I had two diametrically opposed experiences today. One was the Jeff Sessions Session. The other was a local high school academic awards dinner. And it struck during the dinner that I had witnessed staggeringly different expressions of America within hours of each other.
D.C. World was full of cameras speed-snapping so fiercely they sounded like a swarm of ominous mechanical bees. Then pleasantries gave way to dueling show boaters, spinners, twisters, and contorters torturing the truth into whatever mutated “facts” suited their political agenda or scored points for their team in what Dr. Hunter S. Thompson was fond of calling America’s favorite blood sport.
Whatever really happened over the last few months, the truth was slaughtered as a result, and I fear we may never find the body. Political ideologies are so carnivorously preying on each other these days that neither peaceful coexistence nor productive leadership seems remotely possible anymore.
Between the behavior of our alleged leaders of all persuasions and the relentless, grinding autopsy that is the 24-hour news cycle, hope in the American ideal would seem nothing more than dying embers.
Or so I thought.
As I watched vibrant young smart people approach the awards podium each full of radiant hope and fertile dreams of the future, I realized I hadn’t been watching America on TV, I had been baring withness to The Lost.
Congress isn’t America.
Washington, D.C. isn’t America.
They now seem to form a level of Dante’s Inferno where those who put ambition before service and greed before community and ego before humility are damned to attack each other regardless of oath of office or the good of the country in nightmare news cycles that erode the souls of all who see this maelstrom.
But America is not this savage circus.
America is people giving back to their community. America is students rewarded for dedication to expanding their knowledge and elevating their lives with ideas and ideals, concepts and hard work.
America is adults contributing to the uplifting of the community be investing in our greatest resource – the minds of the young. America is not telling them what they must think, rather just telling them that they must.
America is the astonishing sight of a student presenting a classmate a scholarship to memorialize a family member who has past, honoring both the memory and the recipient by helping to finance the future.
America is not lost, it is living in communities that take the time to care for each other. And I will stand with the young and hopeful dreamers over the jaded manipulators any day.
Congrats to the classes of 2017 all across America. You just might be the saviors of the American ideal.