. The truth is that 405 miles of the wall were already built when Trump took office.
Unfortunately for Trump, the wall is indeed a symbol of his presidency. It is an ugly scar on the face our land. A visible monument to Trump’s legacy of hatred that has scarred the soul of our republic.
One would hope that the present administration will apply the funds appropriated for building the wall to repairing the damage left from the trenching and blasting that has destroyed so much property. One would hope that the existing construction contracts for the border wall can be re-negotiated so that the contractors can begin the infrastructure program that Trump repeatedly promised but never delivered.
In the meantime, it will pay the Biden administration to focus on helping the nation to heal. This means being inclusive. It means staying away from extremes, while appealing to common sense and moderation. This does not mean abandoning his base. Healing can be done while improving the lot of all Americans of all races. Just as Trump worship has divided the Republican party, so has the so-called “woke” movement divided the Democrats.
Former president George W. Bush observed this week that exclusion can destroy a political party. He is a proud Republican who opposes Trump. Bush understand that demanding loyalty to one person is to exclude everyone who disagrees with that person. Trump’s grip on the GOP was never more apparent that the boos and heckling that Sen. Mitt Romney received during his speech at the Utah GOP convention last weekend. It remains to be seen whether or not exclusivity is going to cost the Republicans in the mid-term elections.
The present administration is in a position to vastly improve the lot of the average American, and to counter the suppression of people of color. It is in a position to appeal to a vast number of moderates and independents. It’s going to take a great deal of selling to get the job done. History is going to judge whether or not Biden is up to the task.