I love my country and the people who live in it. And yet it’s not always a country I am able to like. As a kid growing up in San Francisco I watched on TV the governor of Alabama stop a young black girl from going to school. Later I watched demonstrators marching for different causes like being treated equally under the law, for voting rights, and as a teenager for the end to the Vietnam war. I’ve seen people beaten and gassed for demonstrating for what they believed in, and yet I believe the issue is actually deeper than that. I believe the issue is that one side wants to impose their beliefs on the other side. The little black girl eventually got to go to school, desegregation became law, and the Vietnam war ended. The cost to America though was great, and the wounds were so deep that many people have not healed to this day. There are many that wish we could return to the days of authoritarian rule, where what one person or one party said and decided was how things are going to be. Then there’s the other people or party who want freedom from authoritarianism. Our country cannot seem to figure out how to bridge this divide. Many want to fight and many do not want to fight — on both sides. Many are confused, many are angry, and many, on both sides, are still hurt by the damage done in the past. I don’t know what the answer is yet; I do know what the answer is not — the answer is not confrontation, it is not humiliating others or dominating others, it is not name-calling, and it is not telling others their voices do not matter. I hope some people listen to me, for I am a voice for peace in America.
Lake Almanor, Ca.