By Jorn Weisbrodt
(photo by V. Tony Hauser)
I recently became an American citizen. I was born in Germany and lived there until 2006. My parents were born during the 2nd World War. My mom left Dresden with her mother and older brother on February 12th 1945, one day before the Dresden bombing. They found refuge with a distant relative in the Rhine area. For both my parents the arrival of the American Soldiers at the end of the war near their homes was seen as a liberation. The first time they tasted chocolate was through the kindness of American soldiers. For me the United States has for the longest of times been a country of hope, a bringer of freedom, passed down through the experience of my parents and the kindness that they were treated with by the American soldiers. Actually most of the Allies who gave Germany a second chance to rebuild a democratic society treated this nation that brought a war and genocide onto Europe and the worlds. This is the United States that I stand for and that I want to live in. It would have been easy to punish Germany but the Americans believed that we have to solve this crisis together. I strongly believe that as an individual we become who we are in a larger collective body. The "we" makes the "I" possible but not the other way around. Therefore I stand for "we".
There are two schools of thought in this country at the moment and I feel that they can be boiled down to a very simple truth. It is the "I" against the "We". I stand for "we", for achieving things together, for solving problems together, for building things together, for suffering together, for rejoicing and succeeding together. The people who have said "I" in history before were called Adolf, Joseph, Benito, Vladimir, Sar, Augusto by their mothers and fathers. We do not need to add to this list anymore. They brought horror and terror onto the world because they thought they had all the solutions. The choice is so simple: I can belong and be part of a "we", I can be stronger as part of a "we", happier, more active, more constructive, more helpful. I cannot be part of an "I", I can only be dominated by another "I". I do not want that. I stand for we.