Life After Lockdown: The Thing About Borders

Places des Vosges, locked during confinement. Paris will be off limits for American tourists until further notice. ©Lisa Anselmo

This Music Monday is all about borders. (Song link at bottom of post.)

“E.U. Plans to Bar Most U.S. Travelers When Bloc Reopens” declared a New York Times headline. “N.Y., N.J., Connecticut Impose Quarantines For Visitors From Coronavirus Hotspots” said NPR. My heart sank. The virus, and our reaction to it, was putting up walls, segregating us into zones, barring us from free travel. And these two particular restrictions feel really personal. My sister lives in on of those “hotspots,” and my fellow citizens were being shut out from all of Europe.

Sure, in the case of Covid-19, it seems prudent enough to want close borders to those coming from places where outbreaks have not been controlled. Maybe it’s not practical or economical to verify people on an individual basis—but maybe it’s also partly politically motivated. These days it’s hard to tell. Borders and boundaries can make us feel safe, especially when we’re all on edge, like now. But are we losing our compassion for those who are being kept on the outside?

Mask vs. anti-mask, liberals vs. conservatives, red states, blue states. Even something that shouldn’t be divisive—equality—is creating heated debate on Facebook. It’s like we can’t stop taking sides. Me over here, you over there. And don’t cross the line. Is it fear of contagion putting up walls, or is the pandemic just amplifying natural tendencies?

Borders are only lines we draw, an illusion of separateness. But we all share the same hopes and fears, just as we all share the same planet. To create a truly safer world, that is to say one that is safe for every child no matter who they are or where they live, we need to find common ground instead of separate turf.


Music Monday

The words to this song are, sadly, as relevant as ever, which is why I chose it this week.

Border Song, by Elton John and Bernie Taupin; vocals by Lisa Anselmo


Listen to all the Music Monday offerings here.


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On the bookshelf

Audiobook recorded by the author. 4.5 stars on Amazon. Click book to buy.


15 responses to “Life After Lockdown: The Thing About Borders

  1. Yes, masks are now a part of the political divide. Increased incidents of scuffles in stores regarding the rule to wear one. California governor just yesterday declared all bars closed again in Los Angeles because social distancing is not adhered to. At 80, I rarely leave my home. But, I am fortunate to have a large front and backyard. Nature is only a step away.

    • It’s a blessing to have a garden. I didn’t realize bars were closed again there. Here, I see a lot of infractions at restaurants and in the streets, but laws are rarely enforced. We have to look our for ourselves.

  2. Is there a reason you use such small print? I am older and have a great deal of trouble reading such small print. I have to copy it and then use a bigger font to be able to read it without straining. Just a thought….. As to your thoughts for today, I agree that we are divided and divisive, but when you are trying to keep a whole country of people safe, I think it wise to keep out those who have not controlled the issue as well and could wreak havoc with your population. Considering how dangerous this virus is, it makes sense to me. We don’t always get exactly what we want….

    • I’m sorry about the text size. I can’t control that; it’s the template. But you can usually hit Command and + to increase the text size online. I’m not sure what kind of computer you have. I do understand about banning entry for certain areas but isn’t it a shame that we can’t get the United States United in the handling of Covid? Same problem in the EU. Every country did their one thing. What’s the point of being a union? 😂

      • On my window 10 computer., instead of Command + it’s Ctrl +. If I use the “Windows” key and +, the screen is magnified 20 times and is unreadable.

  3. My text size is fine. I was just wondering how the “travel permissions” affect you. Can you even fly back to the US right now if you wanted? I guess I mean – are there actually flights? And then if you got here, would you have to stay here until permissions to go back to Paris were allowed? This situation was certainly not on the table when buying property in Paris!

    • I can fly if I want to, and can get a flight. Only certain airports are set up to accept travelers, so Charles de Gaulles and I think JFK in NYC. I have a visa to live in France, which I assume allows me to re-enter if I went back to NYC. There are other things to consider, thought, like do I want to be on a plane for 8 hours, crammed into Customs at JFK for a few more hours. Also, if I go, now is probably better than in the fall since numbers are down both in France and in NYC. Lots to reflect on. Regarding the type size, what I mean is that you can enlarge it per website as you need if one site has smaller type. It’s adjustable, I guess is my point. A kind commenter here, Jim, has explained how he does it.

  4. My professionnel life is suffering greatly because of the Covid and quarantines so I know what you mean. But quite obviously, looking at what is happening in the States or other countries, I understand the need to keep some frontiers closed right now. We need people to think collectively. As long as individuals will remain certain that wearing a mask goes against their own freedom, they can’t be trusted to visit other countries.
    And I think many of us here agree with your last comment about the point of being a Union when every countries in Europe made separate decisions. Just like each States in America choosing a different approach than its neighbour… Go figure!!

    • Yes, it’s been frustrating here same as in the States. If we think more about the fact that we SHARE borders rather than are separated by them, we’d naturally do things in concert. What happens over there will naturally happen here. We can learn from those who have done a good job containing things, but even that didn’t happen here. We should have all looked to Asia for the answers but no one did.

      • The simple fact no country has the same public health service probably makes the fight complicated on a united worldwide scale.
        Asia was the first place to experience the coronavirus, impose lockdowns and then emerge from them. It was also the first to experience new groups of infections, with clusters from nightclubs in Seoul, the Russia-China border, and elsewhere. Borders have a significant role to play.

  5. I didn’t take your comments about borders literally, I thought the borders you were referring to are the ones we construct in our minds. The problem with fear and uncertainty is that it is very easy to quickly harden our views, and then if the other side does the same its a race to the bottom. I am trying to use the experience of Covid to be a little less opinionated (not an easy habit to break!) and to think in a more compassionate way about why some people behave in a certain way or believe things which I do not. X

    • Well, yes, I’m always speaking figuratively, as well. It’s my thing. And you get it, so that’s awesome. Why not use this time of strife to push ourselves to grow?

  6. It’s an interesting quandary: which borders do we put on ourselves or that are imposed by societal norms should we heed or ignore? Which borders are for the common good, and what do we do if we disagree with them? It all can make for a heated “Yes, *but*” discussion–or 5.

    Meanwhile, here in Melbourne, individual postcodes have been put back to Stage 3 lockdown because of localized breakouts (people hired as security for quarantine hotels apparently didn’t follow distancing guidelines and spread the virus to their families). We all have to be very careful not to be derisive of “you people from (xyz) suburb”–we don’t need any more idealogical borders, regardless of the source of the contagion.


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