My husband (who fought in Desert Storm) and I were talking( on our way back from having blood taken at 7 am by perky, perfectly lovely young women with long needles), about this country we now call America. We were a bit light headed from lack of food and somehow in between crazy songs and funny saying he brought up the anger he felt at our country changing it’s ways for the immigrants. He believe’s that if you come to America, you blend into America. We both agreed we love some of their culture coming with them. We love our friends from India and our friends from South America with very thick accents that have to be repeated at times to be understood. I find that really charming. Our Aussie friends who have some really arrogant stands on America, are nevertheless appreciative of what they have here.We have had some lively discussions at times but I always felt like they knew what made America great.
I love that America has diversity. I love that people from all over the world come in awe of the blessings we have here. My husband and I agreed that we love to share with those who love America. We also both feel strongly that if you come here and your bashing America and using her and abusing her and you want her to become the country you left then this isn’t the place for you. There is that saying “When in Rome do as the Romans do.” This is America. We don’t need to change for you. We don’t need to learn to speak your language because we speak English here. When we have traveled to your countries we tried to speak your language. We carried our dictionary with your language in it and we gave it our best. I loved my time living in Mexico. I respected their ideals and funny ways even if I didn’t agree with them or understand them. I didn’t attempt to change them. It was their country and their generations of traditions. I hated the bull fighting. I hated the Insane asylum’s becoming the citizens folly, by laughing at those poor people behind the glass. I hated that some of the people we met (Desembuqi Indians) ate their dogs. I cried a lot about many things. BUT out of respect for the country I was living in I kept my beliefs to myself. I just tried to see all the good in those beautiful families that I was privy to stay with. There was so much good there. Such loving hearts, we had much common ground and I wanted peace while I lived there. I followed their traditions and their laws and I respected their beliefs. My husband and I are seeing way too many stories on the news and the internet of cultures and religious beliefs coming here and wanting to change our beliefs. We both feel you can practice your religion or your beliefs peacefully and respectfully in America, it’s called freedom, but don’t bash my beliefs. Don’t “take down a cross” because it is offending our Muslim citizens. Practice your peaceful Islam and we will be fine. Come after our time honored American Christian beliefs and freedoms and we have a problem.
The photograph is one I took while visiting small town USA. It has old license plates from the states nailed to a fence and that grizzled old face with a shot gun looking over at the parking lot. It freaked me out and yet it fascinated me too. I think the political climate is ripe for a Donald Trump. He fires up the anger and the fear and he preys on the differences between us. I for one am not feeling safe with the choice that America seems to be making for our next President. I am frankly frightened by the ramifications of a Trump in office. I don’t understand where many are coming from on this most important issue.BUT there is nothing to do but wait and pray and hope that this time next year we will still recognize our beautiful country. In the meantime I want to end with something a beautiful saint named Mother Teresa said “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to one another.” I’m going to remind myself of this over and over. I am going to try to error on the side of kindness and tolerance and not try too hard to judge anyone. Rather I am going to try to just pray for those who frighten me with their rederick and give those who aren’t like me the benefit of the doubt in actions that seem hostile to me and my beliefs. Even a Donald Trump supporter in Christian clothing on Sunday morning. Even a Muslim who refuses to acknowledge a friendly greeting on the street. Even an angry man with a picket sign of an aborted fetus calling out “murderers.” I don’t know these people and what led them up to that one moment in time with me. Perhaps they lost everything, perhaps they have been beaten and broken by their own. I only ask for eyes to see them with compassion. Hurting people hurt other people. It’s the nature of fear.
America is changing and with that change the only thing I can do is change too. I want to get larger than life in kindness. I want to become more loving. I want to have courage and believe in goodness. I want to bring peace no matter what is swirling all around me.