The idea that we can solve problems by building physical barriers is a persistent human fantasy.
Even though Donald J. Trump took a brief break from stumping the other day to open a new Trump hotel, in Washington, D.C., he has rarely paused in nearly 18 months of political campaigning in selling the American electorate hard on his latest, most ambitious, mega-development: the Wall. As if lifted from a real estate brochure, the adjectives, stitched together, soothe and seduce: “An impenetrable, physical, tall, powerful, beautiful, southern” — the “southern” rather innocuously tucked in, like a house advertising “southern exposure” — “border wall.” No one really knows what the Wall is — neither its physical manifestation nor, more important, the policies needed to undergird its construction — but that hardly matters. For whether there ever will be an actual wall or not, it already exists as an idea, a piece of political theater, as a metaphor. Perhaps Mr. Trump has taken inspiration from the Kim dynasty of North Korea, which makes much propaganda value from the 26-foot-high concrete border wall built by the “fascist clique” of South Korea — a wall that does not exist.
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