This was submitted last night, Thursday, January 24 2019 CE. It was already germinating when the doctor again returned from his burn-out hiatus to chastise me for not following his rules. You can read his letter in the comments following “Everyone loves a parade.”
Unless goaded beyond any capacity for restraint, I intend no further sparring on this issue, particularly with this condescending tea party doctor. Regressive opinions have calcified and no amount of reason will change them. Tit for tat is a waste of time and energy.
PS — this was reworked and resubmitted today, Tuesday, January 29 2019. It was published Wednesday, February 6 2019 CE, immediately following Doctor Jack’s triumphal ” I proved my point and I’m on a roll” victory lap. I’ve included it in the comments that follow to provide some context, and for the opportunity to add a few prefatory remarks…
Seems a mea culpa – Latin for “Oops!” – is in order. Who knew our prodigal practitioner could issue a challenge and then dictate rules of engagement for any who dared? My last ramble apparently strayed far afield from doctor’s orders.
Oops! #2 – my last letter left the impression that China’s “Great Wall” was something of a success. It was not. Like Sam Cooke’s song, don’t know much about history. Especially sixteenth century Ming Dynasty history. It is a wonderful world, but I’ve got to admit – don’t know much about Chinese history during any century.
Then I read Michael Schuman’s article “China Built a Big, Beautiful Wall, Too. It failed.” Everything I thought I knew about that wall was wrong. So wrong it reminded me of an unscripted television moment in 2008. MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough was attempting to defend the indefensible, reciting all the usual excuses for yet another assault on besieged Gaza. Israel calls it “mowing the lawn” – a genteel euphemism for its periodic butchery of a trapped people with nowhere to run.
Former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski was a guest on Joe’s show that day. When finally allowed to respond, Brzezinski was brutal. “You know, you have such a stunningly superficial knowledge of what went on that it’s almost embarrassing to listen to you.”
Reading Schuman’s article (in Bloomberg.com) it was obvious I, too, had a “stunningly superficial knowledge of what went on” in sixteenth century China. Schuman’s conclusion is a sobering, cautionary tale for our own times.
“The ultimate lesson of the Great Wall of China is that a physical barrier, no matter how expensive and impressive, will fail if detached from a broader set of policies to alleviate the sources of insecurity along the border. The Ming never figured that out. Hopefully Washington’s mandarins will.”
Still part of that dwindling minority fired up for Trump’s big, beautiful wall that Mexico will pay for (when hell freezes over)? Ask yourself what it is about this particular border in the year 2019 of the Common Era that preserves it for all eternity. Why not the borders of 1845 or those that may exist a thousand years from now?
Trump’s “Great Wall” is an exercise in arrogance, a billboard for bigotry. “On this side we are exceptional Americans. On that side, you are not exceptional – stay away.” Walls deny our own sordid history. For centuries we have meddled where we did not belong and we have stolen what is not ours. Like it or not, Americans play a part in much of today’s human misery.
We who have much have a duty to repair what we can, to apologize and pay for what we cannot, and to learn to see our neighbors as equal to ourselves regardless of color or creed or which side of a border we find ourselves on.
This is what we should be talking about.
Hot Springs, Arkansas