It was foggy day on Hogback Mountain. The sign on the long-closed restaurant advertised “100 Mile View,” but you couldn’t see anything that day. I stopped anyway. Just before leaving, I saw the sticker on the guardrail. “I miss America,” it said.
It’s haunted me ever since. Who put it there? Does it date from the Obama administration or the Trump administration? Is it about politics or something deeper? What is it about America that we miss?
I’ve come up with a few ideas, but I’d really like to hear yours.
I miss seeing kids playing pick-up games at the park during summer vacation. I miss the days when we didn’t let “stranger danger” ruin childhood.
I miss elections where candidates tried to appeal to the center, not just fire up the base.
I miss the America that had a functioning Congress, where decisions were made, deals were struck and leaders treated each other with respect.
I miss an America where everything wasn’t turned into an over-hyped controversy, where people, media and parties didn’t find so much profit in driving us apart.
I miss an America where Americans weren’t so hyphenated.
I miss a time when the American president was the leader of the free world, when America was respected by other nations, in part because we stood for something besides self-interest.
I miss the America where schools taught grammar, civics and the proper use of the word literally.
I miss the America where facts were facts, authority figures had authority and where science and expertise counted for something.
Sorry to launch a holiday weekend on a down note, but this is a moment that calls for reflection on the state of our nation. So reflect with me, if you will, by dropping me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org. What do you miss about America?