As I listen to the back and forth on this issue, it occurs to me that the opinion is out there (I’ll say way out there, but for others it is not so far) that the foundation of the united states is corrupt. I think that there are at least a few that feel that overthrowing a “white supremacist” government and restarting the country with a “more moral foundation” would be a noble path forward that would channel a lot of energy – a complete rejection and break from the past. And then, I reflect on the other alt-right side that seems to want to take down the government (or weaken it) from within (hire people who have wanted to destroy agencies to lead them, etc.). With both of these movements given voice, we (define we here, but maybe I mean those caught in the middle) try to ensure that most people can live happy productive lives in the limited environment that surrounds us.
So, here I would argue that physical walls are for the most part (again avoiding absolutism) a really bad idea. If in a moment of tension, we weaken to the point that strong government does step in, the walls become our own prison that we have built for ourselves. It is much better to resolve issues with words and kind diplomatic gestures than to create barriers for ourselves to get in and out of our own homes. It is a challenge (that can be practiced daily) to learn to resolve conflicts oneself without violence or threat of violence, to develop the presence that allows our own individual peace and will to be able to find and express itself. Vine Deloria, Jr. made an argument in his book that “Geography is often used to trump history.” This statement is often true about Native American history – the displacement of the Native Americans to reservations, about segregation – the separation of people with imagined possibly different agendas, about prisons – the building of walls to separate crime from the everyday world, and ultimately about political geography. Nations build and defend borders to protect their way of life; often displacing those that interfere with it. Deloria’s statement is a military statement. If one would rather see nonmilitary solutions to conflicts then, perhaps, extending this provocative thought, we should try to increase our level of tolerance for discomfort with other people’s histories.