Monday, July 24, 2006
The first territorial instinct I can recall having was when I was 13. I remember the feeling of needing space and feeling like I was going to lose my space if I did not fight to keep it. That's the last time I felt the need to fight. My brother was the enemy and my privacy was the territory to be protected.
The next time I felt threatened was when I noticed my neighborhood changing. I felt like I was going to lose my home to the wealthier people of the city. That has not happened yet, but something from my neighborhood was definitely lost. The faces are changing, as is the culture. Though the idea that there is no way to stop gentrification angers me, it has never pushed me to the brink of violence. Nor have I ever felt that violence is the only way to save my family or preserve the ideals on which I was raised.
Being from Houston, I feel issues of immigration looming around, but I personally have no problem sharing the "Great" State of Texas and adapting to changes that may arise along the way. This is a fairly new border war and Texans were not the original occupants, so I go with the flow on this issue. I enjoy the textures that the Mexican community add to my neighborhood and I am very comfortable with the changes.
I suppose if the term war that I used above were in fact a true war, then I might feel different. I would feel different. If I felt my land and my home invaded, then I might be driven to buy a gun. I know if I felt my family being threatened, I would not be the same person I am now. I would have to take a self inventory and decide how far I'd go to protect them, whether it be from our own government or an outside government. But I don't feel that pressure. And I don't suppose I will any time soon. I live in America. And we don't have wars here. Right? I've never seen one.
I hear bickering about gas prices and comments about discontent with the president, but I've never seen the bottom of an Israeli plane and known what that sight meant. I've never felt that I was constantly being pushed further and further away from home. I've never felt detached or oppressed. I am an American. I've never known hatred for U.S. troops. I've never seen an American occupation. I've never seen the U.S. border moved to exclude me. I've never felt war. I sleep straight throughout the night and when I wake, I always have the same view.
I can close my eyes and search my memory and I'll never have childhood visions of horror. I am safe. I am from America. I am not from the Congo. I am not from Syria. I am not from Lebanon. I am not from Palestine. My home still exists. My Mother and Father still live in the home I was conceived in. It still looks the same; untouched by bombs or borders. I'll never get fed up... never say I've had enough. And I'll never judge those that do. I'll never be a revolutionary, never follow the ways of Che and Fidel.
All I do is talk about my beliefs, but I'll never be forced to act on them, because safety breeds complacency and I am an American.