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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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From My Window

Good Neighbors

By Jane Thibodeau Martin


Recently I read an excellent book "Dead Wake," which is about the torpedoing and sinking of the passenger ship, the Lusitania, by a German submarine right before the First World War. Well over a thousand people died, including many Americans on board. The book is about ships, which is one of my core interests, but it was also a nice mix of personal stories and history. Understanding history is critical in interpreting and understanding current events, in my opinion. There was one small reference in the book that really got me thinking.

The reference was that the United States stayed neutral in World War I for a long time, more than two years, as it raged in Europe and hundreds of thousands died. Even the sinking of the Lusitania did not draw the U.S. into the war. But during that time Germany, suspecting that the U.S. would eventually come to the defense of England and other countries, made a very sneaky overture to Mexico. In short, Germany secretly encouraged Mexico to join the German alliance if the U.S. joined the war. In return, Germany would help Mexico acquire U.S. territory after the U.S. was conquered. They appealed to Mexico, with some justification, that the U.S. had taken their land in the first place.

Imagine if that had actually happened. Bloody, horrific war, being waged along our southern border and on our soil. This is not something we have had to suffer through in centuries. Yes, we have "war" within our country as the result of domestic and foreign terrorist acts, but nothing like what the civilians in countries such as England, France, Japan and Germany suffered during and after world wars.

What that made me reflect on, is how well-served we have been by our peaceful relationships with our border countries of Canada and Mexico. I think of them as very good neighbors to us. And maintaining those good relationships is critically important. Imagine enemy air bases or marine facilities on the soil or waters of Mexico or Canada " if this is not a thought that concerns you, it should.

Most of us have experienced a mix of "good" and "bad" neighbors where we live. Good neighbors watch out for our interests, alert us to unusual or threatening situations, and cooperate with us as needed. Bad neighbors can bring threats, make us uncomfortable or frightened, or even cause us to move.

Most of us try to build good relationships with neighbors because we are good people and assume they are, too. But there is a big self-interest in having supportive neighbors as well.

We, as a country and personally, should carefully tend our positive relationships with Mexico and Canada. It benefits both of our "neighborhoods," and good neighbors should never be taken for granted. One keeps good neighbors by being a good neighbor in thought, word and deeds.

Let each of us set a personal example of treating others of all races, faiths and colors with love and respect, as they are all our neighbors.

I pass along my sympathy to reader Mary who sent me the sweetest letter about the Rainbow Bridge column. I am sorry for the loss of your dog, and thank you for your kind comments about that column.

You can reach me for commentary, alternative viewpoints or ideas at this e-mail address: Janiethibmartin@gmail.com.


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