Admittedly, my eyes were only opened a short time ago. Until that moment I was consumed with the comfort and security of my family and myself. In the United States we have many liberties- for the most part our lives are comfortable.

This is especially true when compared to the reality that people around the world face- the same reality that we, as Americans, are not fully exposed to. Our media limits the level of truth that is told in newspapers, magazines, and on television.

I cannot with a clear conscience say that we, as Americans, are completely oblivious to the turmoil consuming the world- but I can say (after my own research and my personal drive for knowledge) that the truth is not told in America- but it can be found, we are free Americans, at least for now.

Even now, as I sit in my comfortable home- typing on my laptop while my children sleep safely in their beds- there is no gunfire, no bombs, no tear gas, no chaos. No one went to bed hungry; we have access to “clean” (the meaning behind the sarcastic quotations are a topic all their own) water for cooking, showering, laundry, and even for flushing our toilets. We are blessed.

It is difficult for me to hear the truth. The truth puts knots in my stomach- it makes me question everything. The truth makes it hard not to feel guilty for the many blessings that I have, for the many things I worry about. At the same time, I cannot ignore the truth- I can’t keep it to myself.

I do not want this for my children. I do not want my children to ignore the issues the rest of the world is facing. I don’t want them to have to face those issues themselves. I cannot be “okay” knowing how many people are suffering everyday-men, women, and children. Therefore, I talk to whoever will listen about what I’ve learned- I encourage them to verify it for themselves.

I try to teach them that we are all people. Who is “right” or “wrong” depends on which side of the fence you are standing. My oldest son- who was 10 at the time (2 years ago) asked me, “Mom, why did we go to war with Iraq anyway? My teacher said that we went to war because of the attacks on 9/11, is that why? We’re the good guys right?”

As a mother, I contemplated for a moment how I should respond before I finally said, “Who is right and who is wrong- when it comes to war- all depends on which side you’re on. In America we see it as fighting terrorism; in Iraq they consider us the terrorists.” Blunt? Yes. Honest? Yes. Wrong? I don’t think so.

I have pride in the ideals that are America. Freedom from persecution, constitutional protections, balances of powers, equality, and justice for all. I am proud that Americans fought for the freedom of slaves within its borders- I am proud that throughout history there have been Americans not afraid to speak up, not afraid to demand the liberties that we should all be guaranteed. I am proud of the military men and women willing to step up and fight for what they believe to be the right thing. I regret that there is even a possibility that they have been manipulated.

I regret the way in which our great country was founded- with the slaughtering and enslavement of the people to be known as Native Americans. I regret that many Native Americans live on forgotten lands- that many of us (in America) would consider third-world conditions, right here within our borders. I regret that we have never been the America we were meant to be.

 I regret that despite past mistakes we continue to persecute those with different beliefs, ideals, and values than our own. I regret that we are possibly months away from being told what those beliefs, ideals, and values are. I regret that our voices have been ignored; that our planet and its people have suffered to turn a profit.

Furthermore, I regret that we all fail to see the significance in the fact that we are all on this planet together. We are all people. "Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean." – [Ryunosuke Satoro] we can evolve, we can become what we should have been all along. Beyond the lines we’ve drawn in the sand and the many categories in which we put each other- we are all just people.
There is undeniably evil in the world, but there is also good. I regret that we do not realize how powerful we, as people, really are. I regret that we don’t care enough to realize until there is a threat staring us in the face.