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I Miss America

I miss america.

I miss our straight-forward approach to solving big problems. I miss the willingness to tackle those problems without agendas or motives, simply because they existed and needed solving and who better than us to provide the solution.

I miss open roads that lead to new worlds, inviting, calling. And then discovering, in fact, that everywhere along those roads we were neighbors and united in a common bond that somehow defied our differences and can never be replaced by big box stores and stamped, replicant communities.

Like many, I am an explorer and I miss first-hand discovery. Like anyone across this country, I can travel hundreds of miles in any direction and find the same branded and stamped community I left behind. I can travel hundreds of miles and find the same everything I left behind. America has become homogenized milk, generic Rice Krispies. Everywhere we go there we are. We have surrendered our uniqueness for convenience and conformity.

I miss patriotism, real patriotism, not the authoritarian, keep-in-step-or-else sort we have today. I’m talking about patriotism that was borne in pride over what we made and was rooted in who we were as a community. I’m talking about the sort of patriotism that can’t be worn as a pin on a lapel or seen as a bumper sticker on a car. I miss the patriotism that unites and doesn’t divide.

I miss the blurring of lines between those who had enough and those who had everything. Those lines are so hard and visible these days and the jump between them so impossibly long.

I miss the america that dreamed to land a man on the moon, that created the personal computer and the internet. I’m not saying I miss the america that was. I miss the america that did. When did we – as a country – go on life support?

I miss the pace of baseball and football (sports, in general) and the regal way they were once played. An NFL game today lasts nearly 3 and a half hours and has a total of 12 minutes of action.

Speaking of sports, I miss athletes who played for the love of the game and not the pretend glory of God. Really, it would be pretty harsh of God to bless you in a frivolous pursuit while so many are in dire need. Thanking Him for blessing your touchdown is the height of self-importance.

I miss kids leaving at the drop of a hat because they had to be home for dinner. I miss the supermarket being today’s Farmer’s Market and a PB and J being fast-food.

I miss the country that created the constitution and the world’s most powerful middle class, who now creates the Kardashians, a new color of iPhone, and piles of denial.

I am not against change, far from it. I simply don’t like growing older and living faster but not better, or constantly moving towards shallow waters where our differences put an impossible divide between us instead of adding color to our worlds.

I miss big and bold ideas that sweep up a generation and become an anthem. Where is today’s Woodstock, moon landing, Amelia Earhart, or Albert Einstein? These weren’t just pop icons that disappeared as quickly as they came, only to be replaced by another equally shallow propped up hero. They were rock stars who continue to endure.

I miss how big things used to be, their larger than life qualities.

I miss Walter Cronkite and other journalists like him who sought the truth regardless of their advertisers. Today, we confuse belief with fact. We no longer seek the truth. We nullify reality and endanger our lives and the lives of our children in order to mould the world to our particular egocentric perspective, evidence and facts be damned. We don’t believe in climate change. We don’t believe in evolution. We don’t believe the President is an American. Instead of being ridiculed for our idiocy others stand by and cheer us on, the media included. Our personal beliefs take precedence over fact.

There is nothing but danger in this pretending and we must find a way to insist on policy that is founded in rationality. Otherwise, we are diving into the murky waters of the Mayans, the Romans, and the Anasazi. We disappear. History is filled with believers who have faded into obscurity and obsolescence because they couldn't bend their beliefs to accommodate the truth; because they chose to bend the truth to accommodate their beliefs.

Our world has become glassy and surface deep. We swallow up depth and replace it with cardboard cutouts and bumper sticker philosophies. We make depth disappear, along with local flavor … and our compassion for others … and our sense of community. And with them, I think, something of us – and the American Dream – disappears, too. This is what I mean when I say I miss america.

in category Life

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Tags for this article

change in america, missing america