The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has many responsibilities, that, according to its website:
…Require the dedication of more than 240,000 employees in jobs that range from aviation and border security to emergency response, from cybersecurity analyst to chemical facility inspector. Our duties are wide-ranging, and our goal is clear – keeping America safe.
With a to-do list like that, it’s no surprise that DHS almost overlooked this crisis on our southern border:
A one-mile long section of the border wall was in need of paint.
Specifically, in need of paint “to improve the aesthetic appearance of the wall.”
This is according to an email sent by DHS to Congress in early June. And if there’s one word that comes to mind when I think of “DHS” and “Congress,” it’s…
To give you an idea of the scope of this project, it involves not only DHS, but also the Department of Defense (DOD), members of the U.S. military, and Customs and Border Protection (CBP), according to CBS News:
A Customs and Border Protection official confirmed the assignment to CBS News, indicating the Department of Defense was asked to conduct the “application” of the paint, with CBP financing the paint and “associated materials.” The estimated cost of the paint and equipment is approximately $150,000, the official added.
CBP also stated that improving “the aesthetic appearance of the wall” was “the primary objective of the operation.”
So let’s start with that “primary objective.”
“Aesthetic” means “concerned with beauty or the appreciation of beauty.”
Next, let’s do a quick Q&A:
Q: Who’s idea was painting the wall?
A: An unidentified…um…aesthete at DHS noticed the wall’s lack of…um…aesthetics.
Q: Where is this happening?
A: More or less around Calexico, California.
Q: Where is Calexico?
A: West of San Diego, around 120 miles. No, wait – that’s the ocean. Maybe east of San Diego?
Q: How much wall will be painted?
A: Probably a mile, give or take.
Q: How long will it take?
A: About 30 days or so.
Q: How many U.S. military does it take to paint one mile of wall in 30 days?
A: Could be 100, maybe more, maybe less.
Q: Is this costing U.S. taxpayers money?
A: Maybe. Sort of. Give or take.
Q: I heard it was $150,000.
A: You can’t put a price on aesthetics.
We’re very big on wall painting in San Diego, so I wondered if something like this was the DHS and DOD and CBP’s “primary objective of the operation”:
San Diego – 4223 30th Street
La Calors – 1955 Julian Avenue
Year of the Rooster –
Alas, no. Apparently they’re going for basic black.
That’s according to a reporter from Vice News, who visited the wall – I mean, the “operation” – talked to these military personnel, and posted this video:
Notice those spiffy, spotless, military-issue painter’s overalls? I wonder if those were part of that $150,000 for the “estimated cost of the paint and equipment”?
The military personnel were polite, but not exactly forthcoming when the reporter asked, “Why are you painting the wall black?”
If you’re wondering why the above images are rather dark – it’s because the military is conducting the “operation” at night. The reporter – logically – asked, “Why are you painting at night?”
Shortly after that, an authoritative voice summoned the personnel away from the “operation” and – end of interview:
I do hope that those aesthetically minded folks at DHS are so pleased with the “aesthetic appearance” of their operation that they’ll decide to make the entire wall more…um…aesthetic.
After all, you wouldn’t paint part of one wall in your home and just leave the rest…um…unaesthetic, would you?
Now let’s do the math.
Currently, there are barriers of one form or another along 654 miles of our southern border.
At $150,000 per mile, painting those 654 miles would be just $981,000,000.
And like the man said, “You can’t put a price on aesthetics.”
I guess some people just don’t get it: