The campaign message most identified with President Trump was his promise to build a giant, protective wall. He pledged to get Mexico to pay for it. Over the months of his Presidency, he shifted to the notion that Mexico would not pay directly, but would pay via tariffs levied on their goods… tariffs which were quickly placed using the guise of “national security” to avoid involving Congress.
Construction has since been completed on miles of new wall, replacing the old fences and walls which existed. His detractors point to the fact that construction has not been completed in any new locations as evidence that he did not, in fact, build his wall. They are wrong.
Trump did build his wall, it simply is not the wall people were watching for.
The wall Trump has constructed is against logic and reason, further fortified against morality. He has, with the heavy lifting performed by select media agents, convinced otherwise rational and decent people to embrace demonstrated falsehoods and reprehensible behavior because they are insulated against their former personality traits.
This did not happen overnight. It happened because a narrative was constructed, brick by brick, with each new “fact” being used to anchor the next. God uses flawed people to perform His work. Therefore, God may be using Trump as His agent. Therefore, because Trump won, God is using Trump as His agent. Therefore, God’s agent on Earth right now is Trump, even as Jesus was his agent millennia ago. Therefore, anyone attacking Trump is evil and anti-God. One of the panels in the wall is complete.
Trump is using tariffs. All prior Presidents used tariffs. Trump signed a tax cut. The stock markets are rising under Trump. Therefore, the tax cut and tariffs caused the stock markets to rise. Stock markets are free-market entities. Therefore, since the stock markets are rising, the economy is solid and not bubble-based. Therefore, attacking Trump is anti-free market and against a solid economy. Another panel in the wall is complete.
Similar constructions have been made to explain away Trump’s Russia ties, his years of deep association with Jeffrey Epstein, his promotion of North Korea, his violations of the emoluments clause, China’s Belt-and-Trade success, his imprisonment of children, his betrayal of the Kurds, his elevation of war criminals over his own military leaders.
None of these issues is enough to dislodge the faith of the Trumpist, because they are not looking at the issue individually. They are protected by the construction of their wall, in which each defense ties to another. Certainly the bricks are of shoddy, easily-refuted material, but with the sheer mass of them it seems that, on the whole, the barrier they form is strong. After all, the wall is huge.
This is why Trump’s supporters are resistant to challenges on individual points of fact and reason. When they are pressured to probe at the wall in any one point, they typically discover that it is paper-thin, having less substance than the cardboard stand-up of Trump offered for photos to graduates of Trump University. But within the context of what is, effectively, an alternate reality a single bad argument barely registers.
Trump’s illusion is protected in part by the many failed and duplicitous attacks made on prior Presidents. From George W. Bush’s faith in “Brownie” and mythical military desertion to George H.W. Bush’s slightly increased taxes and disproven mistress to Ronald Reagan’s Interior Secretary’s park deals and the imaginary deal with the Iranians, false and reactionary accusations have been made… just as were the concerns about Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s influence and false birth certificates for Obama. It’s taken as a matter of faith that the opposition will take minor failures and exaggerate them, and that some false charges will be leveled. In this atmosphere, the reasonable expectation is that when a giant wall of “reality” is presented, the occasional deviation found is simply that, and not one of dozens of lies.
The logical flaw here is that Trump’s failures and sins are abundant, and exist well beyond the policy differences that form the core of many of the usual grievances. Again, a single logical flaw is easy to brush aside for those on the other side of Trump’s wall.
The victims of this thinking are many. Obviously there are the Trumpists themselves, who have been lured away from their logical and moral base. There are farmers who are losing their generational homes. There are Kurds who were raped, abused and slaughtered. There are Ukranians being killed and enslaved. There are South Koreans and Japanese being extorted and simultaneously abandoned to China. There are European nations who are learning that we are undependable allies against Russian aggression. There are the founders and every patriot in our history who are seeing their work corrupted and undermined. There are Central Americans and others throughout the world who wished to come to America to pursue freedom, and are instead jailed or rebuffed and told that they are too poor or in some instances simply not white enough to deserve that chance. There are Mexicans who have become the obligatory scapegoat for most of the ills of the country, targets of opportunity for the Trumpists whenever an action of Trump’s is too insane or pathetic to ignore.
Mexico has paid for the wall… and so have many, many others, inside and outside our borders.