Frost says: 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 offence. Something there is that doesn’t love a wall, that wants it down!
A wall can have many useful purposes in a society like the heartbreakingly beautiful Vietnam Memorial. A well insulated wall protects us from winter and retains heat in our homes.
We seem to imagine, however, that walls will protect us from endemic social conditions like terrorism, drugs, illegal immigration, health pandemics and crime. We believe that a properly built wall will keep these elements at bay or at best hide them from view. We are wrong. It does neither. It gives us a false sense of security, a feeling that we are doing something real when we are not. And while there are admittedly people who must be kept behind walls forever in our society, we now have more people locked away per capita than any other nation on earth, including the more repressive regimes of
We are building a wall between parts of
We believe that building walls will make us safe when that which elicits our worst fears often lives among or even within us.
I would argue that the $130M we spend in Vermont each year keeping prisoners behind walls could be put to better use, but only if we are willing to let non-violent offenders live and work in our communities and find their way back to being productive citizens. Programs like Reparative Justice, Teen Challenge, Court Diversion, Dismas House, Vermont Youth Conservation Corps, Vermont Works for Women, Spectrum and several other programs without walls have proven cost-effective.
As a nation will we eventually find ourselves walled in by our own fears? In