As with so many issues that confront the nation, we are divided by party, by culture and by our sense of what is logical and reasonable. Nothing could reflect this more than Donald Trump’s idea of a wall to separate the United States from Mexico.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi looks at it as a moral issue; how could a civilized nation use a Medieval form of separation to define the border between the United States and Mexico? But Donald Trump seems to reject any alternative way monitor the border, claiming that he knows more about drone technology than anyone else in the world.
All of this is being fought in the context of re-opening the federal government. Trump invited this to happen, claimed to own it, and then walked away from responsibility when he saw that his moves did nothing positive for his popularity.
Compromise has been a vanishing concept in Washington. The spirit of bi-partisan cooperation has become more difficult as the Republican Party has become more and more locked into positions frequently defined by fear and hate.
But Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats have some leverage now, and if they play to Trump’s vanity (not too difficult to do), they can possibly fashion a compromise that gives Trump what he wants at not too great a cost to America and what might be built along the border. So as to not scare anyone too much, let’s call it a revocable compromise.
Suppose that you could build a wall made of materials that were any combination of reusable, recyclable and sustainable? Start building the damn wall to satisfy Trump for the time-being. But soon enough, cooler heads will prevail, and it will become apparent that there are more effective ways to monitor and even control a border than with a presumably impenetrable wall. Trump has floated all kinds of ideas as to what the wall could be made of or look like, so parlay that notion into something that can be as readily dissembled and/or utilized for other purposes as it could be constructed. Neither of these tasks would be easy, but it is a way to try to make something out of nothing at not too great a cost.
After meeting with leaders of Congress today, Trump said that Democrats wanted any wall to be made of steel since that would help the domestic steel industry. Whether or not that is the way in which it actually went down is unclear, but if it was built with steel, it would be much more reusable and recyclable than concrete.
For most of us, there is no apparent impact from the government shutdown. For many, it is a minor inconvenience. But for millions it is a matter of not having a paycheck, and in the case of some, there will never be reimbursement. This is all difficult for Trump to understand. But most Democrats do. Why not explore a compromise that is as close to revocable as possible? Just something to think about.