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Photograph from Samuel Zeller on Unsplash

Dear Border Wallers,

We need to talk.

Because I am a bit concerned. I mean, are you really sure you want to build a border wall? Really? An 18.5 billion dollar border wall? Frankly, between you and me, building a giant, ineffective symbol (with windows!) doesn’t seem like the best use of our money. The experts will tell you that “walls did not work in the past and today only work to divert, not prevent, migrant flows—while simultaneously having a grave human cost.” And we have given you all sorts of advice about better ways to spend our money. But, I get it. You’re not really interested in advice or expert or facts. A border wall would look superfly and menacing, and would create the illusion of “security” (or perhaps exclusivity) that you want. You want a wall, and you won’t settle for less.

But, listen! I have a better idea!

Let’s build a giant Statue of Liberty facing the Mexico border, flipping the bird to those we want to dissuade! It would be just as effective, and it would look fashionably rad. Lady Liberty’s robes do have some fantastic draping. Fashionistas could learn from her lines.

But maybe you’re not really feeling the fashion angle.

Don’t worry, I’ve got some other ideas!

The entirety of NASA’s annual budget is…wait for it…18 billion dollars a year! With our 18 billion dollars, you could fund science exploration, send astronauts (Americans!) into space, and explore infinity and beyond!

But maybe you’re not really that into science.

What about ramen noodles? Everyone loves ramen noodles! Did you know that you could feed a person 3 meals a day of ramen noodles for an entire year for only $142.65? With 18 billion dollars, we could feed 129 million people 3 meals a day for a year. Or, if that seems a bit excessive, we could settle for 2 meals a day for a year. For 18 billion dollars, we could feed every single one of our friends in Russia 2 delicious meals a day and have enough money over to fund all cancer research for a year!

But maybe you’re not really that into feeding people and curing cancer.

Well, it would only take 55 million to fix Flint’s water system. Add that to the 5 billion needed to repair Puerto Rico’s power grid, and we’d have a solid 13 billion left over, give or take a few hundred million, to offset the annual cost of corrosion to all of our national bridges or to rebuild an Amtrak passageway between New Jersey and New York.

But, meh. Infrastructure is so boring.

What about football?

For 15 billion, we could buy every NFL player’s contract. We could own football! We could rename our teams and build new divisions…instead of the AFC and the NFC, we could play Democrats against Republicans! We could play East Coast versus Midwest! We could play blue against gray!

You see, we could do so much with 18 billion dollars. We could actually save some lives. Or we could watch a lot of football. But what we shouldn’t do is throw 18 billion dollars into the wind, just to build a symbolic, ineffective gesture illustrating nothing more than our inability to move beyond our racist past.

So, come on, Border Wallers. Let’s stop pretending this is about national security. Let’s stop pretending this is patriotic. Let’s stop pretending this is fiscally sound. Let’s stop pretending.

Let’s find something better to obsess over, and something better to spend our money on.

Let’s do something legit.

Wanna play football?



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