A GoFundMe has raised millions for the wall. Another will fund 'ladders' to get over it.

A GoFundMe has raised more than $12 million in four days to help pay for Trump's border wall. Yes, really.

As President Trump battles with the Senate to secure $5 billion towards the building of his wall, one citizen has taken matters into his own hands. Purple Heart veteran Brian Kolfage started a GoFundMe campaign calling on the 63 million people who voted for Trump to donate money to go toward building a The Wall.

"Like a majority of those American citizens who voted to elect President Donald J Trump," writes Kolfage, "we voted for him to Make America Great Again. President Trump’s main campaign promise was to BUILD THE WALL. And as he’s followed through on just about every promise so far, this wall project needs to be completed still."


"As a veteran who has given so much, 3 limbs, I feel deeply invested to this nation to ensure future generations have everything we have today. Too many Americans have been murdered by illegal aliens and too many illegals are taking advantage of  the United States taxpayers with no means of ever contributing to our society."

Mmkay. So we're just going to ignore that most research indicates that undocumented immigration actually correlates to lower violent crime rates. And we're just going to gloss over the research showing that core industries in the U.S.—including the farming of the food we all eat—could not survive without undocumented workers. Who needs research when we have fear-mongering rhetoric to fuel our financial decisions?

With all due respect to Mr. Kolfage, and with sincere gratitude for his sacrificial service, the stated reasoning for funding this wall is bunk. (And so are the far right-wing conspiracy theory website businesses peddling racist, inflammatory garbage that he's started over the past couple of years. Thanks for the investigative journalism, NBC News.)

And yet, 200,000-and-counting Americans have happily thrown their hard-earned money at Kolfage's fundraiser. In a mere four days, the GoFundMe has raised more than $12 million toward the initial $1 billion goal.

It's amazing how motivating prejudice and fear are. No wonder wanna-be-despots shamelessly fan those flames in their followers.

In response, an alternate GoFundMe is raising money for "Ladders to Get Over Trump's Wall."

Another veteran, Charlotte Clymer, started a counter GoFundMe fundraiser, "Ladders to Get Over Trump's Wall," and it's fire and gold all at once.

"We saw some folks are raising money for a border wall to keep out our migrant siblings and fellow human beings, who are fleeing violence and persecution and whose tragically-underpaid labor is essential to the U.S. economy," states the page. "Seems like a bad idea on countless levels for everyone involved.  Maybe we should focus on human rights and creating a community that reflects our supposed values."

When the page was set up, the wall fund was still ramping up, with a rate of $1.7 million per day. "And even though at a rate of $1.7 million daily, it would take their fund about 35 years to raise the $21.7 billion that Trump's own Dept. of Homeland Security says would be needed  to build said wall," it reads, "we wanna make sure ladders are ready to send over to our undocumented friends and help them." *

And then perhaps the best line ever written: "If this seems ludicrous, we welcome you to the coalition of reasonable adults." Gracious, I miss the days when I believed reasonable adults were the vast majority.  

This fund won't actually pay for ladders—it will help with legal representation for those who need it.

All funds raised by the Ladders GoFundMe will go to the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES) , a Texas-based nonprofit that provides free and low-cost legal services to underserved immigrant children, families, and refugees.

"You see," the site states, "they’ll never reach their goal, but no matter how much we raise, we’re going to reach ours: Supporting an organization working to help immigrants seeking legal asylum. This GoFundMe isn’t really about ladders at all. It’s about lifting people up."

So far, Clymer has raised $89,000 for RAICES, and the campaign is starting to gain steam on social media. The Hoarse Whisperer, who originally came up with the idea, shared what happens when people only read the name of the fundraiser and not the description. Prepare to smack your head:

Reasonable adults, please keep showing up when ridiculousness rears its ugly head. We need you now more than ever.

* Just for the record, at the larger rate of $3 million per day, it would still take 19 YEARS to get the full $21+ billion for the wall. Isn't math fun? For more on why the wall is a dumb idea all around, read this analysis from the Cato Institute.

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Today, I'm a 35-year-old man with a flame shaved into my beard. If the '80s movies I love so much are any indication, this is a sure sign I'm going through some kind of existential crisis. Next week, when the semester starts and I begin teaching again, it will not be strange if my colleagues start to worry about me just a little. A sports car or a neck-jerking pivot to physical fitness — that's an understandable response to the realization that life is fleeting. But a large meticulous flame carved out of facial hair? What does one do with that?

At this moment, though, I'm showing my face proudly to a woman wearing a swimsuit with a taco cat on it. We have only recently met, but she's telling me that she's so into my "fade" that she wants to kiss it. Then she does, blowing a raspberry into my cheek so hard that her hat falls off. Neither of us can stop laughing.

"Live Mas!" she yells with the excitement of someone who's never had trouble fully seizing the moment.

"Live Mas!" I shout back without any irony. There is no irony here in Palm Springs, where, for four days only, hundreds of people celebrate their love for Taco Bell.

Here, there's only swimming and hot sauce-themed leisure wear, and the warm pleasant feeling that comes from eating too much and knowing that you're with your own people. Even if the only thing that connects you is a love for a fast food giant that feeds you when you're hammered and shameless at 2 a.m.

We drank the Baja Blast! My Taco Bell fade and my friend's specialty manicure!Mark Shrayber

What does it mean to Live Mas? This is a question I am forced to ask myself over and over during my 24-hour stay at "The Bell," where I have stowed away as a friend's plus-one. We are, of course, both politely pretending that I'm a full-on guest with all the perks that entails, but we also both know that I wouldn't be here eating unlimited quesadillas poolside without her.

So maybe that's the first thing Live Mas means: To build strong lifelong connections which you can, with some luck, exploit to your benefit. :) :) :)

But this is too cynical an interpretation, because everyone here is so happy. Happy that they've gotten a reservation; happy that they can cool off in a room themed after an iconic Mountain Dew Drink, and happy that they can share their own personal story of what Taco Bell means to them. (Though there's no formal essay contest — I've checked.)

Me: This room won't be that cool. Also me: OH MY GOD, THIS IS THE COOLEST ROOM I'VE EVER BEEN IN!!!Mark Shrayber

Snatches of this story float around the "Fire" pool, where all the entertainment is concentrated: One couple canceled their trip to Prague because "Prague will always be there" — a brave stance considering climate change; another met last year on Tinder after the girlfriend's Taco Bell senior photos went viral; at the opening ceremony on Thursday, where sauce packets were cut instead of a ribbon, a city official brought others to tears with both her Taco Bell fashion and a memory of how her parents would feed an entire family with 19-cent-tacos from the first-ever Taco Bell in Downey, California.

Oh, I forgot one: The guy who skipped out on Prague? He got a giant bell shaved into the side of his head, so he might have to miss out on a black-tie event happening later this week. But it's all good. Bring on the nacho fries.

I make fast friends with four women who are here for a bachelorette party, the bride overwhelmed with good vibes and prosecco. This year, for her 30th, she rented a party bus. Inside? $100 worth of Taco Bell that her fiancee was worried might not be consumed.

"But little did he know," she shouts in the hot tub where we're "cooling off" after a long day of 108-degree sunning, "we ate it all!"

A bachelorette party and a birthday! We're really living it up (but also staying hydrated.)Mark Shrayber

Others whoop it up at the twist, but we all get it. Though there's no essay contest, I don't mind telling you that when my first boyfriend dumped me 14 years ago, I stuffed my face with chalupas. When I lost a job I really loved four years ago, I once ordered so much Taco Bell that the delivery app of my choice informed me I'd exceeded the maximum number of items they could comfortably fill in one order. We get it — though none of us can truly explain it.

There are, if you look at the The Bell from a literary perspective, many other writers who deserve this experience more than me. They could talk about the blue of the pool. Or the insouciance of youth. Draw parallels between marketing stunts such as this and the end-stage capitalism. Or envision a "Demolition Man" future where Taco Bell is fine dining and none of us know how to use the three shells in the bathroom to get ourselves clean.

And I wish these writers could be here to paint you these landscapes, but what you've got is me, a literal Taco Bell super-fan, and what I'm doing is eating and getting sunburned and taking a synchronized swimming class with the Aqualillies, who refer to themselves as "the world's most glamorous water ballet entertainment," but have very little idea of what to do with 10 eager recruits who can't stay afloat or on beat.


G-L-A-M-O-R-O-U-S!!Photo courtesy of Taco Bell.

"It's okay," one of the instructors comforts me just before the Tacolilies (the name of our "team") are invited to perform our watery version of "Senorita" — which was supposed to be two minutes long, then 1:15, and has now been judiciously cut down, due to talent, to about 45 seconds — in the bigger pool. "We regularly teach five-year-olds. And you're doing much better."

Usually, I would take offense at such blatant reads, but today I'm unbothered. I'll continue to be so right until I get home and discover that I've left all my electronics on United Flight 5223 (if anyone wants to get them back to me). And even then, I rage at myself for all of five seconds before checking that I've still got what's important: A certificate that says I did not drown while doing water ballet.

It's still there. As is my phone, which is blowing up with messages from people who took pictures of me in what Taco Bell calls its "power suit," and which is best described as "cult outfit, but kinda make it fashion." I bought my husband one, too, and I look forward to the argument we're going to have about holiday cards later.

This is "Live Mas."

I've never been so happy to match with someone else in my life. MaMark Shrayber

Or maybe it's the moment another stranger tells me that we'll be friends forever. Such friendships are forged quickly when you've got less than 24 hours to make lifelong connections and I'm pleased to get the full experience.

"We may never meet again," he says while we're swimming, "but we'll always have this time together."

Then we establish that he lives just across the park from me in San Francisco.

"Aw, man," he says, floating away to take pictures of the people he came with, "I've got lots of close friends I never see because they live across that damn park."

But the sentiment holds.

We Live Mas it on.

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