LET Reach out to our neighbors
Recently my husband and I were in Nova Scotia. Toward the end of our trip we were booked into a bed and breakfast where all the other guests were there to celebrate a friend's birthday. They had come from as far as Saskatchewan and as near as New Brunswick. We were invited to join the party and we spent a delightful evening getting to know these friendly Canadians.
At midnight we rose to leave and as a group they stood and sang the Star Spangled Banner to and with us without missing a word. I began "Oh Canada" but unfortunately while I know the lovely melody I had to fumble for the words.
This made me think hard about my country and our attitude toward other countries, even our good neighbor to the north. Do any of us know who the prime minister is? I didn't. We want to demand that every person in the United States be a cookie-cutter American and adhere to the "American Culture." There is no American Culture. We join our friends of Norwegian descent in their Nordic Fests and go to the Greek Festival here in Rochester. Why, then, can't we embrace the celebrations of our neighbors who are not of Western European descent and why are we so loath to learn about their cultures, which are ancient compared to ours.
The only road to peace in this world is to know your global neighbors here and abroad. Schools need to teach about the Middle East, Asia and the Pacific Rim, not just in the context of wars but of the advances they made in the growth of civilization.
Let's not become even more arrogant and isolated than we already are, but reach out to our neighbors in Rochester who have so much to teach us about themselves. We will all be better citizens for it.