Bullying tactics create a psychological wall
Most of the world by now is aware of the highly controversial wall that Donald Trump hopes to build between the United States and Mexico. He will do it, as he says, to protect Americans from illegal immigrants, whom he described in terms that were far from complimentary. This move touched off reaction within America, and around the world, as it seemed totally contrary to the values the nation was founded on: common human rights for all.
The mere mention of a wall, which may cost billions to erect, has created divisiveness throughout the States just as the new administration is embroiled in immigration policies to put up the shutters for people from some parts of the world who have been deemed as potential threats with concern focused on countries with large Muslim populations. The initial order signed by the President not only touched off rage throughout most of the country, but was considered a violation of the Constitution, resulting in a federal judge blocking its implementation.Needless to say, the Trump Administration was furious, and is in the process of drafting a new policy that it hopes will survive legal scrutiny, even though an army of lawyers representing opponents to such a policy are waiting to see what is produced. It would seem another court battle for the President could be in the works.With not even two months under his belt as the nation's new commander-in-chief, it is no secret that the dreaded word “impeachment” is being tossed around in hostile town hall meetings, as Republicans attempt to explain Trump's objectives.What many observers have described as the President's bullying tactics has resulted in building a psychological wall in America that could be more difficult to remove than erecting the multibillion-dollar wall to keep the Mexicans out. It was a seven-year-old boy who condemned building such a wall because he and his family like Mexicans and said it was wrong. His remarks at a town hall meeting travelled the globe in seconds. It may or may not make a difference, but there is merit in building bridges to unite, instead of walls to divide.If only adults could learn from many of our young people from different backgrounds and cultures who are learning that real progress is made by a willingness to solve problems together despite differences of opinion.In Bermuda, most of us have seen groups of teenagers weighed down with camping supplies as part of the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme to promote better understanding, along with building character in meeting the challenges of life.These youngsters from all races and ethnic origins in the process learn that working through differences will enable them as a team to meet objectives successfully. That is a key ingredient that many adults in various capacities of government and community life need to be more aware of. We live in a time of so much confrontation over issues that working things out together is often seen as a sign of weakness, simply because one group may have to alter an approach in the interest of seeking a solution that will benefit all.The Boy Scout movement in Bermuda many decades ago was a significant learning centre for discipline and respect, and some of us still remember experiences that helped to pave the way to meet challenges later in life. Of course, those were the days when discipline was alive and kicking throughout Bermuda life. I recall while camping at Whale Bay, Southampton, with the First Hamilton troop that we were assigned to complete what was called a B line for a visiting official.The objective was to reach a point designated by the official without deviation, and to do so meant negotiating rocks of all shapes along a treacherous shoreline. There was perhaps a certain amount of risk, but we were doing it as a team. I have to admit after all these years that there were moments when jumping from one rock to another left me wondering whether I would be around for the evening meal. When it ended successfully, we all felt as though we had earned marine status. The important lesson was that doing things together and looking out for each other was not only good for that exercise, but would be essential in how we dealt with challenges later in life.Much has changed in Bermuda since those days, but the golden rule of working closer together to solve crucial community problems will never change. Most want a better and safer Bermuda, but there are no short cuts to that objective. If you are not a part of the solution, it only means that objective will take longer to reach. We must, like those youngsters in the award scheme, operate as a team. Adopting that tactic will give success a chance.