I'm afraid of Americans

Sunday, March 4, 2018
10:16 PM

After class tonight a student and I got to talking. She had read my instructor bio on the website that mentions my trainging in India, and then conversation naturally turned to her own trip to Cambodia and Vietnam. "The biggest takeaway I got was how easily freedom is lost," she said. And repeated. How easily freedom is lost.

I could not help but be incredulous (in my optimistic-liberal-globalist bubble) that the plight of Vietnam brought up fear for American security in her. America, the most economically prosperous nation that hasn't had a war on its own soil in 153 years (longer than any other country on the planet). America, with the highest defense spending in the world, most advanced technology to match, and military arms that literally police the globe. America, the country sought and dreamed of by millions of emigrants for hundreds of years. She's worried about AMERICAN security?

I felt horror and pity. I felt intellectually superior for a moment. I felt terrified that my peer's version of reality could be so vastly different from my own.

She continued, "I work at Boeing. So tonight's class topic of saving vs. savoring really hit home for me. How to strike a balance between my 9-10 hour days protecting Americans and make time to savor the aspects of life important to me?"

Of course, now her security-minded viewpoint seems like reason. If I bother to ask. When I have the grace to listen.  When I can think outside of my bubble.

I was so quick to judgement and fear from a simple conversation, a single SENTENCE, which she offered willingly as a chance to forge connection. I was even quicker to put her in the separate-from-myself category, making the conditions ripe for this woman's honest feelings to frighten and anger me. 

Maybe I can let people have their feelings without getting all self righteous so quickly.

Always learning...

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