America! You great country. I´m coming home to you to visit.
As I fly from Panama City to Miami I can´t help but think about the ideals for which America stands for. The other day one of my host dads (Julian Record) asked me if I thought the United States believes in Jesus Christ less than Panama does . But what he was really asking was, why is the United States always at war? He told me that he knows that the United States is always trying to do good in the world. And so we started to debate what a justified war is. I ultimately asked him, do you think it is up to the United States to throw every dictator out of power like we did in Iraq. He wasn´t sure but he thought yes. The greatest message I took away from this conversation, and so many like it that I´ve had: The United States´ image as the most free, equal, and democratic country in the world has even reached one of the most isolated parts of Panama. I was sad to tell Julian that I think much of the motive of war comes from defense contractors desire to make money. And that I think he is much less critical of the United States than I am. I remember when I was writing my application for the Peace Corps, I had to walk a fine line between not offending the government agency I wanted to work for, while at the same time articulate how much I want to be a part of the good international work the United States does. I feel so grateful to truly feel like I am a part of that work today. And I honestly think I fulfill Peace Corps desire to send out ambassadors of American ideals. I question some of our country´s actions, but only because I think they sometimes stray from our ideals. The difference between the United States´ intervention in Libya vs. Iraq is a great comparison. Libya: U.S. intervention supported by U.N. and Arab League of Nations with clear limitations outlined on for far our support would go. Iraq: none of the above.
We´re far from perfect, but the ideals for which we strive for truly are.