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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

One Voice

One Voice
Before Columbus, before the pilgrims and the first thanksgiving the New World was a country of many languages. With every tribe of natives was another language spoken. Those languages have long since drifted to silence and we no longer hear them echoing on the winds of the world.
Yet today, America is still a nation of many languages. Immigration is not a new concept, a sudden happening on the shores or the borders of our lands. Immigration is as ancient as travel itself.
Just as the tribes and families of natives; fought for position and ownership of their lands from each other, and then from the new comers, we find ourselves taking a stand. And just like them we are conflicted by the barriers of language.
Everyone wants a common language, a constant. As we teach our ways and our views to the world we must also be willing to listen and to learn theirs. This cannot be done without common ground. As we all struggle to hear and to be heard let us not forget that with understanding comes acceptance and only through acceptance can we find that place of compassion and tolerance.
If my Irish family members wish to speak the ancient language of our heritage I say “tha” , if those of Hispanic descent wish to speak the language of their heritage I say ‘claro’, if the children of the Sioux tribes wish to express themselves in their native tongue to them I also say ‘ai’. However if the world wants to continue to deny ourselves a common ground, a place of understanding then in my German heritage I say ‘nine’!
I have a group of friends and we don’t agree on many things. One says she’s not a racist yet she thinks of every Hispanic in the grocery store as an ‘illegal immigrant’. I have a friend, he’s a veteran of long ago, he too says he is not a racist yet he views every Asian as an enemy. I have a friend who is a veteran of another kind of war and he too claims not to be a racist, yet he sees every easterner as a potential terrorist.
Why do I call these people my friend? Because we share one common thread, the common thread of language that allows us to share our varied view points and express our position. This common thread of language allows me to understand them. I do not have to agree with them, which I often do not, but because of language I can understand them and accept their right to a varied opinion.
Claiming one language as a universal language is not an attempt to discriminate or allow for prejudice. One language allows for each of us a voice. A voice that can be heard. A voice that can bring with it understanding, compassion and acceptance of our differences.
What can we do? When we find ourselves angered by the voices we do not understand, when we find ourselves frustrated by the barriers of speech we must take responsibility and we must teach the universal language to those who cannot speak it. We must offer patience and encouragement to those that struggle to become one of us
Like our ancestors, they come to us today for the promise of a better way of life. They come for the promise of greater things. Yet, Immigrants of today are not like those of long ago. They do not come to take our way of life from us. They do not come to destroy our belief systems. They do not come to force us into their way of life. They come instead to be one of us. They come to embrace the freedoms we take for granted. They come to be an AMERICAN.
So this Thanksgiving let us not only be thankful for all that we have, but let us be thankful for all that our country allows us and make a promise to keep the promise alive!
We must come together as a country. We must come together upon common ground.
It is only with ONE voice can we as a country embrace its diversity. It is only with ONE voice will we as a country Lead the world, and it is only with ONE voice that we as a country can move forward.

t.r mugler 2006


Anonymous said...

very nicly said thanks for your one voice..

Anonymous said...
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