A report released this week by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency revealed that in the two-and-a-half years since President Donald Trump came into office, 51 miles of border wall have been built — all of it erected to replace barriers already in place.
You may remember Trump's signature campaign promise was to build a big, beautiful wall that would run the length of the U.S.-Mexico border, and that Mexico would "pay for it." Not so much, it turns out. The border wall, like so many things the president talks about, exists only in his mind — and in the minds of those who take his words at face value. But the sad truth is, Trump has managed to build a wall. It's big, but it's not beautiful — and we're paying for it.
Trump has built a wall between those who think that separating refugee children from their families and putting them in cages along the border is an acceptable solution to our immigration problem and those who believe that policy is cruel, inhumane, and unworthy of who we are as Americans.
Trump has built a wall between those who believe in the science of climate change and those who believe our rapidly warming planet is just a natural occurrence and we can't do anything about it.
- Reuters | Lucy Nicholson
- U.S.-Mexico border fencing in Santa Teresa, New Mexico
Trump has built a wall between those who think Americans should celebrate our country's diversity and those who think people whose ancestors are from countries that aren't white should "go back where they came from" if they criticize the president.
Trump has built a wall between those who believe we should work with and respect our traditional democratic allies and those who believe, like Trump, that those alliances are worthless and that murderous dictators such as Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un should be fawned over and coddled and emulated.
Trump has built a wall between those who think cheating on your wife with porn stars and other women and paying them to keep quiet about it doesn't conflict with Christian "family values" and those who think such behavior is despicable.
Trump has built a wall between those who believe the Mueller Report's findings that Russia interfered with the 2016 election and that the president obstructed justice 10 times and those who think the report simply said "no collusion." That wall also divides those who think our intelligence agencies serve to protect America and those who think those agencies are part of a "deep state" conspiracy to bring down a president who is innocent of any nefarious activity.
Trump has built a wall between those who think the U.S. Department of Justice should be an independent agency serving the American people and those who think it should exist only to protect the interests of the president.
Trump has even managed to build a wall within the Republican Party — between those who think the president doesn't reflect the party's values and those who think he is the party. (He's also built a wall between Lindsey Graham circa 2016 and Lindsey Graham today, but I digress.)
Trump has built a wall between those who think Fox News is a purveyor of misinformation and a blatant propaganda outlet for the president and those who believe the network is "fair and balanced."
Trump has built a wall between longtime friends, between brothers and sisters, between parents and their children and grandchildren, between blacks and whites and browns, between gay and straight, between women and men — a wall of anger, distrust, and wounds that won't easily heal.
Trump has built a wall between his lies and the truth, between those who believe him and those who don't.
Some day, historians will write about all this — the time when America was riven in two by a man who came into the presidency sowing anger and resentment and divisiveness, who disparaged and ridiculed former presidents, war heroes, political opponents, members of Congress, the disabled — a man who told lie after lie, day after day, tweet after tweet, and built a cult-like "base" of followers who bought into every damn word.
Yes, someday, God willing, this will all be in American history books. And your descendants may rightly wonder as they read this odd and terrifying chapter: Which side of the wall were you on?