I have hope for America. Not because of any politician or their political party. Not because of any government program or rhetoric. And not even because the nation’s crime rate seems to be ebbing.
I have hope for America because of what I saw last weekend as my wife and I drove through the southern half of our state. Both the rural areas and the small and mid-size towns we passed through lifted our spirits in ways I had almost forgotten.
In a fast-food restaurant, where we stopped for a sandwich and cup of coffee, we listened to a woman share the news of the week with an older couple, possibly her parents. My guess is they spend the week in a local nursing home and look forward to Sunday when their daughter takes them to church and springs for lunch afterward.
The daughter announced she had found four dollars worth of quarters in the sofa cushions. The mother laughed and remembered a time she thought she’d lost her egg money only to find it on the back porch.
Not only were the streets of most of the towns lined with American flags, so were many of the homes and virtually all of the businesses that lined the streets. Evidence that love of our country and respect for the flag that represents it are alive and well.
We saw moms and dads laying out picnic tables with the kids in local parks. On one small ball field, a bent but frisky grandfather picked up a bat and stepped up to the plate as his granddaughter wound up for the pitch. The rest of the family cheered from the sidelines.
In another town, we saw kids and adults picking up trash that had scattered along the sidewalk. We saw flags flying from truck mirrors, cars, boats and motorcycles.
Farm fields were green and lush in anticipation of a bountiful harvest, a reminder that America still feeds a good portion of the world. Many old barns were in good repair and newly painted, proof that a lot of people are grateful and take care of what they have.
I have hope for America because a majority of Americans understand that freedom is never free and abundance is a gift to be nurtured and passed down to future generations.
It’s easy, I suppose, to look at blighted neighborhoods, crime, unemployment, homelessness and despair in some of our cities and consider it a harbinger of a failed system and an uncertain future.
But anyone who would take the time to drive through the farms and towns of our state and watch and listen to those who live, work and play there would know otherwise.