It seems as if politics are more confusing and upsetting than ever.
Right now, politics are divisive, increasingly personal and confusing.
No political issue exists in a vacuum, but it’s easy to forget about context when our collective cultural attention spends no more than five minutes on any one topic before moving onto the next.
I like to think of myself as a reasonably well-informed person, but recently I found myself confused by one particular news story: Trump’s wall.
It’s infamous. In June 2015, Trump announced his candidacy, and first mentioned his intention to build a wall along the United States’ border with Mexico to keep out illegal immigrants, and to make Mexico pay for the wall.
Recently, President Trump announced his intention to deploy the National Guard to the U.S.-Mexico border to assist in border security efforts until the wall goes up.
He later clarified that he envisioned between 2,000 and 4,000 troops.
But what does that mean?
I can’t be the only person who didn’t know what the National Guard really was.
The National Guard’s own website says, “The National Guard is a unique element of the U.S. military that serves both community and country. The Guard responds to domestic emergencies, overseas combat missions, counterdrug efforts, reconstruction missions and more.”
The site also says that, “Any state governor or the President of the United States can call on the Guard in a moment’s notice.”
So it is the president’s prerogative to deploy the National Guard, but is it right?
Naturally there’s some disagreement on that, and largely falls to either side of party lines, with Republicans in favor and Democrats in opposition.
It’s not unprecedented for the president of the United States to deploy the military or National Guard along the border.
Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama all did that, according to Fox News.
However, Tim Ryan, a Democratic member of the House representing Ohio, said “Putting National Guard troops on the border has proven to be very costly and only takes them away from other pressing needs.”
The wall has no allocated funding and no timetable, so deploying troops until the wall is built means deploying them indefinitely.
Since the beginning of his presidential campaign, Trump has rallied his supporters with the promise of a wall.
His stance on immigration was a substantial factor in his election.
But now, nearly a year and a half into his presidency, Trump has made no progress toward building a wall, and his supporters are becoming frustrated and disillusioned.
This is especially notable given the upcoming midterm elections.
It’s important for the president to be seen as making progress toward promises he made during his campaign.
I can’t pretend to have come at this issue as anything other than the registered Democrat I am.
But the promise of the wall is important to President Trump’s base, and therefore to our president and our nation.
I’ve tried to set aside my own biases and educate myself.
Hopefully, you’ve learned something, too.