It’s election season, and I have been listening to the candidates talk. What I hear, makes me sad. Every candidate seems to point out the flaws and the terrible things about our country. It sounds like America is a terrible place to live.
I know much of it is rhetoric, and I know that we, as a country, have our flaws. But I also know that there’s a reason people are willing to risk crossing an ocean on a raft to come here. I know that even now with all our flaws and problems, we’re still a land of opportunity.
Between the TV commercials, the debates and the soundbites on the morning news, I wonder what country it is that these candidates are talking about. Because I don’t think they live in the America I know.
In the America that I know, in times of trouble, friends and neighbors lend a helping hand.
In the America that I know, the neighborhood kids make sure the elderly neighbor has a driveway and walkway clean from snow.
In the America that I know, strangers stop to help a young mom when she drops her coupons in the grocery store aisle.
In the America that I know, my daughter sits at a lunch table filled with her friends – a girl from Ethiopia, a girl from Malaysia, and a girl from India.
In the America that I know, there are people who make racist remarks. And there are more people who point out the injustice and wrongness of those remarks.
In the America that I know, there is human trafficking. And there are ordinary men and women fighting to stop it.
In the America that I know, people open their wallets to help others in need – whether it’s ringing a bell at Christmastime or funding relief efforts in Haiti.
In the America that I know, people volunteer their time to help kids learn to read, to help adults learn English, to help the homeless learn an employable skill.
In the America that I know, people can exercise their freedom of speech (although we could all learn to do so a bit more gently).
In the America that I know, little girls can grow up to be anything they want, including president of the United States.
In the America that I know, the biggest kid on my daughter’s hockey team stands up for the smaller guys (and girl).
In the America that I know, people are generally decent and hard-working.
In the America that I know, the older couple on the street keeps dog biscuits on hand for the neighborhood dogs (and the dogs come knock on the door to ask for them).
In the America that I know, most peoplee are all just trying to get along, live in community and build a better life for themselves and their families.
Nothing about our country is perfect, but the America I know is much different from the one our candidates for president seem to live in. In this election season of turmoil and discord, let’s remember that for every one thing our country could improve on, there’s another that we do well. Let’s remember that it’s not our politicians that make America; it’s the people. We are America. Let’s find the good things in the America that we know.
What does the America that you know look like?