Manly men build walls

The Times editorial board is disgusted with Trump and his shutdown. One, he’s messing up the lives of thousands of workers; two, he’s doing it not to Protect Our Security but to defend his ego; three, he’s an asshole.

With even a quick peek beyond his bubble, the president could learn much about the legions of government employees and contractors who spent the holiday season agonizing over how to cover their next mortgage payment or electric bill or trip to the grocery store if this political charade drags on much longer.

He could, but it wouldn’t make any difference if he did; he does not care.

If Mr. Trump would take the time to check in with what’s happening in the real world, he might read about the divorced Army veteran who’d worked “three jobs to survive” before getting hired as a paralegal at the Federal Trade Commission — and who now has no idea if he’ll make the rent. He could hear from the single mother who says that she’ll have enough for rent — but not for food. He might be moved by the wife of a corrections officer wondering how her family will handle their “mortgage, day care and car payments” while her husband is working without pay. Or by the disabled military vet who, having waited more than a year for “service-connected surgery,” cannot get final approval for her procedure until the shutdown ends.

Trump? “Might be moved by” that or anything else along the same lines? No. Someone else might, but not Trump. His ego is well defended – it has a virtual but powerful 100 foot wall that keeps out all non-self movables.

Not that Mr. Trump seems much interested in either the public will or the public good. For him, this shutdown is a self-declared point of pride— a gaudy display of his boldness, his manliness and his political steadfastness.

After all his bluff and bluster, if the president backed down now, he would incur the wrath and ridicule of hard-right pundits like Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter, who seem to call the shots in this White House, as well as die-hard supporters who still think a concrete wall — or at least some “artistically designed steel slats” — will Make America Great Again.

See also: the Wheel.

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