The World is on fire. Literally. The air is full of smoke and several devastating fires are ripping through some of the most beautiful parts of Oregon. Elsewhere in the Nation, hurricanes and tropical storms are flooding homes and destroying lives. And these devastating events just seem to be rising to the occasion of setting the ambiance for the rest of the Country in its current state.
I try not to get too political on here. (ok, yes, I haven’t posted anything on here in a RATHER long time) but lately my heart is feeling so heavy. I’ve always embraced the idea that being an American comes with a certain responsibility: First and foremost we must be Citizens of the World. Because we can be. We have that freedom. And because we can, we MUST. We need to ask BIG questions, we have to be curious, embrace new ideas, collaborate, explore, look at the big picture, create, be open to a new way of doing things, be respectful and learn as much as we can. We need to show up and be engaged in life every single day, and work hard and learn and grow. Because we can. It is our responsibility.
And yet, I’m confronted daily by people, populations and “leaders” who seem to think that being American only comes with a sense of entitlement and with very little of that responsibility. Rather than embracing the idea of community and collaboration it is feeling more and more like putting a select group of our population first is way more important than anything else. Since when has an “America first” mentality gotten us anywhere? I can tell you this much, as things stand right now, I’m not exactly proud to be an American. Don’t get me wrong… I understand that I am privileged, and there are a lot of things I take for granted, but I also know that I’m extremely disappointed by a lot of the decisions being made by the leadership of our Country.
It’s not the “Dreamers” and foreign militaries and extremists that worry me. It’s the idiot kids lighting off fireworks in the forest, and born and bred Americans driving trucks into crowds of peaceful protesters that keep me up at night. How can our political narrative be so focused on building a wall and keeping the “other” out, when we are doing nothing to address the issues of deep rooted hatred and ignorance that are just a part of our “good old American” ways?
I know there is good in the world, that there are intelligent, gracious, determined leaders out there in our communities and on a larger scale. I know that there are many people out there who are just as confused and disheartened as I am. And I know that a lot of us are feeling hopeless. I don’t have solution… but I do know that I have hope. (just a tiny glimmer) Because I know in the following weeks and months I’m going to make a commitment to my community. I’m going to do what I can to support others with small gestures and acts of kindness. I’m going to write letters, and talk about what is frustrating, because I think it is so important to NAME the thing that is weighing you down and to vocalize it. I’m not going to dwell on it but I will talk about it and facilitate conversations about it, and be a sounding board for others. I’m going to find little joys in every day moments. I’m going to keep an open mind. I’m going to listen, and encourage and support people in the ways that I can. I’m going to focus more on sustainability, on supporting local economies, on being an advocate for people who need it. And I know that when I wake up in the morning I am by default an American, but each and every day, I’m going to choose to live up to my responsibility of being a Citizen of the World.