the national interest

Rich People’s Houses Have Walls. Also Roofs. The U.S. Should Have a Roof.

Build. The. Roof. Illustration: Intelligencer; Photos: Getty Images

President Trump has recently embraced the argument, a favorite of conservative news sites and television hosts, that because wealthy people sometimes surround their homes with a wall, the United States should do the same. That argument is now official policy of the United States government. A three-page letter from Trump to Congress states, in part, “Walls work. That’s why rich, powerful, and successful people build them around their homes.”

Trump is so committed to the persuasive power of this comparison that he has tweeted it recently. (“President and Mrs. Obama built/has a ten foot Wall around their D.C. mansion/compound. I agree, totally necessary for their safety and security. The U.S. needs the same thing, slightly larger version!”)

The New York Times reports Trump also tried out a version of this case in a private meeting with Democrats, informing Nancy Pelosi that the Vatican is surrounded by a wall, and therefore, as a good Catholic, she should support one around the United States. The fact Trump made this case in private suggests he sees it not just as a talking point for his supporters but a substantive rationale that might win over a college-educated adult who closely follows public policy for a living.

The Times does not report what reponse Pelosi made to this argument. She was probably stunned into silence by its sheer logical force. Because, let’s face it, there really is no rebuttal.

The only flaw in the argument is that it does not go far enough. The homes of the rich and powerful often have walls, but they always have roofs. Indeed even poor people’s homes have roofs. Roofs work. That’s why the United States should have a roof.

Democrats will probably tell you that it would be impractical and expensive to build a roof covering the entire United States. I guarantee all those Democrats live in houses with roofs. The lower 48 states — Hawaii and Alaska probably don’t need overhead protection — account for a mere 1.6 percent of the Earth’s surface. Don’t let those rich hypocritical roof-covered liberals tell you the rest of us can’t have the same basic protections they sleep under every night.

Without a roof, the United States is vulnerable to rain, hail, deadly snowstorms, falling satellites, and thousands of tons of bird poop. We have all heard or experienced horrifying anecdotes of innocent, wholesome Americans suddenly defecated upon by a bird flying overhead. If Democrats don’t support the roof, Trump should make them own every one of these bird-poop episodes.

The Democrats are the people complaining most loudly about so-called climate change, aren’t they? So shouldn’t they support a roof to protect us against the extreme weather they say is happening? Oh, that’s right — they don’t care because they can just retreat to their roof-covered mansions.

No serious person would dispute that any features found in high-end housing should be replicated for the United States as a whole. Once the roof is installed, the country should get to work on national granite countertops, a national mud room — Florida would be perfect, it would hardly have to change a thing — and maybe even a national panic room.

Actually, given the way things are going now, the panic room might be the first priority.

Houses Have Walls. Also Roofs. The U.S. Should Have a Roof.