Op-Ed, Opinion

Trump’s reopening of government reminds us that the wall he wants already exists

After shutting down the federal government for 35 days, President Trump finally conceded and listened to the American public by signing a bill that will temporarily reopen the government for three weeks as Congress continues to negotiate his demands for funding a wall at the nation’s southwestern border.

Trump additionally threatened to declare a national emergency if Congress doesn’t approve funding for the wall by Feb. 15. In light of those who saw his concession as a defeat, Trump made sure to let them know Friday night on his Twitter account that him reopening the government is in “no way a concession” and, it was him “taking care of millions of people who were getting badly hurt by the shutdown.” It’s only right that Trump would be unsettled following this deal: many people are not happy with him right now.

The deal will bring relief to the thousands of workers who missed their second paychecks Friday, including those FBI agents who arrested former Trump associate Roger Stone this past week.

Republicans are not happy with their champion either.

Republican Congressman Will Hurd, a known critic of the wall, criticized Trump for “negotiating on the backs of hundreds of thousands of federal employees.” Marco Rubio has called the wall “a terrible idea.”

Perhaps the most surprising criticism came from Ann Coulter, a conservative pundit and avid Trump supporter. The same Coulter who penned a book called “In Trump We Trust” called herself “a very stupid girl” as she expressed her disdain for Trump’s latest controversy on Bill Maher’s talk show “The Real Time.” She lashed out at his proposed border wall and chastised him for breaking campaign promises.

No one is happy about the government shutdown: not federal employees, not supporters of either political party, not even Trump’s most loyal crusaders一 no one.

Trump’s casual reopening of the federal government like a pop-up shop for a bill that Democrats proposed weeks earlier shows his incompetence. Surely the negotiations that transpired in the last month could have happened without shutting down the government for a fabled $5.7 billion wall.

The border wall, since its inception into Trump’s campaign, has always presented itself as more of a symbol of American sovereignty and xenophobia rather than a sensible approach to border security. What Trump doesn’t realize is that he doesn’t need to concoct a wall spanning roughly 2000 miles of the US-Mexico border to advance his fear-mongering ideals. He doesn’t need to have a temper tantrum in Congress or hold the government hostage. The wall already exists. His rhetoric, policies and supporters do the work for him.

Trump’s rhetoric, most notably his campaign slogan of “Make America Great Again,” has drawn the support of white nationalists and those bearing extreme right-wing views. It is unclear whether Trump considers himself a white nationalist (he has called himself a nationalist before), but they certainly hear him.

When Trump won the presidential election, they celebrated with a Nazi salute. In a Vice documentary about the violent Charlottesville riots, Christopher Cantwell, a white nationalist and one of the speakers at the violent rally, mentioned Trump as “a capable person” that could “spread his ideas.” The main organizers of that rally are public neo-Nazis that support Trump’s platform. Trump has failed several times to publicly condemn the acts of white nationalism; he condemned “all types of racism” in response to the Charlottesville riots.

The president also passed policies that pander to the views of those on the far-right and has shamed the U.S. in the global political arena. His 2017 executive order barred people from seven countries from entering the country. Of those seven countries, five of them had a majority Muslim population. Last year, Trump expressed that he was preparing an executive order that would get rid of birthright citizenship, which removes the right to citizenship to those born to non-citizens and unlawful immigrants.

In February 2017, Trump rolled back regulations that made it difficult for those with mental health issues to purchase firearms. In his time as president, he has also withdrawn the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord Agreement, proposed to end DACA and announced that he would be ending the catch and release policy, which allowed immigrants who entered the United States illegally to leave detention while awaiting status hearings.

The movement of bodies has always been highly politicized in this country. It first started when Europeans, specifically the Spanish, came to explore the new world. In 1619, Africans began being imported as slaves. Since then, America has seen several waves of immigration, both internal and external, that has garnered both positive and hostile attitudes.

Migration is inevitable. Movement is in our blood; humans are meant to move. With rising humanitarian issues all across the world that we cannot ignore, our country will surely see more people fleeing violence and asking for asylum at our doorstep.

Thinking of borders as a wall— concrete, immovable, unwavering— is where the problem lies. Not every person wanting to cross the border has the same story, and we have to take that into consideration. If Trump really wants to protect our border, not his pride or self-serving ideals, then he needs to get real. The movement of people can’t be solved with a wall— just ask anyone in Game of Thrones. Modern situations do not call for medieval solutions.

Kay-Ann Henry is a sophomore majoring in journalism.

January 28, 2019

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Kay-Ann Henry


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