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Chester County Press

Building bridges, not walls

05/09/2016 12:20PM ● By Steven Hoffman

Kennett Square Borough officials recently welcomed guests from Moroleón, Mexico as the two towns signed an agreement to formalize a relationship as twin cities.

Kennett Square mayor Matthew Fetick explained at the signing that the borough and Moroleón have long been connected by the people who traveled from the city of 50,000, known as a textile manufacturing center, to Kennett Square to work in the mushroom industry. Many of those people eventually settled in the area and started families, firmly planting their roots in southern Chester County. The Kennett Square area has been enriched by its cultural diversity, and Fetick talked about how the community has always been good about building bridges.

Contrast the concept of building bridges with presidential candidate Donald Trump’s speeches on the campaign trail about building a border wall between the United States and Mexico. Trump’s proposal has been met with a considerable amount of skepticism—and disbelief that he would ever, or could ever, move forward with such a proposal.

If Trump has proven one thing during his stunning takeover of the Republican Primary process, it is that he is an undeniable master of campaign rhetoric, which he illustrated during his local stop at West Chester University. Take campaign rhetoric for what it's worth—usually not much. But Trump’s proposal to put up walls or to ban all Muslims entering the U.S. should be taken seriously because he will very likely be the Republican nominee when this odd Primary season finally comes to an end, and because the xenophobic and misogynistic ideas that Trump is espousing could lead to both policy and practice if he wins the election in November.

For us, we'd rather hear about building bridges, not walls. Walls only get celebrated when they come down.

When the honored guests from Moroleón visited Kennett Square, there wasn't a person who witnessed the event who didn't think that the collaboration and camaraderie was a good thing. There wasn't a person involved who didn't come away with the realization that the people of Moroleón share many more things in common with the citizens of Kennett Square than they have differences. Once you come to that realization, it's a lot easier to build a bridge and a lot more difficult to put up a wall.