11:22:33 am on
Thursday 13 Jun 2024

The Emperor has No Wall
AJ Robinson

I remember, as a child, seeing a movie concerning what Hans Christian Andersen called, The Daydreamer. It was a cute family film, with some bright bubbly songs and stop-motion animation to bring many of his stories to life. Back then, I didn’t know any of those tales and there was one I found a bit confusing, The Emperor’s New Clothes.

A child shall lead you.

The Emperor’s New Clothes was neat, but I just couldn’t understand how a bunch of people, an entire village, in fact, would not admit the truth their eyes were showing them. It’s not until a fancy parade, with the emperor taking centre stage, when an innocent little girl simply says, “The Emperor is naked” and are the town folk willing or able to speak the truth.

I now believe it can happen in real life and happen right here in the good old USA. Last night, the Great Orange held another of his rallies. This rally was in in El Paso, Texas. The point was he wanted to talk of his wall; how a wall reduced crime in El Paso, which was not entirely true.

The minions, as usual, started in with the normal chant. “Build the wall. Build the wall.” No surprise, they’re good little minions. No, what was different was his response. He told them it was no longer, “Build the wall” it was now, “Finish the wall.” He had printed signs and posters, which were all over the auditorium indicating it was now “Finish the wall.”

Yes, apparently wall building is well under way. Quite the surprising development, wouldn’t you say? I have to wonder when construction started.

Maybe construction began during the lengthy government shutdown, which ended two weeks ago; maybe that’s what all those idle government workers were doing to pass the time. After all, Trump did say most of them were in favour of the wall, wanted it built and were encouraging him to not yield on the shutdown. I also have to wonder where the money for it came from. Huh, maybe Mexico made its first payment.

Will Trump resort to a Potemkin Village?

A Potemkin Village is an act of deception on a grand scale, literally or figuratively, to deceive an enemy into thinking something, an idea, building or wall, say, is what it’s not. That is, actual, meaningful or strong.

Nazi Germany touted forced labour camps, such as Buchenwald, as benign villages. North Korea tries to give the impression it has plenty of food. Trump says, “Finish the wall,” suggesting building is already underway.

In the time of Catherine the Great, of Russia, Grigory Potemkin built movable villages along the Dnieper River and imported Russian peasants to populate the villages, temporarily. When Catherine visited war torn areas along the Dnieper she saw new villages populated with happy people. Once she passed a village, it was dissembled, moved farther down the river so that by the time Catherine reached its new location, the village had been re-constructed.

The television show, Mission: Impossible, used Potemkin Villages many times to trick a criminal. Even the movie, Hotel Transylvania, used one. Dracula allowed his daughter go to a nearby village to see what the real world was like, only to trick her into never wanting to go back, again.

Has American truly come to accepting a Potemkin Village? It seems so. It’s exactly what Trump will show off when people ask, “Where is the wall, Mr President?” Who knows, maybe he’ll show clips from an old documentary about the Great Wall of China. Oh, I know, he can get highlights of the movie The Great Wall.

The movie didn’t do too well in America and it is doubtful any of his followers remember it. He can say Matt Damon is now head of the brave border patrol units repelling the hordes of criminals and terrorists storming the wall. It won’t matter that they appear to be monsters. As far as his minions are concerned, that’s what such sub-humans look like.

Where is the innocent little girl when we need her?

Do you think it can’t happen in America? Do you think Trump wouldn’t dare try something like that? Look at all that he’s done, over only the last ten years, and tell me creating such a fiction is any more than what he already pulled. What’s truly scary and sad is that his minions will probably believe him. Where’s an honest innocent little girl when you need one?

Combining the gimlet-eye of Philip Roth with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Working, again, as an engineeer, after years out of the field due to 2009 recession and slow recovery, Robinson finds time to write. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true. His teen vampire adventure novel, "Vampire Vendetta," will publish in 2020. Robinson continues to write books, screenplays and teleplays and keeps hoping for that big break.

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