Years ago, in 2003 exactly, I contributed to and was a member of the National Campaign for Tolerance. I was honored to have my name placed on a flat wall on which names can be inscribed. Called the “Wall of Tolerance,” it was located across the street from the Southern Poverty Law Center’s office building in Montgomery, Alabama. To have one’s name on the wall a person had to sign a pledge to work for justice and tolerance and against hate. After signing that pledge, the National Campaign co-chairs, Morris Dees, co-founder of SPLC, and Rosa Parks (1913-2005) of Civil Rights fame signed their names to a certificate that declared my membership in the National Campaign for Tolerance. Today, the “Wall of Tolerance” is one of the exhibit areas in the Montgomery Civil Rights Memorial Center where there is now a wall that allows visitors to digitally sign a pledge to work for justice and tolerance.
Thinking of that wall, I wonder if tolerance (open-mindedness, broadmindedness, and acceptance) is something that Americans embrace. Most days while reading or listening to the news, it seems that many individuals, families, groups, and people in general put invisible walls around themselves. Rather than be open to communicating with people different from themselves (in ideas, culture, and beliefs), they choose to be close-minded and intolerant.
The close-minded intolerance of the Trump administration is certainly evident today and has been since the presidential campaign and the election. I’m so tired of Trump’s maga rallies and calls for more than five billion dollars for a wall/barrier/fence/ on the U.S. southern border that I hate hearing or reading the news. His maga mantra is just another way to say: “Keep America as white as possible; don’t admit people of color.” I wish there was a way to make him STFU! But he undoubtedly will continue to twitter away to please Rush Limbaugh, radio show host; Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, and other trumpsters on cable’s Fox “News,” plus the (possibly dwindling) masses of maga hatters at Trump rallies.
At the moment, as the entire nation knows, we are in the midst of Trump’s partial shutdown of the U.S. government. He declared today, January 23, 2019, that he would not reopen the government until Congress approves more than $5 billion in funding for his wall in spite of the fact that 61 percent of Americans think the border can be secured without it, and 71 percent say the border wall is not worth a government shutdown. Trump is also unwavering in his determination to give a State of the Union address at the House Chamber. “As speaker, it is Pelosi’s prerogative to invite the President to deliver the annual address,” CNN reported. “Both the House and the Senate would need to pass resolutions convening a Joint Session of Congress before the President’s appearance. And it’s not yet clear — despite Trump’s insistence he would be appearing in the Capitol next Tuesday — whether Pelosi would take the required steps.” As Pelosi said, “stay tuned.”