Sunday, July 16, 2006

Fireworks of a different kind.

On the news last night I watched missiles light up a night sky in a far away land. They look just like 4th of July fireworks. I imagine a child there looking up in the sky, but not feeling the excitement that an American child feels at seeing fireworks. This child feels fear and sadness.

Our worlds are as different as the sparks that light our skies. America lives in safe cushy place. Even after 9-11, we aren't afraid. We weren't afraid then. Only angry. Somehow we knew that this was a sucker punch. We knew they wouldn't hit us again. Afterwards we got on the planes as usual. We didn't hide. We didn't look up at the sky wondering. We knew how strong we were. I ask people around me what they think of all this going on in the Middle East. I hear the same answer. They have fought forever and there is nothing we can do.

I wish I could talk to a Palestinian mother. I would want to know if all this was important to her. Or if it is like I imagine, that what is important to her is the same thing that is important to me; the happiness of our children and the hope that we can always provide for them what they need. It is the same for the Israeli mother and all mothers.

If only mothers ran wars. There would be no wars.

How many times have my children looked up into a starry sky and seen magnificent fireworks? Every 4th of July. Every Disney World vacation. Every New Year's eve. If they saw a missile they wouldn't recognize it. They would point and exclaim, "Why is someone lighting fireworks?"

It is the innocence of America.

They grow up in freedom and peace. They are not afraid of their neighbors. Their churches preach love. Such a different world than the child watching the night missiles so very far away.

What do I wish for that child? I wish a nation built on the belief that opportunity is what you make of it and where your voice is heard. A nation where laws protect against discrimination and violence. A nation of laws. A nation by the people, for the people, with liberty for all. I would wish that no one would teach him to hate anyone.

That is what I wish for.

America is not perfect by any means. If I could wave a wand and change America tomorrow, there would be many things I would change. But for all our faults, we are a nation where when a child looks up in the sky and sees a shower of sparkles, they never think of a missile, only a holiday.