Trump’s Wall — A Jealousy Folly for our Time

Update: Here we go again. Is it Groundhog Day?

Many Americans were affected by President Trump’s first unnecessary government shutdown. Some of my U.S.-born cousins were on the south side of the U.S./Mexico border when he tweeted: “We will be forced to close the Southern Border entirely.” The self-destructive fervor behind this rant had me wondering whether there there is a DSM-V psychiatric diagnosis for wall obsession.

Not yet but there is a Japanese yokai ghost/monster named Nurikabe which mysteriously appears as a painted wall blocking the path of travelers. And the Germans have a phrase Mauer im Kopf “wall in the head” which helped inspire this opinion piece on the topic a few years ago when Herman Caine(R) promised a lethal electric fence on the southern U.S. border:

This author is spot on with the observation: “Walls, then, are built not for security, but for a sense of security.

This explains Donald Trump’s misuse of U.S. troops in a pre-election border show, his misuse of ICE, TSA and local law enforcement and his supersized obsession with the threat from DACA kids and migrant families while completely ignoring the growing threat from white domestic terrorists (heavily-armed not for security, but for a sense of security.)

So let him build a wall, put his name on it, fund it to be tall and imposing. A fake medieval ruin, a folly like the jealous wall at Belvedere house in Ireland, built out of hatred between brothers and jealousy over a loveless marriage. Robert Rockfort the first Earl of Belvedere built it to block the view of his brother’s larger mansion. The mansion now stands in ruins, the mistreated Lady Belvedere faded away after years in prison on a false accusation of adultery, the accused younger brother died in a debtor’s prison on those charges. Lord Belvedere himself died after falling on a moonlit walk, or he was mauled by wild dogs or maybe he was murdered. What is important is that almost 250 years later his wall stands as a monument to jealousy and hatred.

Mexico was going to pay for Trump’s wall, until they weren’t. His campaign promise was going to run the entire length of the U.S.-Mexico border, until it wasn’t. It was going to be made of solid concrete — or steel slats. It was going to be up to 50 feet high — or not. The multiple broken promises of this wall may seem more significant than the single “read my lips” quote that ended George H.W. Bush’s presidency but we should view them in context. A handful of broken promises diluted in a swamp of a thousand lies.

He wouldn’t have to stretch the truth more than he already has if he fulfilled his promise with a brick-by-brick copy of Lord Belvedere’s jealousy wall. It would be a perfect monument to a campaign of hate in this age of alternate truths.

Jealousy Wall at Belvedere House Ireland (photo by author)

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