Monday, May 26, 2003

Listening to Our Collective American Echo

Few are the articles, editorials and open letters which address that taboo subject, our collective American echo. Echo, according to Dr. Peebles through Thomas Jacobson, includes increasing our understanding of others, from their point of view. For example, when we walk in their shoes, how are we seen? Can we understand without condemnation how we impact others from their point of view? Thus, our collective American echo would be: how do others perceive us, America and Americans, and then how do they treat us as a result of their perceptions?

Andrew Rice lost his brother in 9/11. Despite his great loss, Mr. Rice urges us to examine ideology from their perspective, taking a moment to put aside their description by others as "freedom haters" in this post 9/11 editorial. Many would accuse anyone who does this as unpatriotic. On the contrary, I would argue that understanding others and looking at our echo is a path requiring a great deal of courage and quite a bit of maturity.

In another call to address our collective American echo, Warren Apel, an educator at an American/International school, writes an open letter asking Americans to open their minds to understanding why "they hate us".

What can we lose by taking a moment to consider our collective American echo? Granted, this is not for the faint of heart. This is not easy. But consider what is lost if we don't understand our echo.

What will be the consequences of not understanding our collective echo? What will be the consequences to our children and our children's children? What kind of world would they inherit?