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“Something there is that doesn’t love

November 24, 2015

a wall, . . .” That’s the first line of Frost’s poem, “Mending Wall.” There’s something in the nature of things that topples walls, he says; yet we periodically build them up again. His neighbor says, “Good fences make good neighbours.” But why would that be, the poet wonders to himself, watching his neighbor “[b]ringing a stone grasped firmly by the top / In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed. / He moves in darkness as it seems to me, / Not of woods only and the shade of trees. . . .”

“Before I built a wall I’d ask to know / What I was walling in or walling out, / And to whom I was like to give offence.”

Donald Trump has chosen his psychological image, his big image, “a big, beautiful wall” (as he describes it in a tweet), all the way along our southern border.

“He moves in darkness as it seems to me;” but he believes that his image is a natural, and will bring millions of voters into the darkness with him.

So let’s contemplate that image, imagining it more fully through a method of elaboration, focused free association. We can riff on the image.

(We have to use our imaginations on this one. You’ll come up with things that I miss.)

I’ll start with the poem: a boundary marker, between two farm properties, but contra naturam, except for primitive human naturam. Now outmoded, useless, it has become a habit, unneeded for sustenance, unthinking in its disregard for human sensitivities, and thus un-neighborly.

Or suddenly I hear Pink Floyd, and Trump is just another brick in the wall of thought control (leave those kids alone). That Great Wall in China, the Berlin Wall, Hadrian’s Wall to keep the northern barbarians out of Roman England, the walls of Jericho that came tumble ‘n down, wall-eyed pike, the forest wall, the Ardennes, the defensive walls of Constantinople and the “old walls” of so many cities and towns, still more or less standing, walls scaled or pounded by cannon, the Wailing Wall, the Viet Nam War Memorial, prison walls, walls of forts like Fort Wayne, IN, where I grew up, now reconstructed in Johnny Appleseed Park, the Atlantic Wall, walls of the stomach, walls of a house, basement walls, walls by other names such as the Maginot Line, the Siegfried Line, walls of trenches, “over the top,” a wall of flame, wall of shame, Wall St, Walmart, “Wall, heck little lady, . . .”

Add more. Which ones resonate and harmonize with the “big, beautiful” Trump Wall of the imagination, and what is it that doesn’t love a wall like that one?

For me what resonates are the walls designed to separate US from them, to keep them out and keep us safe and uncontaminated, with the implication that we are under attack, will suffer the consequences if we lose a war like this one, and must take physical action to defend ourselves from refugees from poverty and terror in countries to our south.

Intellect doesn’t love that wall, because intellect abhors thought control. It wants to be able to associate freely, focused or unfocused. This is a wall of nonthink, bigotry, the oversimplification of dividing us into groups of the good guys who are safe inside, vs. the bad guys, who can’t get in to kill, rape, and plunder.

Freedom doesn’t, because it walls us in, as it pretends to wall our imaginary attackers out.

The Family of Humanity doesn’t, nor does the human family, because it says we are not a Family, even as it divides families. Trump wants to build a wall of a fortress, not of a house.

Peace doesn’t love such a wall. Trump supporters who do love it seem to be spoiling for a fight, to feel triumphant over enemies.

And like a rabbit, the amygdallic imagination does love such a wall, where it believes it can relax and get some rest. And so also does a politician who wants to control and manipulate us, by playing upon our fearful imagination, promising that he will protect us.

Donald Trump has made this wall his image, an image of himself, in the imaginations of his supporters; it is his promise to the American people; he has built a big, beautiful tower of his name, and he will build a wall; it could turn out to be the crowning achievement of his administration.  When he speaks (or tweets) of it, I get the impression that he thinks that he is already president. It’s self-evident. The rest of us will simply have get over it.

From → 2016 election, Trump

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