What’s Your Symbol of Freedom and Democracy?

Have you stood at the feet of the colossal copper statue on Staten Island in New York? “The Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World” given to the United States by the people of France is recognized as a “universal symbol of freedom and democracy.”  Awestruck to Confused I have always seen myself as a patriot. (You may have guessed this would be the case if you’ve read my Fourth of July posts.) Growing up, my family visited many of our nation’s historically important sites. As a grade-schooler, I stood awestruck at the feet of Miss Liberty. The sight filled me with a national pride that “my” people welcomed everyone. It said so on the bronze plaque on the pedestal.  “The New Colossus Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore, Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” Emma Lazarus Today, I am confused and upset by the hostility immigrants to the United States face. How did we go from welcoming to shunning and imprisoning immigrants? When I’m confused about something, I try to educate myself about that situation. This is the first of a series […]

Christmas Is More Than The Sights

I had an experience early in my high school career that began to open my eyes about how other people see the world. As a freshman, I wanted to fit in. And somehow I seemed to gather all the weirdos around me. I didn’t want to be one of them. But one of them, one of the weirdos I met, made a profound impact upon me. She taught me that Christmas is more than the sights. The New Girl My homeroom teacher assigned me to show the new girl around. This new student stood out from everyone else. It embarrassed me for her. But she was blind. She couldn’t see that her messy hair or her mismatched clothes or that her eyes moved two different directions. She carried a cane and only needed a ‘guide’ for a few days. I escorted her through the push and shove of teens rushing through the halls until she’d memorized the way to her next class.  Selfish & Embarrassed I was a selfish sixteen-year-old. It never occurred to me to wonder how she felt being in a new school. Not being able to see. Relying on total strangers to help her. But in the few […]

Make Your December Wish Come True

December is full of holidays and goodwill and wishes for world peace. This isn’t the first December of these wishes, so why haven’t we achieved world peace? I can hear some of you now, it’s the other guy’s fault. And the answer is, no. It’s not. To make your December wish come true, you have to be willing to do the work.  The Dream of Peace Imagine all the people living life in peace. You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us, and the world will be as one. —John Lennon Obviously, no matter how many people dream it, dreaming doesn’t make it happen. What will? A change in the way you interact with the world. For those of you are saying hell yes, stop for a moment. Are you so vehement in your protests that you are part of the problem? For those of you who think, you need not change? Seriously? If you don’t change with the times or because of newly acquired knowledge, then you are part of the problem, too.  Nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral questions of our time; the need for […]