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.
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.
On the bookshelf