“To wall, or not to wall; that is the question.”

With all the political infighting, the real issue, border security, gets lost in the rhetoric.

Shouldn’t it be about opening the government and securing and protecting our borders, and creating paths to citizenship? Legislators, make this about people and not politics.

People vote for a divided government because that is the best way to keep it honest; the left doesn’t trust the right and the right doesn’t trust the left, with the middle getting frozen out because politicians are seldom rewarded when they compromise. That word suggests weakness to many who believe compromise is capitulation. Compromisers also worry their base will abandon them next time around.

Compromise should be applauded; getting along and using ideas from both sides builds bridges, not fences. It seems easy but, in Washington and Augusta, it has not been so during the last administrations.

Gov. Janet Mills took center stage last week with a message of love and outlined her first two missions for Maine: protect our environment and find a path to health care for all Mainers. The governor won’t be able to do this alone; she will need politicians coming together to form a foundation (not a wall) built around common sense and the good of the many.

The idea of negotiating using bullying and name-calling is less than ideal. From my perch, the better path is for both sides to figure out what they agree on. You take the biggest obstacles off the table, leaving them for last. The idea is that common ground becomes the foothold so when you get to the stumbling blocks, you’re feeling vested in being part of the solution.

Watching union negotiations get to the finish line is educational and satisfying. By the time you get to the “unmovable parts,” you realize both sides have gotten close to the finish by give and take and are closer on the balance of issues. Then, finding compromise on the “unmovable parts” becomes easier.

The challenge is creating a path where we all live together, with the rules. Currently Congress writes the laws and sets policies; ordinary citizens comply, while those who make the rules “for the many” live in glass houses and have a special set of rules for themselves.

How about a government shutdown including no paychecks for legislators? How about health insurance for all that is comparable to what they have? That’s not how it works; while millions of Americans go without, they are set to get raises and their health care continues unabated.


Recently, in Kerala, India, 5 million women created a 375-mile wall they called the “Woman’s Wall for Gender Justice.” They held hands in solidarity, promising to stand behind the basic human values of justice and equality for all. They stood united, vowing not to let their country “slip back to the feudal and patriarchal culture of the past.”

This is a wall of resistance that symbolically demands inclusion; a concept easy to get behind for many. It was supported by 176 progressive organizations and began near the governor’s residence; men formed another “human chain” that was parallel to the “Women’s Wall” to show solidarity.

The walls’ stated purpose was to promote gender equality and protect a recent decision by their Supreme Court allowing women of menstruating age to attend temple. While the September 2018 decision legalizes this right for women, resistance by far right conservatives, who have been trying hard to undermine the reforms by spreading “religious discord” throughout the country since the verdict, continues.

While several religious organizations called for a boycott, progressives began building steam as they came out against what they called the “right wing’s attempt to perpetuate misogyny and patriarchy” in Kerala and throughout India.

The organizers were clear they were standing up for women of India, and women throughout the world.

This “Woman’s Wall” sends a powerful message; perhaps a more powerful illustration of connection rather than protest.

By joining together, in unity, with men by their side, this human wall of women served the dual purpose of keeping them protected and bridging them together with humanity as a whole.

The movement shows the power of grassroots movements that take us forward and give hope, causing religion’s strongholds to weaken when its teachings are not based on love and equality for all people, regardless of sex, color of skin, or religious beliefs. While these walls of humanity may threaten the Hindu religion, it empowers the people.

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“We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” ― E. M. Forster, novelist (1879-1970)