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The Terrible Beauty of Donald Trump’s Border Wall

By: Malgorzata Lange - @MalgoLange - Jun 4, 2015, 8:12 am
Cientos de personas mueren cada año tratando de llegar a EE.UU. por su frontera sur (Diario Inédito)
Hundreds of people die every year trying to make it to the United States via its southern border. (Diario Inédito)

EspañolI confess I lost my capacity for surprise at the human talent for stupidity and bad taste a long time ago. But a recent story showed me I can still choke on my morning coffee.

US property magnate Donald Trump is visibly enjoying his new incarnation as a political showman. During an event as part of May’s Iowa Liberty Summit, he promised to personally take charge of constructing a colossal frontier fence between the United States and Mexico. He was backed up by Republican Representative Steve King, who’d even produced a miniature mock-up of the electrified monstrosity.

El magnate aspira a ocupar la silla de la Casa Blanca. (Clare Peolple)
The property magnate aspires to conquer the White House. (Clare People)

Is the Republican Party so desperate that it has to resort to such idiotic rhetoric? Its electorate will soon realize that they’re not watching an entertainment show, but a political program in development. But by then, it may be too late.

Trump knows his stuff about construction: his emblematic towers and gleaming edifices adorn the most expensive corners and avenues of the world. They’re glamorous, opulent, and kitsch. This expertise allows Trump to argue that he’ll be a great expert on border security.

“We have to build a fence and it’s gotta be a beauty. Who can build better than Trump? I build. It’s what I do. I build. I build nice fences but I build great buildings. Fences are easy, believe me,” he told delegates.

Why has a man who has shown himself to be so successful, skillful, and entrepreneurial, not grown in the same way in his opinion about matters that go beyond the monetary and material: put another way, in human decency?

For Trump, the low-income immigrants “just walking across the border” are “criminals … crooks … terrorists” and even “Islamic terrorists.” His huge fortune could bring him as an independent candidate to occupy the Oval Office, and his biggest concern is building a frontier wall? You can understand my shock.

Although not noted for the stylishness of his coiffure, aesthetics are important to Trump. His wall would be a beauty, don’t doubt it. As soon as he personally takes charge of construction, it would also be a commercial success: to cover costs, Mexico (the bad neighbor) could be charged for access through it.

Nearby properties would undoubtedly rise in price, and living in the shadow of the beautiful fall would fast become an aspiration shared by many. But it’s beauty would be a terrible one.

The platonic trio of truth, beauty, and goodness have long since ceased to be valued, still less profitable. I never liked The Apprentice, but this new show by Donald Trump is genuinely horrible.

Translated by Laurie Blair.

Malgorzata Lange Malgorzata Lange

Malgorzata Lange is a native of Poland who lives in Santiago de Chile. She holds degrees in political science and international Relations, and is a PhD candidate at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile. She is also a radio panelist on international politics issues. Follow @MalgoLange.