I had been told after I passed a Praxis test and one other day-long test that since I was now qualified to teach history in the public schools in the state of California, I could call myself an historian. I don’t know if that relieved me or not.  Because once you are a historian, you are expected to predict more accurately than everyone else how history is going to repeat itself again.  And there are a lot of people who are counting on historians to do just that

A historian is akin to an actuary who estimates premiums against risks in the insurance industry or a bookmaker who handles the betting odds of games and horse races.  All three of us depend on knowing and understanding trends in the histories of our special knowledge so that we may predict to some extent the future.

For example, for the first time in American history there is serious talk about an American 2,000 mile solid wall that is proposed to be more than 60 foot tall – seriously tall, that is, even more so than our tallest electric poles.  From President Trump and his followers (his followers being people who said nothing about this wall until Trump spoke about it), the wall based on its prototypes would look like a prison wall.  It would be facing the people of Mexico, but undoubtedly there would be people as far south as Argentina and Chile who would see the Donald J. Trump American Wall as facing their nations as well.

But the Donald J. Trump Wall is not being seen from its prototypes as a friendly border, such as the vegetative hedge grown by Canada against the American border.  It would involve literally endless costs every year of maintenance to arm the wall with guards and machine guns in a similar way Josef Stalin loaded and armed his Berlin Wall to face down the West.  Indeed, the prototypes that Trump has approved are that of an even more meaner-looking wall than Stalin’s Wall.

Stalin’s Wall or as it became better known the Berlin Wall led to the collapse of Stalin’s Soviet Union largely because of the hatred it generated.  The hatred did not merely end in West Berlin, but it extended to every nation to the West of the Berlin Wall.  The hated Berlin Wall culminated in its effect on the United States of America and – of all Americans – the American who finally set in motion the tearing down of the Berlin Wall and the destruction of the Soviet Union, President Ronald Reagan.

Reagan’s brave challenge to “tear down this wall” suddenly made people on both sides of the Berlin Wall see that the wall was the weakest and most cowardly attempt to claim sovereignty.  Then – in such short order that the people who were blinking missed it – the Wall came down and sent the sprawling Soviet Union behind it crashing to the ground like some epic creature dying in the last minutes of a horror movie.

Stalin’s larger character trait in making policy and in building this Berlin Wall was paranoia, and Stalin’s paranoia grew worse as he neared his middle seventies.  Of course, he had long been paranoid, beginning when he was an underground revolutionary who was turned in to Czarist authorities by whom he thought was his best revolutionary friend and ally.  Trump’s history shows a different dominating trait – he has always been very vain about his name in particular.

So living and working with Trump in the borough of Manhattan for nearly twenty years- without ever meeting him or seeing him – made me understand by reading about him constantly how important it was for him to stamp New York City with his name  Trump Tower became the crown jewel of his edifice complex, but also Trump University, Trump Steak, Trump Models, Trump Real Estate, Trump apartment complexes, and generally Everything That Could Possibly Be Trump.

And so from the New York experience, I can I believe understand better than most people in America how important it is to Trump now that America be stamped with the Biggest Wall of All Time in his name, just as the Emperor of Rome had his name stamped on Hadrian’s Wall just south of a Trump Golf Course in Scotland.  I can only imagine how much Trump had thought about trumping Hadrian—whose wall is a much greater tourist attraction than Trump’s Scottish Golf Course – when Trump has played his golf there.

But for the rest of us who will not have our names associated with any kind of wall, this would be like all similar walls a wall of hate.  Just as the wall of Jericho made Joshua and his army hate the people behind that wall so much that they killed all of them.  Or just as Odysseus and his Greeks slaughtered all of the Trojans who had feasted behind their huge walls while for ten years the Greeks outside fished for their dinners.

I think thought that the Wall Trump has really been thinking about was that Great Wall of China.  Trump’s proposed wall would not be quite as long as that – Trump’s Wall would be almost 2,000 miles – but the proposed height of his wall at 60 feet would be more than twice the height of the Great Wall of China at its peaks.  This would finally make the Trump Wall by the standard of volume the biggest wall ever built in history.  You could live a football field away from this wall and still have a third of sky blocked out from it,

But while it may be the greatest ego trip of all time to have the biggest wall in history belong to your name, we should also remember that the Great Wall of China was history’s most massive failure.  The Wall ended up being a factor in two majestic invader armies – the Mongolians with Genghis Khan and the Northern Manchus four hundred years after the Mongolians --- using the wall as an incentive for their soldiers to overcome the wall (they just walked over and through it) to destroy the entire Jin Dynasty and the whole Ming Dynasty.

That was in part made possible because the Mongolians and the Manchus saw the wall as an act of a cowardly and weak people.

Being from an old military family, I would hate to see that happen to us.

Chris Sharp- Commentary

Chris Sharp is an Educator and a prize-winning professional writer. He has recently published a new book titled How to Like a Human Being . Sharp's latest book is an Amazon Kindle collection of his published short stories, Every Kind of Angel . His commentaries represent his own opinions and not necessarily the views of any organization he may be affiliated with or those of The SCV Beacon.