Monday, December 08, 2003

Culture Shock

Have you noticed that the web site has been a little quiet lately? Have I run out of opinions? No such luck.

My wife and I went to Cancun Mexico for a much needed vacation. While we were there, we do what we usually do and went to a Mexican fiesta. The dancers of the fiesta performed some Aztec and Mayan dancing, as well as dancing from other various areas of the country and times of Mexico’s history. While watching these people keeping their history alive, and sharing it with us, I was reminded that people from all countries have roots that run deep.

Recent events have caused us to dwell on the negatives of other countries and cultures. It’s easy for people to hate those that are different then they are. I think that if you focus on the basics of any culture it all boils down to one thing. People of every country want the same thing, to be able to raise their families how they see fit.

Even though different belief systems tend to make us think that everyone else is bad, and we are the only ones who know what is right, this is not the case. War is usually waged by one government against another government. Unfortunately a side effect of these differences of opinion is that an entire country can be labeled as the enemy.

Every one of us has a lineage that take us back to other countries and other cultures. Our histories are rich in tradition. Native Americans, Mexicans and Iraqi’s have their pride, right there along with the English, the French, the Germans and the Russians. You all have seen movies, read stories, or have visited other countries and saw their heritage and culture.

In this world we truly need to find a way to get along with each other, while recognizing that the history of everyone is the history of our world, and ultimately, every one of us. We are all human beings, related in the grand scheme of things. We are all brothers and sisters if you trace our roots back far enough.

When you look upon Iraqi’s, don’t view them as enemies, but as the unfortunate victims of a ruthless dictator. Have the compassion to realize that they are now trying to recover from a terrible history of oppression.

It’s true that there are still those out there that view freedom loving people as their enemy. Don’t misunderstand me, these wacko’s are still our enemy, and must be dealt with by using extreme force, and anything that is within our power to protect our people. We will also protect those who require our assistance to obtain their own freedom.

When we talk about Mexico and those who illegally cross our borders, we need to temper this with the understanding that not all Mexican people are illegal aliens in our country. Mexico is full of hard-working people that are trying to provide for their families and country the best way they know how.

Many of the illegal Mexicans that come into our country send much of their meager earnings back to their families still living in Mexico. Does this mean we should look the other way when our borders are violated? No, only that we should guard against hardening our hearts toward every Mexican. As members of the world family, the Mexican people are welcome, proud of their heritage, and a great culture to embrace.

Just as every German you meet is not responsible for the régime that was the legacy of Hitler, every white man is not responsible for the slavery that took place in the United States. People must truly learn to get on with their lives and look to the future, not dwell in the atrocities of the past.

This does not mean to forget our past, our traditions, our people and our cultures. We can embrace our origins, while teaching our children to work hard to achieve great things in their lives. After all, it is ultimately what one generation passes on to another that will shape this world.

People who teach hatred and intolerance to their children, whether wrapped in the sheep’s clothing of religion or not, are breeding a generation of war. Those who teach tolerance, forgiveness and love, will truly be the examples that others should emulate.

The day that all members of the world family understand that differences do not equate to enemies is the day that the phrase, “Peace on Earth, Goodwill Toward Man.” will become the mission statement of mankind.

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