It’s February 2020 and I am listening to NPR’s Onpoint, focusing on how we can know we are being told the truth by our government. One guest is a man raised in Iraq under Saddam Hussein, “a dictator who could kill anyone who didn’t have a photo of Hussein in their home or questioned who is imprisoned in a central Baghdad building.” I am shocked by this environment where he admits he had to lie to his children, his family, in order to survive.
Then, I think of my dad who emigrated to the US when Hitler was rising to power, being a rebel youth at age 17. He knew no English when he arrived; only an aunt and uncle in NY City who mistreated him so he eventually was on his own as a garbage collector or elevator operator, only able to speak, “going up, going down, watch your step please.” I am saddened as I write, being aware of the struggle for all of us to be free, to become ourselves. We humans have all been “traumatized” (word the Iraqi man used to not know the truth) by not knowing the truth. Of love.
And now more deeply appreciate why my dad became a US citizen, joining the US army to fight in WWII against his homeland of Germany. And why I have a vivid memory of our family’s 4th of July tradition: to walk to Cornell University’s Schoellkopf football stadium, to sit and watch several marching bands play in various formations, holding the American flag high. Everyone rose to stand as the flag floated by to exit the stadium when I see my dad tap the shoulder of the man in front of us saying: “Please remove your hat in respect of the American flag!”
My dad and many others (my mother was a nurse who took care of soldiers such as my dad) fought for the EVOLving liberties we experience in America – and yet President Trump tells thousands of documented (fact-checked) lies and tells the truth tellers it’s FAKE news.
I comfort myself knowing the historical pendulum swings from liberal to conservative, where progress stalls before lurching forward with: Black Lives Matter, Women’s Lives Matter, Gay Lives Matter, and Mother Earth Matters.
And why hiking to the many waterfalls of Ithaca, NY. and having a love affair with the National Parks, having hiked, and/or camped in 54 of them is another immense appreciation of how the TRUTH makes us truly FREE!.
I am a lucky girl!