Red, White, and Guns
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.