Our lives are contained within all sorts of boundaries: property lines, national borders, fences, sexual mores, personal space, taboos and on and on. We matter of factly accept them just as we accept that a greenish piece of paper has value as a medium of exchange. Boundaries are a necessary aspect of human existence. Without them life would devolve into anarchy and chaos.
However, because of the present state of the earth and the immense population now riding this orb -- are national boundaries as absolutes healthy for us moving forward? I think a perusal of the history of the rise of the city-state in medieval Europe would be enlightening considering "GOP Presidential Front-runner," chatty Misogynist and shallow Nationalist, Donald Trump, is proposing a really big wall on our southern border with Mexico.
I have recently been reading Barbara Tuchman's 'A Distant Mirror.' Mrs. Tuchman follows a guy named Enguerrand around as he participates in the ravaging and pillaging of one city-state or another in a "period of anguish when there is no sense of an assured future" -- sound familiar?
The land of the middle ages was overrun with brigands and tyrants and religious zealots and ecclesiastical predators and bullies -- it was really necessary to build thick, high walls to prevent your home from being sacked and burned and your women from being raped after you returned home from sacking and burning other people's homes and raping other people's women or after your local pastor had bedded the daughter of a burgher of a nearby city state after burning her father at the stake.
During this period central governments were weak.. The merchant classes banded together for protection and to ensure and secure property rights because the larger, central governments couldn't or wouldn't. However, the concept of property rights was very subjective and fluid. Sometimes the other guy's property was so attractive that taking it by force was the only logical course of action. As a result, all hell broke loose. "Man had lost confidence in his capacity to construct a good society." Again, sound familiar?
Donald Trump and the Republican Conservative Right represent the spirit of the Middle Ages. Their answer to the current state of things is to separate and build walls. And, just like their fourteenth century counterparts, they want to sally out from behind their walls and make war and pillage the environment. Just like their medieval twins, they refuse to accept that the global commons belong to all of us and are willing to lay waste to them to get what they want.
When the medieval armies raged forth from their enclosures they were typically led by an ecclesiastical validator: flags of crosses, priests in armor, an enraptured, insane holy man... Again, sound familiar?
The wall that Trump proposes in my state dramatically exposes the dire simplicity of his thought. For over four hundred years the frontera between what is now Texas and Mexico has been very porous and fluid. South Texas has always been a cross-cultural area. Families live on both sides of the border. The real question should be -- where does Mexico end and Texas begin?
Where does Mexico end and Texas begin? Where does any boundary between peoples really begin and end? Boundaries are artificial and, unfortunately, necessary. However if the strife of the Middle Ages tells us anything it is that boundaries also create a dangerous and provocative separation. I believe that for the planet to be successful going forward boundaries must be seen as gateways instead of blockades. The dilemma for Conservative Christians going forward is whether to follow the Way of Christ: brother and sisterhood, or the Way of Trump -- isolation and strife.