I'm a farm girl, I know about cows and pigs and pick-up trucks and small town values and I believe there are smart, creative, kind and wise people living everywhere; city, country and everywhere in-between--I know them; I love them.
I also believe at this time in history when so much information and opportunity are at our fingertips (the kind of access that I dreamed of as an inquisitive child in a country school) that there are people who are being willfully ignorant about the dangers presented by our president and the forces at work to change American society to something darker, less safe, less warm, less caring, less inclusive.
There is only so much that we can do about where we've come from. My mother was an immigrant, my father, the son of immigrants. Neither had a high school education. We didn't have an indoor toilet until I was 8. The America of the 1950's and '60's gave me an opportunity. I was white--that helped, I was a girl,--that put up roadblocks, but I had a chance.
Without a good public education, I couldn't have gotten into college; without Social Security (my dad was 70 when I started college), a campus job and a scholarship, I couldn't have paid for it; without a working immigration system, I couldn't have traveled to Australia to teach and eventually make my way around the world, where I saw some Americans behaving badly, but found that most people I met in Asia and Europe liked and admired Americans. (that is changing--there is skepticism where once there was simple acceptance)
Through the past decades Americans have struggled with their demons--racism, sexism, classism and we have made great strides to live up to the clarion call of the Declaration of Independence: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
Now, I fear, too many Americans, especially those in power, are finding that struggle with demons too taxing; too difficult. They want to put up walls (the infamous literal wall along the border and the figurative one between people of differing ideas) and they want to take away opportunities and restrict access to the American dream.
They are fearful and the fearful lock doors and build fences, but the fire and the wind and the flood can still reach them. We are safer and we are happier when we recognize our common humanity and reach out our hands to one another.