Democracy. In the Old World, parents talked late into the night about the possibility of a voyage, about how much it would cost, about the hopeful opportunities that possibly awaited them upon new soil. I can imagine the children listening in the bed or room next to them. I can imagine them waking up with a new type of excitement, a new type of fear, imaginings unlike before. Perhaps they played games outdoors of how they would ward off an Indian attack. Or, how they would live in the big house on their own acreage. Or, what it would be like to have running water in their own apartment. Or, what American girl or boy they would one day marry.
I felt like an Old World parent when I chatted with Cody this morning. He had never heard of the word "democracy", that it was a government in which the people voted for their own leader; a government set up to protect the freedom of the people. His questions roamed freely, and we talked about alternatives like monarchy and dictatorship. I introduced him to Hitler, to the lines that formed at the concentration camps upon arrival, how bad bias caused horrible deaths, how it caused Hitler to self-destruct in the face of approaching enemies. Cody couldn't believe it and asked me to stop describing it (for some reason, that time era has always fascinated me).
We talked about Stalin and the freedom to worship, and how he burned the churches down or converted them to political meeting places.
I told him about how our country was young and fought to win freedom for everyone, which we did. He asked, "Well, what about the slaves then?"
Ah, perception. Democracy is growing, evolving, with some serious mistakes to make up for.
We talked about our gift, our country that gives us freedom and choice. It was so cool to be part of that discussion and query instead of handing it to the school to teach. I was there! We were like immigrants looking faraway at what is offered in a new place with a progressive spirit, with a flame for liberty and justice. Then, our living room was an Ellis Island of sort; we entered, looked around and saw what good things our country had to give after struggles.
And, we sit in our living room as a result studying what went before us. Amazing stories. Amazing fortune to be part of such a place.
That's it from central America 2005!