Rep. Markwayne Mullin’s #BorderBeard lacks impact as political protest and seems like a plea for attention.
Oklahoma Congressional representative Markwayne Mullin is getting attention from his promise to grow out his beard until the federal government solidifies plans to build the wall along the border between the United States and Mexico. Representative Mullin explained, “This is my border beard,” in a video posted to Twitter. “I’m not going to shave it until we secure our border. That doesn’t mean I’m not going to trim it. It just means I’m not going to shave it off.”
I feel that refusing to shave a beard is less a political statement and more like an act of defiance toward one’s significant other if he or she does not like beards. Unless, of course, Representative Mullin is channeling his inner Russian citizen during the reign of Peter the Great, who instituted a beard tax on his citizens in an attempt to make Russia more similar to the beardless Western Europeans during that era.
Critics believe that Representative Mullin is not making an impactful statement in not shaving his beard. Ginnie Graham of the Tulsa World stated that such a gesture does not matter to those who went without pay for the duration of the government shutdown, such as TSA and national park workers. She also mentions the fact that women cannot perform similar displays of their political opinions. However, some women who participated in #JanuHairy, wherein they showed off their unshaven bodies, added their actions to the support for Representative Mullin’s #BorderBeard.
Some responders over social media liken the beard to a metaphor for hiding something else. This goes along with the common belief among Americans that the federal government is not transparent with citizens. Those who oppose Representative Mullin certainly do not view this gesture as it was intended. Others point out that there are much more pressing issues to focus on than a border wall.
Is it me or does this situation sound like Agnes from “Despicable Me” when she tried to hold her breath until Gru gave into what she wanted? Kids seem to do things like this quite often or throw temper tantrums. But as we have seen over the past few years, the line between the behavior of adults and that of toddlers is beginning to blur among those in the United States government. Anderson Cooper accused Trump of behaving like a five-year-old during his campaign when Trump claimed that he did not start the conflict between himself and Ted Cruz’s wife, as if that justified his continuation of the fight. People from other countries are left wondering what is going on in the United States, when they are not laughing about it, that is. Maybe we should laugh too.
When someone is one of 435 representatives in Congress, it is difficult to make a lasting impression. This could be especially true for those representing smaller states like Oklahoma. Everyone in the federal government would like to be remembered for something. Perhaps that is what Representative Mullin is trying to do. Negative attention is still attention, right?
A beard is a unique way to show your political opinions — but not impactful, as there are no consequences or hardships of having one, save for the extra grooming time. But go big or go home. How about a hunger strike instead? That’s what Graham suggested. Or pull a John Lennon and sit in your bed all day. I’m not a cynic, I swear.
Seeing how long it takes for Congress to make decisions, and how long it will inevitably take to build a wall that spans 1,900 miles, the beard will be here for quite some time. Let’s all get familiar with it. It will probably be the length of Dumbledore’s once this border fiasco ends anyway.