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Trump's Wall Is Peak Toxic Masculinity


There is no national emergency, except for the one sitting in the Oval Office.

Oh, I see how it is. I go in to a job interview for an hour and when I come out, democracy died.

So President Trump, after weeks and weeks of talking about it, shutting down the government over it, decided that right this moment is the time that he absolutely has to do something about a "crisis" on the border and declare a national emergency. Of course, there is no actually emergency, and democracy didn't die, but it did get punched in the gut and called names. Trump's forthcoming declaration of emergency also stretches any concept of what constitutes an emergency, especially when you compare it to the national emergencies declared in the past and even the ones still currently in effect.

The longest national emergency was declared by President Franklin Roosevelt shortly after he took office, in order to deal with the Great Depression. It forced all the banks to shut down for three days in order to halt a run on them, which would have deepened the crisis that was occuring and further destabilized the globe. FDR's other national emergencies included preperations as early as 1939 to go to war against Nazi Germany, as well as to wage a defense against Nazi U-boats threatening American ships. However, despite what one may think, most of the emergencies declared have not been about America being under threat. Many of the ones that are still active deal with terrorist threats that grew out of the aftermath of 9/11, but most are actually sanctions against foreign countries.

Yes, one was declared in retaliation to the Iran Hostage Crisis, but most have been used to punish dictatorships, prevent genocides and civil wars, and to coerce a desired diplomatic outcome without war by using economic means. One even dealt with the Swine Flu outbreaks in 2009. National emergency declarations do everything from seize assets to restrict trade. None actually deal with anything like earthquakes, hurricanes, or other natural disasters because those are covered under different laws and are already provided for through FEMA. Probably the only disasters that would result in a national emergency would be Yellowstone erupting amd California finally breaking off and sinking into the ocean, or if Trump's dentures flew out during a speech and America shut down because everyone was too busy laughing to get any business done. If there was an actual military threat that would get covered by the Authorization for Military Force that was declared after 9/11 and never rescinded, which by the way we need to talk about if we actually want to end the forever war in Afghanistan.

Almost all of these emergency acts have dealt with actual threats to global security such as terrorist groups like Hezbollah who have bombed peacekeepers and taken American citizens hostage, or major drug cartels laundering money in America and threatening stability in friendly countries. However, none have ever considered the bruised ego of a failed narcissist a national emergency. The only crisis here, is that a man who wormed his way into the presidency with an impossible-to-fulfill promise to make Mexico pay for a wall, has not only utterly failed to do, but has been made to look completely foolish and incompetent. After each attempt to walk back that promise, by twisting the way he would pay for it, to what constitutes a wall, to punishing almost a million American citizens with failed budget negotiations, Trump has become more and more desperate to fulfill his signature campaign promise.

Each national crisis of note that warranted national emergency status was arguably an emergency, or at least a global threat. Terrorists, dictators, drug cartels, and even diseases all legitimately threaten the safety and security of human lives. The non-existant threat on the border is none of these. In fact if one was to even justify it, you could have made the argument around 1999 when border apprehensions peaked at over 1.6 million in a year. However since then they've dropped to about 300,000 a year. Grade school math would tell you how huge of a drop that is percentage-wise. Cities on the U.S. border are some of the safest, so the long threatened cartel wars never started there, and the people who are shooting up our schools and plotting terrorist bombings aren't sneaking over the border, but are growing up in the suburbs and tend to be white men, not Honduran refugee ISIS members.

National emergencies have always been real threats that constituted special measures that required strong action to be dealt with. Be they economic collapses, ending genocide, securing democracy in foreign countries, or weakening dictators; each was a genuine threat to people's lives and safety. Trump's declaration of one is wildly unpopular not just with liberals and the left, but the majority of Americans; no one considers something it took two years to finally take action on an existential threat.

All of this is a just a man whose image as a savvy negotiator and powerful businessman is being shattered, whose base is beginning to crumble, and has most horribly in his own eyes, been humiliated by a woman (go Nancy). Ultimately, this is all just a misused measure to salvage the pride of a weak, impotent man, trying to maintain the illusion of power by any means necessary. In the end, he's more of a threat to the American way of life than any migrant who just wants a glass of clean water and to not be murdered by bandits.

AMANDA KERRI is a writer and comedian based in Oklahoma City, and a regular contributor to The Advocate. Follow her on Twitter @Amanda_Kerri.

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