September 17

Tonight I went to a guest interview of Dr. Rajmohan Gandhi at our local University in honor of peace initiatives that are being done in our community. (September 21st is the International Day of Peace.) Dr. Gandhi is the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi and is a respected author, activist and professor. The event didn’t last long; it began with music and a presentation of flags from around the world, and ended with a book signing. In between Dr. Gandhi answered questions posed to him from the community about his grandfather, of course, but also about his political views and beliefs. It struck me that he is as old today as his grandfather was when he was assassinated. He was also as I expected him to be: well versed in world events, firm in his convictions of ideologies stemming from his heritage, soft spoken, and easy to listen to. He had interesting stories and viewpoints, but the one thing that stuck with me was his description of America. He had good things to say. But then he pointed out how unique America is in that we simultaneously embrace foreigners as one of our own (other countries are not so welcoming), rise up to protect people of our land (our Patriotism is fierce), but we remain willingly ignorant of the sufferings of the world. Of course, he said this in a very diplomatic way, not pointing a harsh finger, but merely stating it as fact. And as he talked, I knew it to be true of me. I don’t follow politics so much because I find it disheartening, sad, or discouraging. I’m even horrible at geography. I know vaguely where countries are in relation to each other, but I couldn’t put names on a map. And that has been my choice. I think it’s easy for most Americans who have never lived anywhere else to feel insulated from the trials of the rest of the world. I have no realtime experience. My exposure to the struggles that millions of others endure because of their country’s unrest is only what i see or hear on tv or radio, and I can turn those off when it makes me uncomfortable. It was a sobering thought. And I felt a bit guilty too. I should at least be more aware. As he said, the world must enter our heart. It echoes one of his grandfather’s famous quotes, you must be the change you wish to see in the world I’m thankful I was able to go to this talk tonight and for the reminder that the world is much larger than my little speck of dirt.

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