I am psyched about an idea that popped into my head as I was reading an article this morning! There is a woman who lives across the street from me, and I really have nothing in common with her. Add to that the fact that she has frequently parked her car in my parking spot, sets off her car alarm periodically, and wears her pajamas to the grocery store, and you can see that she and I have nothing in common! So, here is my idea … I am going to build a moat right down the center of the street, fill it with water and stock it with alligators! The idea was actually inspired by President Obama who, in May 2011, speaking about the conservatives and their insistence on building more and more fences along the Mexican border said “They will want a higher fence. Maybe they’ll need a moat. Maybe they want alligators in the moat. They’ll never be satisfied.” Now yes, I realize he was being sarcastic, speaking tongue-in-cheek, but it is a great idea! A moat … with alligators …
What’s that you say? It won’t work? Why not? Oh … you think that neighbors should try to get along instead of building fences, walls and moats to isolate each other. Well, I used to believe that too, but then I heard some rumours that the U.S. is planning to build a wall between us and Mexico to keep out “others” … those who look, act, think and speak differently. And see … the lady across the street meets all of that criteria: a) she doesn’t look at all like me, she is short and has blonde or red hair, depending on the month; b) she doesn’t act like me, as I would never wear pajamas to the grocery; c) she obviously doesn’t think like me, as I would never take somebody else’s parking space; and d) she doesn’t speak like me, as she has a southern accent.
And anyway, everybody else is building fences and walls, so why not a moat? Even Europe has almost as many physical barriers on its national borders as it did during the Cold War. The U.S. already has a 670-mile long fence between itself and Mexico and is talking about building a wall spanning the entire 2,000-mile border! And you don’t want to let me build a little moat that would be only a few yards long?
What poem? Oh, that poem … the one by Robert Frost, titled Mending Wall. No, I don’t remember it … I never did understand poetry and don’t read much of it. What? Oh … how does that line go?
Before I built a wall I’d ask to know,
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offense.
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That wants it down.
Oh. Well, but I am not building a wall … only a moat. With alligators. Still, I rather see your point, or Mr. Frost’s point. I certainly do not want to give offense, even to the lady across the street who wears pajamas to the grocery. Sigh.
In the words of Pope Francis, “A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian.” In a world threatened by terrorism and economic disparity, building walls might seem reasonable. Yet in a world united by the Internet and intertwined economies, building walls will simply not do. The Berlin Wall came down for a reason. Kindness transcends language. Think about it.