I was taking my dog for a walk this morning and noticed some scrawling on a post on a nearby rural road.
Before I tell you what it said, let me explain that this post in the road sits in an affluent neighborhood, actually straddling the two wealthiest counties in the U.S. It is surrounded by many fences, and boasts an active community watch program, sophisticated alarm systems, video surveillance and armed citizens.
Thus, it was not the quiet woodsy locale I expected to be confronted with a reminder of the big furious debate throughout the America today – and not just America but the Americas.
What were the three little words on the small insignificant post in the road – probably meant for some future road sign?
“NO MORE WALLS!”
Though there was nothing about the indistinct, unobtrusive, black words on the insignificant post designed to catch attention, they caught mine. I stood there trying to imagine the person who strolled through this peaceful, tranquil, lovely area inspired to write an angry message to no one.
I interpreted it as a sign of the times – albeit, a slightly weird one.
Too many Americans have become what I call Wall-o-phobes – not grasping the simple concept that walls have no intrinsic morality, despite what Nancy Pelosi claims. Walls themselves are not good or bad. No walls will be judged by God someday for their sins. But the people who make them – or don’t make them – will indeed be judged.
Walls do serve purposes – some good, some bad.
The Berlin Wall had a bad purpose. It was built to keep people imprisoned in a totalitarian society. It wasn’t to keep people out. It was to keep them in.
That’s why it was so inspiring to free people everywhere when the late President Ronald Reagan called on Mikhail Gorbachev, the leader of the Soviet Union, to “Tear down this wall.” And people did.
So, you might ask, “Why are peace-loving, freedom-loving Americans today calling on their neighbors and fellow citizens to join with them in building a wall on our southern border?”
Let me spell this out simply: Because this would have a good purpose, preventing massive numbers of deaths to our fellow citizens from drugs, crime, violence and possibly even terrorism. It’s not a question of if it will result in better national security and safety, but how much. And the cost of this wall is very inexpensive, relatively speaking, despite again what Nancy Pelosi says.
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about walls and fences, borders and neighbors, division and unity, peace and war.
One of Robert Frost’s most memorable and enduring works of poetry was called “Mending Wall,” famous for the line: “Good fences make good neighbors.”
That it was titled “Mending Wall” is apt for our debate in America today about walls and fences, borders and neighbors, division and unity, peace and war.
A deeply divided America is very much in need of mending. We not only need a “Mending Wall” between the U.S and Mexico, we need a multitude of good fences here in the U.S. to keep neighbors from destroying one another.
Heck, we can’t even agree on the simple statement, “Good fences make good neighbors.”
Some argue Frost himself did not agree. While he questioned whether the wall between the neighbors served a good purpose, his action and labor told another story. He was one of the two neighbors in the story who helped build the wall in question – and rebuild it annually as the elements left it in disrepair.
America has never needed a “Mending Wall” more – and I believe the one we’re going to build on the southern border will be one. I also believe good fences make good neighbors. I think it’s self-evident. And if the social climate in America is any indication, we need a lot more fences to help us produce many better neighbors.