Back in the Bush years, I often felt embarrassed to be an American traveling around the world. Little did I know how much worse that would feel when 2016 hit. But in all those travels, I never felt anyone blame me personally, as the people I came in contact with understood that our politicians don’t necessarily reflect the people. What felt good to me was for me to publicly acknowledge that there were (are) millions like me who were doing their best to resist, to protest, to educate, to let the politicians know that the things they were doing were “not in our name.”
In this moment of time when I’m feeling happier about some of the representation in my country, things are falling apart in other lands. I received an e-mail from someone in the Russian Orff Society as follows:
Dear colleagues and friends!
I am against the war. Hundreds of my friends and 1000’s of people here are against the war.
Majority of Russian people don’t support war and forced to fight the war against their will.
However we are still ashamed and feel responsible for it.
We are not enemies to each other and want peaceful honest life.
And I wrote back:
Thank you so much for your important message in these hard times. I, too, have felt so ashamed during the four years with Trump, so it's important to remember that the people of a country are often separate from their politicians and important to let others know that there is a movement of resistance. So thank you for the reminder.
I was scheduled to teach in Russia and then Ukraine in Fall of 2020 and could do neither because of the pandemic. But I did do each as an online course and felt the same beautiful spirit in each country, the same I've felt in every country where good-hearted people dedicate themselves to bringing happiness, beauty and kindness to children in hopes of a more peaceful and harmonious world. Please know that we support you and our dear colleagues in the Ukraine in hoping for an end to this madness. My own grandparents came from Belarus, so I also could feel some ancestral shame.
But the only shame is in agreeing to continue the hatred and greed. Let's each of us do what we can to teach ourselves and the children that we are all deeply connected, negatively through the lessons of the pandemic and climate change, positively through the music, dance and love we share with each other.
Stay strong and may peace prevail!