What’s in A Wall?

Posted on January 8, 2019


Like the rest of the country, Life in the Boomer Lane has been thinking a lot about The Wall.  In her case, it is the brick wall surrounding her living room fireplace. This wall has had a tragic history, ever since she covered the ugly brick with beautiful white paneling.  She has now had to rebuild the wall about five times, and is due for a sixth rebuilding at any moment.

When she is not obsessing about her wall, LBL is concerned about The Wall, the pesky national issue facing the administration, Congress, approximately 800,000 folks who are now off work because of it, the entire farm industry, Homeland Security, people standing in security lines at airports, and bears experiencing intestinal bloating at national parks.

There seems to be great discussion about The Wall: What will it be made of? How much will it cost?  Where will the money come from? Will it do what it is supposed to do: Keep everyone out who we want out (i.e.: people who made the very poor personal choice to be born in countries that put their lives at risk), while letting those who are already here out if they feel the need to go out (i.e.: people who want to go return to those countries). And the final question: If Mexico refuses to pay, why can’t some other country?  Why can’t we pay for the wall with a credit card with triple miles and at least get something out of this?

For this, LBL turns to the Great Walls of History. There are a lot of them, and they can serve as reminders of what walls can, and cannot, do.

The Great Wall of China is a series of fortifications made of stone, brick, wood, and whatever else was lying around. It took thousands of workers and hundreds of  years to build. It is 13,000 miles long.  It was done at a time when the Emperor didn’t need anyone’s approval and didn’t have to worry about being re-elected. He simply announced that he would build a wall to protect China from the unruly hordes to the north. Period.

The wall was begun in the seventh century BC and officially completed in 1644, when thousands of folks gathered on the northern side, clamoring to be let in. Asked why they waited until the wall was completed, when they could have easily crossed into China anytime during the two thousand years before, they responded that people naturally want what they are told they can’t have. The bottom line was that although a useful deterrent against raids, the Great Wall essentially failed to stop enemies. In 1644, the rabid wall-building dynasty was overthrown by a new dynasty that marched through Shanghai Pass and declared that The Wall would be a much more useful tourist attraction than an actual fortification .

Hadrian’s Wall was built by the Roman Emperor Hadrian, in order to define the northernmost boundary of the Roman Empire and keep the Mad Scots in Scotland.  It was 73 miles long and was constructed of stone. Construction began in 122 AD and was completed in six years. This allowed laborers to offer their services to the Chinese emperor, who was neck-deep in slogging through his project.

The wall, although swell in many ways, never actually kept anyone out.  It was abandoned by the next emperor who wanted his own wall and decided to build it elsewhere, in a more peaceful area where there were no pesky marauders to deal with.

The Sumerian Amorite Wall The Sumerians were the world’s earliest known civilization. As soon as they realized this, and that the rest of the world looked pretty uncivilized, they decided to build a wall, in order to keep everyone else out. The wall was started in the twenty-first century BC and was 100 miles long. It worked for a few years, until all the uncivilized masses realized they could just walk around it.

The Long Walls Of Athens  Athens liked long walls in general, but these were the most famous. Built between 462 and 458 BC, they were intended to keep the Spartans from  invading them and impeding their access to the sea. The walls actually worked really well, until 87 BC, when the Romans came along. The Romans promptly defeated the Athenians and tore the wall down, in an attempt to have a water view.

The Great Wall of Confusion  This most recent wall was begun some years ago, when it was discovered that objective information, actual data and considered thought were dangerous to people’s belief systems. An entire media industry was created to reinforce the existing fears and biases of viewers.  The internet jumped in and spread the word, followed by social media. After awhile, a president was elected who took advantage of such an easy and swell way to influence voters.

The Great Wall of Confusion was, in many ways, more successful than any walls in history, especially since it never required ongoing maintenance (only ratings.) It just sort of had a life of its own. Although it did have attacks from other pesky marauders, their input was embraced.  And said president, poster child for the Great Wall of Confusion, predictably decided to build an actual wall to symbolize his power and glory.  This takes us back to where we began, with The Wall Issue. LBL will leave it to Loyal Readers to ponder the wealth of information in this post, while she attends to staring at her own wall debacle.