Goodbye, My America

Once-proud citizen bids farewell to the U.S. of his early life

I awoke on a recent morning with the somber realization that it was likely time for me to say goodbye to My America. Like me, My America is showing the degradation of the aging process—things just don’t work the way they once did, and there are so many places where it hurts. The will to learn something new, invest in a new activity, or find a new and better way of doing old things takes too much effort. Let someone else do it; we’re tired.

When I was young, My America was strong. It revered truth over fantasy and decried deceit—but no more. It based success on education and belief in science, and based its policies on facts—but no more. It saw the national and world benefits of national parks, clean air and a plastic-free ocean. It bragged of its Declaration of Independence, which begins with “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,” and our Constitution that divided the nation’s governance equally between three branches. But no more!

My America didn’t base success solely on the size of one’s bank account, didn’t imprison refugees or destroy their families, and didn’t cheat in order to win. My America and its leaders were respected and admired by their citizens and world leaders alike—but no more.

I vividly remember in second grade, Miss Wright proudly brought her fiancé to class. He was just back from the war and was dressed in his full Naval uniform and we were awed—and proud, because he represented My America. Today a majority of our elected legislators view such a uniformed and battle-scarred officer as a “traitor” because he doesn’t support the falsehoods they choose to believe and instead relies on truth and facts that they disregard. That’s not what I was taught to expect from My America.

My children experienced some of My America, and my grandchildren, a smidgeon, but to future generations it will only be a chapter in the history books, if any such documentation will be allowed. So, goodbye, My America, so sad to see you go, because I’ve so enjoyed knowing you during my lifetime.