Last night we watched a documentary on one of the dates that this film maker believes is part of the “10 Days that Changed the World”. Each of these dates had to do with the roots of greed, childish conclusions, and not taking “no” for an answer. And they were about various stages of the history of the U.S.
It all made me wonder, “When did we, as a nation, become so into ourselves that nothing else really mattered?” I come to this question because the film documentary lays out this conclusion in each of the episodes – Shay’s Rebellion, Antetum, and the Gold Rush. It seems we might have been founded on the principle that we have the right to do whatever we want at the exclusion of everyone else…that makes me uncomfortable in the core of my being.
The first time I became aware of this issue was when I was 19 and I took the bus to Montreal Canada. It didn’t seem like that long of a bus ride, but then it’s been awhile since I was 19.
Montreal woke up my mind, my senses and my thinking. I was searched at the border before I left the U.S. Everything was in French so I had to try to translate menus, door signs, and everything else that was written down. That also meant that their history was different from mine as well. The Queen of England was big news in Montreal. I’d barely heard of her in those days. The money was different and there was something called an exchange rate. I wasn’t allowed to have a cold drink in the bar because I was a woman.
Trips to other places later in life brought on more of this new thinking…Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Mexico, Russia, China, Germany, and many more destinations. Each place has different ways of cooking, different foods, different ideas about governance, and they all seemed to love their kids.
Every time I came back from one of those amazing places I was changed by that travel experience. There were new words in my everyday speech, new recipes, new thoughts, and sometimes new tools for cooking or making things. The biggest change was that my mind was opened wider and wider by meeting new people and exchanging ideas. At some point my mind was opened so wide that I became a citizen of the world and there was no going back to being just an “American”.
Maybe this traveling to new places, and getting to know folks has some merit for creating peace in the world. If all of our kids had to go somewhere new each summer while they’re in school, and it was paid for with tax dollars, so there is no barrier to going, I can’t even imagine how this would change the selfishness of the policies of this nation.
For one thing we’d hold our own language to be very dear because we’d have to learn to speak other languages – really speak them. Our systems would become stronger, and our kids happier because everyone would see that there is more then one way of solving our challenges. And, we’d finally see that we don’t have a corner on the market for loving our kids, worshipping God, or enjoying life.
Now if only I were the one in charge…but I’m not in charge of anything but “me”. So, in spite of living in a country that is rich in resources and poor in the happiness factor, I can walk my own steps of peace by following what I believe. And I believe that we all need each other so I vow to work from this premise every day of my life.