EDITOR’S COLUMN: The World According to Dominic

“Building Walls – A Dangerous, Destructive Notion”

I’ve always enjoyed poetry – observing the way writers put words together that paint pictures, ultimately sharing a message whose origins can be traced to the heart, mind and soul.

As my education continued throughout my formative years, I eventually assembled a list of those who stood at the top of my list of favorites – a pantheon of Black poets that included talented wordsmiths like Gwendolyn Brooks, Nikki Giovanni, Amiri Baraka, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Langston Hughes and Countee Cullen – even Tupac Shakur.

However, one of the very first poets to whom I was introduced when I was just a second grader was the American Robert Lee Frost, whose parents were an Irish immigrant and a descendant of England. Frost often used rural New England as his background and went on to win the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. Over 40 years later, one of works, “Mending Walls,” still has a profound impact on how I envision the world.

One line from that poem helps me challenge a troubling campaign promise posed by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump: “Good fences make good neighbors.” In other words, Frost believed that while fences were necessary to delineate the differences of ownership in property, that they also allowed access by both sides. They could be opened when desired. They could serve as a means of inviting another onto one’s land and into their home.

Trump wants a wall to be built between the U.S. and Mexico. He says it must be constructed immediately to protect Americans from dangerous, criminally-minded foreigners who now live in Mexico.

But walls don’t only keep others out – they also keep those who live within their confines locked up and isolated. They keep those who believe that they’re safer because they live behind the wall from experiencing the rest of the world in all of its beautiful diversity.

Sometimes a wall may be necessary for survival like the Great Wall of China, erected to protect the people from raids and invasions of nomadic groups. But then there are other walls, like the Berlin Wall, which once separated East and West Germany and stood as a symbol of the oppressive Soviet regime before it saner minds decided to tear it down after its 25-year history of fear, dominance and death.

Building walls may make sense in certain instances. But I’d rather build a fence.

Trump has it all wrong. And it was Robert Frost who first helped me understand the difference between fences and walls.

About D. Kevin McNeir – Washington Informer Editor 158 Articles

Award-winning journalist, book editor, voice-over specialist and author with 17 years in the industry. Currently an education and religion beat reporter for The Washington Informer. But I also tackle local (D.C. and Maryland) politics, entertainment, business and health articles to maintain my edge.

Born and raised in Motown and a staunch Wolverine – that is a graduate of the University of Michigan, I left corporate America (IBM) to pursue my passion for writing, accepting a beat reporter’s gig under the tutelage of the late Sam Logan, founding publisher of the Michigan Chronicle. I continued to hone my craft at N’DIGO Magapaper, Windy City Times and The Wednesday Journal, all in Chicagoland; the Atlanta Voice and The Miami Times. I’ve been fortunate to be chosen twice as the Feature Writer of the Year by the Chicago Association of Black Journalists. Later, as the senior editor of one of the country’s oldest Black-owned newspapers, The Miami Times, I helped my staff bring home the NNPA’s highest honor – Publication of the Year, 2001. That same year I picked up first and second place awards for news and feature writing, respectively, also from the NNPA.

Today I’m based in the nation’s capital where I’m honored to serve as the editor for The Washington Informer. Recognizing the importance of education, I’ve earned two master’s degrees from Emory University, Summa Cum Laude and Princeton Theological Seminary, majoring in theology and philosophy.

If I can slow down, I may actually complete and publish a collection of essays I’ve been working on for many years, “Growing up Motown,” sharing childhood memories of experiences with musical legends like Marvin Gaye, Kim Weston, the Four Tops, the Miracles, Gladys Knight and Take Six. My favorite foods: spinach, lasagna, pancakes and Oysters Rockefeller. My mom, 86, always my “best friend” and “cheerleader,” now lives with me and she brings me great joy. I’m a fiercely protective yet encouraging father and grandfather always down for traveling, shopping or celebrating the natural beauty of God’s world. I live by the following words: “Less is more” and “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

You can reach me on Twitter (@dkevinmcneir), Facebook (Kevin McNeir) or via e-mail, mcneirdk@washingtoninformer.com