Just a little wistful thinking


To the editor:

What is this world coming to? It is riddled with a virus, literally and figuratively.

It has, in the United States of America, a president (and government) who lies, cheats, and is an embarrassment across the world. I live with questions that go unanswered — a big mess. I live with answers I cannot understand or even be certain of.

And I feel frustrated and lost, and angry more than sad.

What will the cure be? How long will this take? What can I do? What can any of us do that we aren’t trying already?

I always believed in America that “we the people” could do everything and change so many things. I had the “right to speak my mind out.” That was American to me.

I remember Assembly Day, maybe beginning in the 1940s, that day of the week when I wore a red neckerchief, a white blouse and a blue skirt. I was a little girl then, and I had no clue what this patriotism I was a part of meant. But that didn’t matter. It felt so good.

I sang, I think, without understanding the words to songs either “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee,” to have and to hold, one nation … with liberty and justice for all.

I loved those times — the dressing up, the words, the camaraderie. I couldn’t wait for my turn to be in the color guard. I was proud of the flag, probably had one in my home. I know I thought I lived in the best place on Earth.

I knew who the president was, and who the vice president was, too. I firmly believed George Washington never told a lie, and that Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves, and made everyone equal. I think I thought FDR was the best president ever. After all, my grandmother had his picture over her small kitchen table.

I could trust the kind policeman to “help me find the dear ones who wait for me” if I got lost. I could even play outside with my friends without my mother sitting and watching me on the nearest bench.

Sure, she might look out the window a million times to check on me.

I was little then. I guess as that little girl, there were things that grown-ups and government were doing to keep me safe, and keep the world safe for democracy. They knew the answers. Maybe I even believed in their honesty.

That was a long time ago. I am no longer that little girl. Back then, I had so many years ahead of me. That is no longer so now. I am 77. I treasure the years I have left. I, like you, want them to be the best, the kindest, the most honest they can be. Pain-free.

I still want to sing along with Frank Sinatra, “… especially the people. That’s American to me.”

Judith Veder

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Judith Veder,