I am proud to be who I am; I am proud to be where I am; I am proud to be what I am; I am proud to be an American.
But like so many others in this diverse country of ours, I am also proud to be something other than American. By belonging to parents who have taught me the customs and traditions practiced in their own native country, I now realize how lucky I am; how blessed I am.
Although I am a true American, born and raised, I see where the problems lie within this vast country of ours. Blessed with every luxury anyone could ever imagine, most Americans take it for granted that life is as it should be.
Far and away from the sufferings of other people, we watch the news and feel sorry for what we see. Perhaps we donate a little something to the cause, like “Feed the Children;” perhaps we give a dollar to the church we attend; perhaps we murmur how sad we are and then turn our eyes away from the people who suffer within our own country.
How can our people, so intelligent and so lucky, be, at the same time, so blind and naive?
Most of us have had the opportunity to open up our minds and our hearts while we attend college. We know of the endless civil wars going on in other countries, where families are separated everyday, where children work to support each other, and where death is just another part of life.
And yet we never thought any of this would touch our own beloved country. We thought that America was too assured, too strong, too smart, to ever be associated with the problems of what we like to call “third world countries.” And when it finally happened, we were stunned. Our televisions finally shut down, our cars stood still and our minds whirled in endless circles asking the same question over and over: Why, why, WHY?
Should we be surprised that many other countries hate us? The fact that most of us unconsciously think that American lives are worth more than other people’s lives says it all.
There is no way I am saying we deserved the attacks brought upon us. I am not that unfeeling or mindless. My point goes beyond all of the madness, anger and hurt that I feel; that you feel.
We point our fingers against those who believe differently from us. They are the enemy, we say. They have killed innocent lives. But isn’t that what we do also? We sometimes forget that we can kill indiscriminately, often killing innocent children belonging to another country. They were perhaps not our own children, yet they were children nonetheless. Their beliefs were not the same as ours, but we should keep in mind that environment plays a big part in what people believe in; we believe what we are taught.
Perhaps if everyone was taught here, educated here, America would not have a problem with the rest of the world. But having everyone become Americanized will probably never happen.
So what then should America do to prevent further things from happening? Perhaps we should use what we are taught at school; we should start opening up our minds and finding out where the problems begin; the hate and the blindness starts within ourselves.
Unless America can live up to what it stands for-freedom, acceptance and respect-then there is no hope for this country for peace to survive. The peace has to reign within ourselves and each other before it extends to our neighbors.
Jaclyn Roco, a senior journalism major, is LV Life editor of the Campus Times. She can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.