I caught myself waxing nostalgic for the land of my youth the other day. I wished I could go back in time. Back to a place where terror was something I paid money to feel at the theater, not the ever present horror of today.
I wanted to return to the simpler times of my childhood. The joy of running barefoot though the fields, swimming in the creek, and knowing my Mother and Dad would protect me from any evil. I miss those days, and I wish my grandchildren could have what I had.
It’s funny how your mind plays tricks on you.
I’d allowed myself to forget how divided my beloved nation was even then. How Vietnam tore us apart, how the hippies and the old men hated each other. I’d forgotten the horror of watching fellow Americans attacked by police with dogs because they were black and had the audacity to desire equal treatment under law. I’d let myself forget how sad my Mom and Dad were because I would not have what they had.
I came to the sad realization that my America doesn’t exist except in my mind. The nation I sang of as a boy, "sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing," has always been in a state of conflict and upheaval. Many could not hope to claim their share of the American Dream. Not because they weren’t willing to work at it, but because they were the wrong color or the wrong ethnicity.
We were lucky here, in our little community. People helped each other without caring what color the family in need was or what political party they favored. My hometown boasted two hundred souls, and we knew all about each other. It was hard not to in a small town.
My father was a man who judged people by their actions, not their race or financial situation. Pop taught us to respect the opinions of everyone, but to decide for ourselves what we thought was right and stand by it. We were fortunate to have such a man stand as our example. I wish I could return to those days, just to ask my Dad what I should do? How do I keep my children from falling into the trap of hating someone’s politics so badly they end up hating the person?
I always thought the ties that bound us together as Americans were stronger than the issues that divided us. I don’t know if I believe that anymore, and it saddens me more than I can say. It hurts to think of my beloved country dying a slow death from within. Our people too divided to care…too caught up in hating everyone else…too busy despising the freedoms our forefathers fought and died for when they’re exercised by someone they disagree with.
I miss my America, even if it was only in my mind.Powered by Sidelines