As a nation of people from all over the planet living together in a republic with a government of the people, by the people, for the people we sometimes seem not to fully understand what that really means. If we break it down, it goes something like this:
Of the people means those who govern do not inherit their positions. Our leaders are selected from the general population of the people.
By the people means citizens are responsible for choosing those who govern. The selection process is made by the people who participate in the process.
For the people means those who are chosen to govern are required to work for the people. Not for themselves, their careers, their egos and not just for their supporters. They work FOR THE PEOPLE to provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare (meaning EVERYONE’S well being), and secure the blessings of liberty for ourselves and OUR posterity.
We hardly ever see ourselves as others see us. Sure, we hear that Americans are arrogant, decadent, bullies, greedy polluters and many other negative things. These remarks are all too familiar. It was interesting to hear people making comments about Americans during our visit to Italy. Most were positive, some were funny. One man asked if we owned a ranch when he found out we live in Texas. He said he has met many people from Texas and no one he has ever asked has said yes. “It’s funny,” he said, “when I travel and people find out I’m from Italy, they always ask if I make pizzas for a living or if I’m in the mafia.” We laughed; of course, stereotyping is ridiculously funny, and not surprisingly global.
Everyone we encountered during our trip was friendly to us. We chatted with people from many countries; in airports, restaurants, hotels. Not one of them was rude to us when they found out we were Americans. Every single Italian was gracious to us. I overheard two men with British accents talking on our flight from Heathrow to Rome about our upcoming presidential election. “Who do you think they’ll pick or does it really matter,” asked one of them. “I think it only matters what their president knows about foreign policy,” said the other.
As the world watches to see who we choose to lead our country, and believe me the world is watching, I wonder if after the election is over, will we decide to be the UNITED States and remember that each and every citizen contributes to the success of our nation? Our citizenry is comprised of diverse cultures. We do not all share the same beliefs or even an understanding of the difference between rights, freedoms and responsibilities. We do, however, share the desire to have our rights recognized and to enjoy freedom. Most of us try to live up to our responsibilities and most of us believe that those who don’t should, at the very least, not expect the rest of us to pay the price for their choices. I firmly believe in charity and community service. We are bound by our humanity to serve each other in times of need. I also believe that a free-loader can be dressed by Armani just as easily as the Thrift Store.
Drugs, gangs, violence, poverty, fear, greed and hypocrisy are not unique to any one country. Likewise, history is loaded with examples that these are not modern problems. What better time than now for us to work together toward a future that doesn’t just end up being virtually the past?
Sting says it best.
13 thoughts on “People Are People”
Great stuff, again. Your street shots are fantastic! I think the lady flipping you off is my favorite…
Thanks Mike. Yeah, she was my favorite too.
It sounds like your trip mellowed you a bit (as it should!!). I recall your posts having more edge before your trip. I’m glad it had such an effect; that’s what it’s all about. Getting away from it!
I worry about our future… they say there’s nothing new under the sun, but I think technology has (for quite some time now) brought us that “global village” that Marshall McLuhan spoke of. I think what’s new under the sun is the sheer size and scope of the world now. It’ll be interesting to see what that brings.
Mellowed? A bit, but the more real life keeps slipping back into my days, the more edgy I become.
I can imagine. I read a study a while ago that talked about how quickly returning to our (modern, crazy, fast-paced) lives undoes the benefit of vacation. A matter of days in some cases.
Very wonderful photo. BELLISSIME Orofiorentino from Italy
You’ve captured the locals and taken them home with you in your photos. They are the essence of the places you visited.
Wonderful pics of people and places, And really interesting words and thoughts. You may be as disturbed as I was reading EuCaSia tonight to hear that school-children in Texas have to wear a microchip and are punished if they don’t… a woman using the microchip technology ( which I don’t understand) was able to get all the addresses of the children, and pointed out that predators could do this and would now know where every child was…so both their human rights and their safety is being breached..
Thank you for the compliment Valerie. Not being familiar with the publication you mentioned, I can’t say that I’ve heard of this microchip requirement or the controversy surrounding it. I choose my sources for news, when there is actual news, very carefully, and even then, I don’t believe everything I read. 🙂
Lovely shots. I think one of the coolest things we bring back from a trip is the connections we make with people why we were seeing the sites.
So true. The connections are what make everything worthwhile.
Great post and pics, Honie. So glad that you encountered people that thought nicely of America. I get tired of hearing negative things — every place has its good and bad. And stereotypes are sometimes wrong.
I think people who like to discuss ideas are my favorite types. So many people look for someone to blame or always try to find fault. I am not one of those people. Sure, I call it like I see it and sometimes I’m wrong, but I believe in telling it like it is. Gossip doesn’t interest me and well, nonsense is a non-starter. Kipling’s IF pretty much sums it up for me. I just wish it was possible to follow his instructions more often than not. I also wish it wasn’t written as how to be a man. That’s why I wrote the poem WHEN as a sort of mirror from a feminine perspective.