We recently went on an adventure, a river cruise down the Rhine River from Basel Switzerland to Amsterdam Netherlands. It took us through some of the most scenic and historic areas of Germany, France and the Netherlands.
The age of what we saw was measured not in decades but in hundreds and thousands of years. There was a wisdom there, of hearts and hands and psyches being burned by the experience of time that we in America fail to see. The essence, the element of man is there and has been here for many thousands of years unlike the adolescence of America and the Democracy that we hold dear. Lessons seem to have been learned there.
Call me crazy, mistaken or just someone with a wild imagination, but I could feel the undercurrent of past intolerance. I could almost see the shiny black jackboots and galloping Crusades of armor heading off to right the imagined wrongs and to impose the will of their righteousness on the somehow less than superior us.
It was a bit jarring to see young soldiers in Strasbourg on the French border holding AK-47s at the ready. However, what I heard from the leaders of Europe was mostly of tolerance and steadfastness in the face of terror. Germany has pledged to welcome one million refugees. What I heard upon our return to America was calls for intolerance, hate, bigger walls and closed borders. We are still the most powerful nation on earth and yet the overwhelming response is fear.
Can we not see the lessons of the past? Can we see past the fear and decipher the hate from the reason? Perhaps we need to read the lessons of the past or perhaps the words of the one that we seek in times of trouble.