The America that I grew up in, that I’ve watched with wonder over the decades, that I have loved and taken pride in all my life … is changing, dying. But let me tell you about the one I remember.
- The America that I loved was a place where the family up the street adopted kids of five different races, and that was considered wonderful.
- The America I loved was one in which I could go into the local 7-11 and be the only white in a room with seven colors present, all laughing amiably with each other as friends.
- The America I loved let people worship (or not) as they pleased, and that freedom was celebrated.
- The America I loved was not afraid of different views that allowed for inclusion of differences because she could find room for all at the table of ideas.
- The America I loved was a place where kids could dream of their futures, and then educate their minds to reach it without going into crippling debt.
- The America I loved allowed my immigrant husband, a man with great talent, but no means, to flourish and become a highly-educated leader in his community.
- The America I loved treated women respectfully, honoring womanhood and motherhood as sacred and valuable.
- The America I loved honored its veterans and its public servants for their efforts to protect us at home and abroad, and gave gratitude for those who had suffered as POWs or were gravely injured.
- The America I loved gave opportunities to the weak, the disabled, the elderly, and the dying to be part of society in meaningful, enriching ways.
- The America I loved inspired scientific discovery, and the drive to improve and invent and innovate, so she always reached for more knowledge and new skills.
- The America I loved prized its glorious natural resources and the beauty thereof, and did what she could to ensure clean air, water, and soil for future generations.
- The America I loved opened doors of communication to nations around the world and said, “Learn from us, and we’ll learn from you, and together we will rise.”
- The America I loved extolled the rights of all of its citizens to pursue life, liberty, and happiness, even if their individual interpretations of that dream differed.
- The America I loved was not afraid of political dissent, and welcomed open discourse in the media, satire in entertainment, and hard questions in open forums.
- The America I loved did not try to silence or otherwise demonize opposition to her leaders, but rather encouraged vigilance against corruption or the abuse of power.
- The America I loved made an effort to elect honorable men and women who would be governed by principles and a desire to help their country.
- The America I loved had millions of people who considered the needs of society over self, and sought for ways to be of benefit to their communities.
- The America I loved sought to end existing conflicts with other nations and avoid future military action through diplomacy whenever possible.
- The America I loved valued the voice of each and every voter.
- The America I loved sought liberty and justice for all.
- The America I loved looked for ways to help all her citizens at once–and the lone citizen in a solitary plight.
- The America I loved was respected abroad by nations of many kinds because she dealt justly, respectfully, honestly, and with strength and dignity, leading by example.
- The America I loved was a beacon of hope and inspiration to fledgling democracies, showing them that the power of a nation lies in her people, not a lone king, dictator, or oligarchy.
- The America I loved reached out the hand of fellowship to the oppressed refugees of war, genocide, famine, and corrupt tyranny, thus showing the world how to love humanity.
- The America I loved saw herself as part of a global community on this planet Earth, and took responsibility accordingly, working with her neighbors to build trust and a bright future of good will, fair trade, abundant energy, and prosperity.
- The America I loved was one in which I could see a problem yet say with confidence, “This is America. We can totally fix this.”
The America I loved was never all of these at once, nor was she any of them perfectly, but she tried. She was moving in that direction. She wanted to be better. She was sailing with her course charted towards a better tomorrow for all.
Did she give up because we, her children, would not do our part? Or are we the ones who gave up and let her fall?