On the occasion of the 750th anniversary of Berlin, June 12, 1987, President Ronald Reagan delivered this exhortation in a speech at the Brandenburg Gate near the Berlin Wall,
“Mr. Gorbachev, Tear Down This Wall.”
The nations listed below are currently engaged in building walls on the borders with their neighbors in an attempt to keep unwelcome guests out:
Bulgaria with Turkey
India with Bangladesh
Israel with the West Bank
Saudi Arabia with Iraq and Yemen
Tunisia with Libya
Turkey with Syria
The USA with Mexico.
These walls stand as monuments to failure. Hopefully, they will stand only as a short term solution. I trust that behind the scenes, bridge builders are making every effort to make these monuments unnecessary. One day courageous leaders will stand in each of these wall-building nations and in the spirit of Ronald Reagan deliver an impassioned exhortation, “Tear down this wall!”
Leadership is about tearing down walls, building bridges and, at times, becoming the bridge.
Joanne and I and a team from our region recently returned from a month of ministry in Kenya. International travel is an eye-opening experience. Everywhere I have ever traveled internationally I have met bridge builders. These are humble, low key, behind the scenes folks who represent religious groups, service organizations, foundations, NGOs, governments, etc. They are faithfully and diligently working to build relational bridges between peoples, religions, cultures, and nations.
I am saddened when I hear wannabe political leaders advocate the building of walls. Walls may temporarily address an issue. Walls do not provide a long term solution.
Joanne and I have been developing and enjoying relationships with Mexicans both here in the USA and Mexico for almost 25 years. We have seen many significant changes over the years. Current reports from a number of various sources now affirm that more Mexicans are returning to Mexico than coming to the USA. I believe that a couple of reasons for this new trend is growing prosperity and expanding economic opportunities in Mexico.
The good news is that I, as a new citizen, will be able to vote for the next president of the USA. The sad news is that I am yet to be inspired by any of the candidates running for that office. I am looking for courageous, moral, intelligent, inspirational leadership. As a leader and a bridge-builder, I desire to follow leaders who will highlight the work of bridge builders, and who will become an advocate and a catalyst for building bridges with other peoples, religions, cultures, and nations.
Good leaders become supportive followers for great leaders. Bridge builders are looking for political leaders who are themselves bridge-builders. While wall builders seem content to simply exploit fear for their own political gain, bridge builders are optimistic people of faith who are diligently serving for the betterment of humanity.