Editorial: Walls to divide, bridges to unite

Walls to divide, or bridges to unite?
On the campaign trail, politicians of all stripes promise big things — but few were as boastful, wasteful and wrong-headed as “the Donald” was during his run-up to the Republican convention and throughout the general election. After his first eight months in office, he’s accomplished very little of what he championed — and for that the nation is all the better.
But few campaign promises were so central to his campaign as the graphic image of building a wall on the Mexican-US boarder to stop the illegal crossing of immigrants into the country. That whole notion is tied up in the factually incorrect premise that these Mexican immigrants are taking jobs away from American workers, bringing crime and drugs into the country, increasing social costs and a host of other far-right propaganda meant to give middle-America a scapegoat to blame for their own economic problems.
Each premise is discounted by the hard facts presented by government agencies — the same government agencies that are now controlled by the Republican Party.
That the proposed wall is anything but campaign nonsense, or as Sen. Patrick Leahy calls it “a bumper sticker boondoggle,” should be apparent to most Americans — but that Trump continues to use the wall as a way to gin-up his most xenophobic, misguided supporters and make false threats about defaulting on the national debt unless Congress supports funding for the wall is nothing less than juvenile — yet, once again, puts the nation’s reputation as a dependable world leader at risk.
But we’ll let Sen. Leahy, who is Vice Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, comment on Trump’s threat to shut down the government if Congress does not agree to force American taxpayers to fund a border wall.
“This is not President Trump’s first threat to shut down the United States government over his foolish, costly and useless wall, wasting tens of billions in U.S. taxpayer dollars,” Leahy said in a statement issued this Wednesday. “A wall the president promised that Mexico would pay for, and a wall that would be nothing more than a bumper sticker boondoggle.  
“The last Republican shutdown in 2013 dealt a devastating blow to economic growth, amounting to an estimated $1.5 billion lost for each of the 16 days of the shutdown. That is economic growth we can never get back.   
“We cannot afford his brand of government by threats of manufactured crisis. I would urge the president to instead put the full force of his administration behind investing in the American people, like the investments Democrats have proposed in the Senate Appropriations Committee. We should be supporting medical research, rebuilding our infrastructure, providing quality education to our children – and we should be building bridges between communities and cultures, not walls to divide us.”
Imagine that: building bridges to unite us, not walls to divide us. Do Trump supporters really believe walls to divide us are more useful than bridges to unite us, or has Trump undermined their sense of community so wholly that he’s corrupted their vision as well?
Angelo S. Lynn

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