In class today, a fellow classmate read a poem that weighed heavily on 9/11 and the passion stirred up from it. I am not going to talk about 9/11 here. However, the poem addressed the fact that patriotism for a country that is far from perfect was created in the aftermath of the tragedy. My instructor, who is actually quite brilliant, asked what reaction a poem like that would have in a place like Bismark, North Dakota.
Whoa, then it came. The generalization of the backwards ways of those in small communities followed in a way that resembled the backwards generalization and misunderstanding that some people were trying to combat.
Now, here me out. I am ALL FOR celebrating cultures different than my own. I have no idea what it is like to live in the hills of Arkansas or the city of Las Angeles or the country of Iraq. But, I do know that people in different places all over the world are proud of the great things that come out of their worlds. And they should be. Any citizen of the world has the right to feel as though I am headed straight to hades for nit believing in their religion, and I am sure many do. Any citizen had the right to think my American cooking is foul smelling and they are allowed to describe my clothing as strange and ugly. They can call my child rearing abilities terrible, and they can believe it with all their heart. Why, if they have an opinion like that, should I judge their opinion? I can, and I might, but to call people names because of the different opinions, regardless if they express it to me is pointless.
Here, in the US we are relatively tolerant of new people coming here to expand our version of culture. You cannot say we are not. How many other countries in the world pride themselves in being a melting pot? You CANNOT say that the town of Bismark would not understand a poem written about the loathing one individual has for the way in which many people in our country reacted to something that affected everybody.
I have lived in small towns, smaller than your fist. I have lived in cities and suburbs and towns in between. One thing is for certain, there are all sorts of people in all those places.
Now take Bismark. Do we really need for that city to become a landmark of progression to feel good as a country? as a world? Would we be better if they adapted to more like larger cities and larger cities than Bismark adapted to the largest of and most progressive cities of all? Do we want the entire country to be the same, except for the natural differences that we cannot change?
Of course not. But why do some need Bismark to adapt to different way than they have right now? Why do (some) Bismark residents feel the need to desire for New York to have more reserved ways? Does this only apply to our country? Should values need to be pushed across national borders as well? Will some never stop until the world is completely of the same mindset?
OK. I am done. I am not looking to start a debate here. It just bugged me for the moment.
Tomorrow is Friday, discuss that. 🙂