Maginot Line: Have You Drawn Your Line in the Sand? And Do You Cross It?


We all have limits of one kind or another. 

You won’t pay more than X dollars for a pastry while I won’t pay Y dollars for valet parking. And what’s your limit on a haircut and coloring? 

You might not buy a car manufactured in Germany or China or go on a vacation to Russia or Florida because of your political beliefs. Someone else may never or rarely come to New York City because they think everyone there is loud, bossy and rude. 

You might not visit a certain art museum because it took down a neighboring building you loved. What do you do when there’s an exhibit there you really want to see? 

Oh, the lines we draw in the sand. 

Do you—or they--always follow through or backpedal at certain times for this or that reason? In other words, do you redraw your line? And, if so, do you share such beliefs out loud and with all or some friends or keep such ideas to yourself? 

It’s hard sometimes making such decisions and holding to them. BMWs, which used to be manufactured in Germany, are now made in five different manufacturing facilities, including Germany, plus Mexico, China, South America and the U.S. If you really want a Beemer can you find one totally made in one place? The parts might come from various parts of the world. 

What about clothing? So much used to be manufactured in Vietnam as were many other items. Now, onshore manufacturing is returning to the States, so some goods won’t be an issue if you hold such beliefs. 

Our beliefs often shift with time. 

We can be angry with any foreign entity and even our own U.S.A. for whatever reasons we hold dear. But are we going to start examining all labels to determine where items are made? We might and that’s fine if we want to spend hours that way. 

Here’s another example of having beliefs and then maybe wavering a bit. Consider this. So many colleges and universities used to have quotas that limited or didn’t allow certain ethnic and religious groups. So, should anyone from one of those institutions hold that against them and for how long?

What about the many clubs and hotels that used to exclude certain people from membership or visits? Does that mean if they changed their policies, we boycott them? And for how long? Is there a statute of limitations? And even food causes us to draw lines. No red meat for some for health reasons; no lobster or shrimp for others for religious reasons. But then that lobster roll in Maine while on vacation calls out your name? Just one, you decide!

With age, we’ve come to believe that it’s great to have strong convictions—whatever they are. It’s also fine to make exceptions and for whatever reason we want. It’s really hard, we think, to be so dogmatic that we won’t move our line. Yet, we understand those who won’t for whatever reasons. 

It’s also so liberating to do so, as writer Andi Zeister stated in her Op-Ed New York Times piece, “Barbie Has Never Been a Great Symbol, but She’s an Excellent Mirror" (Saturday, July 22, 2023). She wrote, “When I saw the finished film, I realized that in the course of my life I had gone from a guileless Barbie consumer to an enlightened Barbie renouncer to an unwitting Barbie PR booster.”

The concept of not crossing the Maginot Line dates from after the First World War when it was a line along the French border to keep out the Germans. But German troops had crossed the supposedly impenetrable line and met little opposition.

What lesson does that teach us? Does it make it okay to cross our own line? It’s fine to have a physical boundary or metaphorical line we don’t cross, we think. That’s up to every individual. However, changes occur for a host of reasons, and it’s up to us to choose whether to stay put or move the line forward. 

Decide what matters most to you and follow that course. If you cross a line—losing your temper when you said you wouldn’t (again) or buying that expensive handbag made in China because you just had to have it (and you were anti-Chinese products), be aware of what you’re doing. And by the way, the expensive handbag purchase brings up another line, the bottom one. Is this one we care to cross? It’s up to you and your finances.

Perhaps, the lesson to take away is that it’s fine to draw some lines if you want or must but be willing over time to evaluate and alter them. That shows you’re evolving and rethinking your core values, and we highly recommend that periodically.


1 comment

  • Audrey Steuer

    Excellent and so timely for me!

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