Dr. Bob Townsend on the Meaning of Walls
In my home I have a Grandfather Clock with a built in display case. I keep things on display that mean something to me and my journey in life- my first flight log, a native flute, a piece of copper from the UP. There is even an alligator head from my time in Florida and my kit for tying flies.
This came for me a day or two ago- a simple piece of broken concrete and some graffiti. Remains of the Berlin Wall. Walls to me represent repression and fear, I’ve thought often about my feelings as I saw this wall come down. With all the talk of walls now, I got this for my Clock display. Someday, I hope to have a piece of the DMZ between North and South Korea.
I was in the military when this stood as a barrier between the Free West and the Communist East. It was called the ‘Anti-Fascist Wall’ to prevent an invasion from the decadent West, but as we know walls are better at keeping people in rather than keeping them out. Despite this wall, more than 5000 people escaped to freedom, and 200 more lost their lives in the ‘Death Zone’ it guarded. America is not a country of walls. I do not want my grand children to have a piece of an American Wall on their desks or in their clocks. Walls are not part of the vision of the future we share as the People of the 97th District, or citizens of Michigan. For those of us that served our country, this was not part of our vision of the future.
If the voters of the 97th District decide to send me to Lansing, I’ll bring this with me and keep it on my desk to remind me what we should do to all walls and other barriers we find. I will do my best to dismantle the walls and barriers we face as we live our lives, raise our children and provide for our families.
Dr. Robert Townsend