Sunday, January 18, 2009

Walls and Bridges

Though I am certainly glad to see Barack Obama take the Oath of Office and begin his term as President, I can't say I feel the same about the ceremony itself. Security for the Inauguration has been, in my opinion, excessively restrictive and needlessly obsessive. Much of it is due to a lack of advance preparation--had the local police and Homeland Security given the DC area a long time to prepare well ahead of time, then there wouldn't have been as many problems afoot. As it stands, the grand plan has been doled out, piece-meal, bit by bit over the past month. Each day brings a new wrinkle or modification of what came before, which has lead to confusion bordering on anarchy.

And in contemplating this, I was reminded of the Robert Frost poem "Mending-Wall".

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.'

I began to think about the nature of walls. For example, there are walls separating Israel from the Palestinians. Some propose that we build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico to keep out illegal immigrants. Then there are the metaphorical and literal walls we build between ourselves for whatever reason or other. I'm sure one could expand the discussion to incorporate any number of historical allusions or personal anecdotes about the nature of walls, fences, or boundaries.

Something there is that doesn't love a wall.

We build boundaries between ourselves for the sake of self-preservation, but God or fate or nature manages to tear away at them, necessitating we mend the walls of our own construction on a constant basis. In the end, why do we persist?

Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out


Gail said...

Wow, this is quite deep or thick is a better word. Your words certainly got me thinking.
I could go on forever on this one...... walls,.

Love Gail

Mauigirl said...

Great post - I agree. I forgot about the Robert Frost poem, it is very pertinent.

Baxter just posted over at my place and talked about the same thing - how putting up divisions between people is a bad thing.

PENolan said...

I've always loved that poem, and I've been thinking about you all day.