By Jacob Berowitz ’22 on behalf of Gettysburg College Democrats
Among the many issues presented in this year’s State of the Union speech, President Donald Trump’s obvious plug for a wall at the southern border was highly anticipated. What was on my mind, and most likely countless Americans’, while watching was What is he going to say that is different? Turns out, very little. President Trump continued his demonizing portrayal of illegal immigrants as a way of fear mongering the American public into giving his political base the wall he promised them three years ago.
His consistent push for a physical barrier, despite Democratic support for a “smart wall” (providing more effective technological resources), at this point can only be seen as pandering to some of his most fervent supporters. This is directly contradictory to Trump’s opening remarks, stating that “Victory is not winning for our party”. According to a Pew Research Center poll from January 2019, only around 40% of Americans support expansion of the southern border wall. This is not “the agenda of the American people” as he earlier stated, this is Trump’s agenda.
Stacey Abrams, in her rebuttal speech, summed up this political conflict as well as many others in one sentence, “So even as I am very disappointed by the president’s approach to our problems, I still don’t want him to fail”. We do not want President Trump to fail because his job is to make this country and the world a better and safer place. Building a wall fulfills neither of these requirements.
It is an ineffective deterrent that will cost billions of dollars to construct. In the current debate over border security, Trump’s wall has begun to seem more and more like a vanity project than a security measure. He might see it as his Mount Rushmore, a monument to himself. An impractical wall for an impractical president.