I saw the tweet below last week and I couldn’t help but notice the irony, the deep irony.
First, though, let’s roll through a little background. Word from 2016 Trump campaign insiders is that Trump didn’t initially like the “build a wall” campaign proposal and mantra. It was actually created by campaign team members who couldn’t get Trump to focus on certain policy matters that seemed too abstract for him. They decided that a “wall” was a good visual symbol that he could potentially latch onto in order to remember to talk about these matters, especially given his history with large buildings. Trump didn’t really like it but it was put into a campaign speech and the crowd responded really strongly to it. Over time, Trump could see that it was a fan favorite and he thus also grew to like it. The concept of actually building a wall all across the border was always idiotic, and not even a real proposal initially. As it developed into “Mexico will pay for the wall,” it got even more absurd. But many Republicans loved it for some reason — probably because of the same simple, visual, xenophobic qualities that got Trump campaigners to come up with it in order to get Trump’s attention in the first place.
Ironically, at the same time that Trump followers have illogically been big fans of a enormously long, expensive, and impractical wall to protect the United States from coyotes and tumbleweeds, many have completely ignored and downplayed the threats of global heating and climate catastrophe. Science? Bleh. Wall? Yay! It’s a reminder that while society has changed tremendously in some regards, we are still often relatively simplistic creatures.
On to the tweet.
— Earther (@EARTH3R) August 22, 2021
Highlighting the joke of a Trump wall and the growing threat of climate change disasters, as you can see, a monsoon in Arizona took down portions of Trump’s border wall in short order. What is the real risk to US national security and human livability — climate disaster or lack of a wall along thousands of miles of desert and water bodies?
For a little more, here’s the opening to Brian Kahn’s great article, which I recommend reading in full: “It turns out ignoring bedrock environmental laws may not have been the best choice for a multibillion-dollar construction project. Photos show former President Donald Trump’s border wall in deep disrepair after summer monsoon rains literally blew floodgates off their hinges.
“The damage took place near San Bernardino Ranch, a historic site that sits between Douglas, Arizona, and the San Bernardino Wildlife Refuge. Much of the West is suffering through a deep megadrought, but the monsoon rains that have swept across parts of the Southwest this summer have doused the southern half of Arizona with record-setting rains. Douglas has seen nearly double its average monsoon season rainfall so far, including a blast that came through on Monday and unleashed flooding on the Arizona-Sonora border.”
One would hope that we could learn lessons from basic reality, history, and science in order to improve our lives and our society as a whole. However, as the past 10 months (or 10 years) have shown us, reality is no match for fake news* for hundreds of millions of people. If someone’s Facebook friend, or a friend of their Facebook friend, or just a Fox “News” host says something that is completely illogical, as long as it sounds good and fits that person’s cultural bubble of buzzwords, it’s 100% “the truth.” If 10 scientists say otherwise, then that just adds to the evidence, because who can trust experts these days! If the Pope chimes in and impresses upon Catholic followers to respect the urgency of this matter and be responsible stewards of nature, come on, you can’t listen to a religious leader about matters of science! If a serial fraudster (convicted by the courts) who was born with a gold spoon in his mouth and $400 million in his bank account — who has boasted for decades about selfishly only doing things for himself — riles you up about some “bad others” and tells you to ignore this science, that science, and all the science, then you can see the way forward — the route of least resistance, least emotional work, and least responsibility. That has to be the right way!
*Truly fake news, not just news you don’t like or that hurts your political-cultural hero.
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