Yeah! What she says!

Yeah! What she says!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Will Iraqis Ever Live in Peace?

Many, many years ago (I was in high school) I was watching one of those silly awards shows on TV, and Whoopi Goldberg was hosting. This in and of itself is not an amazing thing, but I still remember clearly something she said. It has always stuck with me. During one of her many monologues that night, she said something to the effect that she was tired of black American's running around wearing silly hats and calling themselves African-Americans. She said, "I have been to Africa, and I am American".

The reason I brought this up is because people are now focused so much on multi-culturalism, that they have forgotten the bigger picture. At the end of the day, we are all American. When America first began we strived to be able to make our differences become something that bound us together, by being able to recognize that being different isn't a bad thing. It offers us a chance to learn about other ways of life, and other traditions, other foods, other languages. For the most part, this still holds true. Most of us have become able to accept that we are all different and the fact that we can all live together is the glue that makes this nation and it's people special. In a lot of instances I feel that tolerance and acceptance is what makes an American.

If you stop and think about it, tolerance and acceptance doesn't come naturally in the human make up. If you have ever raised children you know this. Children must be taught that someone who looks different or speaks different isn't necessarily a bad person or someone you should fear or pick on. School age children are often cruel to those who are different, and isn't until adults teach them that this isn't wrong that the cruelty stops. On occasion it doesn't stop, but most children are open to being taught this important lesson.

Many of you know that being American doesn't mean that you can't hang on to tradition and heritage, and pass that on to our children. In fact, it would be very bad thing to loose these things, and a lot of American's know this. Hanging on to tradition and culture only becomes a problem when those traditions and cultures are being impressed upon those who already have their own against their will or if it causes harm to those in your family (things like Sharia law would be a problem here as some aspects of it are very abusive).

Americans have started to develop some traditions that are distinctly ours. Those traditions, ideas, and schools of thought, are what have separated us from the rest of the world. As Americans we need to be just as proud of that as we are of being of German, Jewish, or Native American descent (those of course are just a few examples).

I have some English in my heritage (among other things), and I have been to England. I came home from England knowing that I am most certainly not English even though the two cultures are so very similar. I couldn't even begin to try and explain why I felt that way. It wasn't because I didn't have a good time or the people weren't nice. Something made me realize who I had become, and that it wasn't a bad thing to be. Just different from the rest of the world, and even from societies very similar to my own.

I hope that in time that the Iraqis will grasp this concept as well. That may be a bit much to hope for right now, but when they do they will be able to share, and learn, and most importantly live in peace. Until then....

No comments: