Nothing can illustrate these observations more forcibly,
than a recollection of the happy conjuncture of times and
circumstances, under which our Republic assumed its rank
among the Nations;
The foundation of our Empire was not laid in the gloomy age
of Ignorance and Superstition,
but at an Epoch when the rights of mankind were better understood
and more clearly defined, than at any former period,
the researches of the human mind, after social happiness,
have been carried to a great extent, the Treasures of knowledge,
acquired by the labours of Philosophers,
Sages and Legislatures, through a long succession of years,
are laid open for our use, and their collected wisdom may be happily
applied in the Establishment of our forms of Government;
the free cultivation of Letters, the unbounded extension of Commerce,
the progressive refinement of Manners, the growing liberality
of sentiment… have had a meliorating influence on mankind
and increased the blessings of Society.
At this auspicious period, the United States came into existence
as a Nation, and if their Citizens should not be completely
free and happy, the fault will be entirely their own.
[Circular to the States, 8 June 1783 – Writings 26:484–89]”
George Washington, Writings
(Bald eagle in flight over the James River/ Parks Rountrey)
Is it just me???
I suddenly have a great desire to hop in the car and take off.
Taking off into the great unknown.
I want to go off on some grand American adventure.
I want to go find America.
Maybe it’s due to the fact that this nation of ours has been shut down
for basically a year and a half…and in many parts,
she is still shut down.
Maybe it’s because this nation of ours is now at
some surreal war with itself…
I want to see for myself if we are still out there…is this great nation
I’ve always known, still out there…alive and well?
Or has she become a mere ghost of herself?
Many years ago, when our son was little, we decided to take him on
our small version of the great American family vacation.
Sadly we all know how such family vacations often play out.
The parents are typically enthralled while the kids are usually bored
And that’s pretty much how it played out for us.
The pictures of smiling parents with a smug kid in tow.
However we wanted our son to see things we knew that were the wonders of
this great nation of ours.
Wonders such as the Grand Canyon, the rugged coast of Maine,
Yellowstone and Old Faithful, the Great Salt lake,
the lands of the American western Indians,
true free spirited roaming buffalo, the settlements of Jamestown,
The Outer Banks and Blackbeard, the painted desert, the petrified forest,
the Grand Tetons, the Snake River, the raw lands of Alaska,
the endless corn fields of Nebraska, the Rocky Mountains…
So we got in the car over the course of several summers and drove..
and in some cases, we flew then drove.
We wanted our son to see parts of this nation other than his own
home in Georgia.
During those formative years, we took him to the west,
the southwest, the north, the northwest, the northeast, the southeast,
while traversing the middle of this great land.
I suspect as parents, we might have enjoyed these trips more than our
preteen son but in the end, we knew he needed to see our country outside
of his own narrow world—all because one day, he would appreciate that
he had seen all these things…he would have a reference point when
thinking about this country as his home.
I know that not all kids have such opportunities…
nor do all adults…
But getting in a car and driving just seemed to make sense.
He probably would have been happier to just spend time at the beach..
but there was just so much we wanted him to experience.
We did what we could as his parents to expose him
to as much of this country as possible—because we wanted him
to see America.
We wanted him to see what our forefathers knew was worth fighting for.
Why a Revolution was fought, why a Civil war ensued, why we have sent young men and women to various wars all in order to preserve this somewhat “perfect union”.
And perhaps to understand this current struggle with our past.
In my little bio on the “About” page of this blog I mention
that I enjoy traveling.
“I also possess a tremendous passion for travel as I feel traveling
helps to make an extremely large and diverse world a little friendlier–
as it calls for understanding and empathy which are results of spending time
in someone else’s “world”—
as all of us on this planet share a very similar human history and relationship—
the things that make us more alike than different are those ties that bind
together rather than separate…”
Spending time in someone else’s world…
Isn’t that what makes those little connections with others?
We begin to see others not as different but as more alike.
Connections that allow us to understand one another??
Yet today sadly, I know that we can’t just hop in the car and take off.
Not today, not now.
Gas prices are on the rise, the pandemic still holds some states
as prisoners while others are being liberated.
And despite being vaccinated, masks are still required,
social distancing is still a thing and freedom of movement
is actually not so free…it is limited at best.
Throw in a mass influx of illegal immigrants and the notion of safety,
in some of our border states, becomes a serious issue.
Add in the continued violence from Marxists and Anarchist groups
such as Antifa and BLM overflowing in many or our Nation’s major cities..
and so visiting some of our major cities is not even an option.
So hopping in a car while hitting the wide open highways,
in order to go see America, is simply now a pipe dream…
However I wonder…if I did get to go out and see this America of mine,
I wonder what exactly I would find…
Most likely a rewritten history of a nation’s past along with
a now very uncertain future.
Is this land really your land and my land…