It is Spring. In the last few months, I have been to Searcy, Arkansas, Clovis, California, Oxford, Maryland, Knoxville, Tennessee, Williamsburg, Kentucky, Spartanburg, South Carlina, and to many other small towns and cities across this country.
I have heard bagpipers keening in coal country in Appalachia, farmers planning about water in the San Joaquin Valley, cafeteria workers studying for college entrance tests in the high desert east of L.A. And what I hear and see, even in this nasty recession, is a Niagara of confidence that this America will come back better, stronger, more filled with opportunity than ever.
I have heard a single mother in California planning to send her daughter to the Ivy League college she could never afford as a girl. I have seen and heard businessmen say they will go without their salaries for as long as it takes to keep their workers employed and their businesses right side up.
I read the newspapers and take in the stories of gloom and doom and feel suicidal when I finish my reading. Then I go out into the real America and see and feel a gusher of hope.
The people I sit next to on airplanes and at Waffle Houses and Wal-Marts are not afraid of the future. They know, even if the newspaper editors don't, that America is not so much a political and geographical state as a state of mind. And that state of mind is of optimism and hope. And that hope and that optimism are alive and well in Searcy and Williamsburg and Spartanburg and from that wellspring will come renewal, as it always does...not from planning and planners in the Treasury or the Executive Office Building. From the brave hearts of Americans. The recession will end as they always do. It will be morning in America again. That's what America is: morning and Springtime, too.
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