Red, White, and Guns

reddirtlattes/ February 18, 2018/ Gulf Islands, Canada/ 12 comments

I am from Florida. Most of my family still lives in Florida. I want my heart to break for the school victims, I want to cry and scream, and it did and I do, but my heart can’t break much more because it’s already broken.

It broke with Sandy Hook. It gave up with Sandy Hook. If little children dying in gunfire did not wake my country up, if little children watching their classmates die did not shock my country into change, nothing will. Little children.

The truth is guns are why I didn’t go home. It’s why I chose Canada.

My husband works in South Sudan. And he feels safer there than he would in the US. When a UN employee goes to a new country there is always a security briefing on that country. When going to the US he was  told to always avoid confrontation. No matter what, to walk away. Because in the US you must assume everyone has a gun.

You must assume everyone has a gun.

It’s been a fascinating journey to explore what it means to be an American outside of my culture. When I say, “I’m an American,” what I am saying, in essence, is I am an individual. I, capitalized. America as the myth where anyone can make it, where you can be and do whatever you want, you as YOU. And that is beautiful and powerful and intoxicating. But where is the WE? Yes, you can be a New Yorker, or a mid-Westerner, a California girl or guy, or have deep Southern pride, but what does it mean to be an American? What binds us all? The safety of our children should bind us all.

I recently became a Permanent Resident of Canada. At the end of my interview and swearing in the consular said, welcome to Canada, you may now work, and will forever have health care.

I cried. I hugged my husband and thanked him. I thanked him for giving me a new country to call home. A country where the collective is bigger than the individual. A country where my rights are tied to my obligations. I am a part of something, and my happiness is tied to my neighbors and my communities, my province, and I am humbled and awed and honored to play my part.

I love the US. My children are American as well as Canadian and I hope that one day they will be able to go and be a part of something larger than themselves there as well. That the good-for-all overcomes the me and my rights.

The US is not all bad and Canada is far from all good, but I love that I feel so less important here. I love just being a petal on the flower.

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12 Comments

  1. Please keep writing. And please know you were always important in the U.S. too, because in part of your work and those that love it.

    1. And the US is important to me, B.F. Thanks so much for your kind words.

      1. Thank you for sharing them Sabrina!

  2. The Common Life and the Common good. What do we have to share if we don’t have these? What becomes of us if we are only I’s having no sight and forever separated from us? Thank you for these thoughts and for sharing something of your life with our lives through your blog.

    1. Yes, exactly, Dan. Thank you for reading.

  3. I’m so happy you are posting again. I watched you on Sports Night which I adored, heard of your blog through Josh Malina, who I follow on Twitter. Have been so moved by your sharing and your beautiful writing through your many adventures and journeys. Feel very kindred.

    1. Thanks, Sue. Happy to have kindred spirits here. I loved Sports Night and Josh is the best. Thank you for just putting that memory in my head!

  4. Spot on. We like to think of our Canadian “True North Strong and Free” as a safe place with a Welcome mat at the door. Your “petal on the flower” is how a lot of us feel. Thank you for putting it into words…

    1. I have felt very welcome. And I feel very safe. You have a very special country here.

  5. I also loved you on Sports Night and then Numb3rs and have enjoyed your writing. As a Canadian, I welcome you to our country and hope you and your family find a home here.

    1. Thank you. It is home.

  6. I have yearned to move to Canada for the very reasons you so eloquently shared in this post. I have searched on how to become a Canadian but only come away more confused and frustrated. Thank you for inspiring me to try to find this path to a better future for me and my family again.

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