A few days have gone by without any articles being posted here. Reality, especially at the level that we explore, can drain your spirit at times; I just needed a few days to refresh my perspective.
A change of scenery, an escape from my keyboard, and quality time with good friends was just what the doctor ordered. In the process, I was able to touch a reality that I knew existed, but had become detached from; a reality and belief that are at the core of my efforts.
That reality? America is a special place and worth any sacrifice required of us. No, that is not a new concept for me, but a few days spent in contact with the manifestation of your beliefs is a refreshing exercise.
My average day looks like this: scan 40 news sources, read over one hundred articles, listen to dozens of audio clips, share insights and intelligence with contacts using multiple communication avenues, spend time analyzing what I learn, and then putting it all into words to be shared on this blog and with others. When you do that day after day you can lose touch with the ‘why’ behind your efforts.
I have an unfaltering belief that at its core, America still retains and trusts in the values that made it the beacon of freedom and opportunity that the world envies. I know that the American spirit is alive and well, but the true spirit of the country is masked by negative news, destructive political agendas, and the distractions and stresses centered within our major cities.
Let’s face it, the real strength of America lies with the people that are not considered newsworthy or sexy by the media. You are probably one of these people.
My recent days were spent enjoying the activities of average Americans in an average American town. The town is rarely mentioned outside of its own state, and the major media outlets would never mention its name unless a freak tornado cut a path of destruction through downtown. The name of the town does not matter; it is just one of thousands of similar towns across America.
To my friends with whom I visited though, the name of their town is Shangri-la. Within this town, and the thousands like it throughout the country, live real Americans, doing real things. They are raising families, earning a living, worshiping God, making sacrifices, and making decisions for their future.
What makes them different from the towns that are always making the news? If you don’t know the answer to this question I would suggest that you go out and discover it for yourself.
Here is my answer to the question. They are not just towns or cities; no, they are communities. There is a sense of community built upon families and respect for their neighbors. Kids playing in the front yard instead of in front of TV’s, neighbors being friendly to each other, a friendly wave to a stranger and a smile in place of stressful frowns.
I may be a little nostalgic here, but this is what an American town should be; communities working towards a better life for its citizens, and citizens working towards a better life for their community. There is a feeling of responsibility and respect emanating from the people you meet that is missing from all of those big cities upon which the news cycle revolves.
While some cities are always making headlines, usually for the wrong reasons, the thousands of Shangri-la’s across the country should be the real news-makers. On a daily basis they are showing the country how to survive and prosper, and how to solve problems at the most effective level. More importantly though, they exhibit the spirit and values upon which our country was founded and built.
In addition to being a refreshing exercise for my spirit and my belief in American values, visiting this average town reinforced my understanding of how these communities will save America in the coming years. Readers here know I believe that America has some very trying times in the near future. The economy has yet to hit bottom, citizens have been polarized by political agendas, and our country is facing external threats on a scale that we have never experienced before.
As the large cities are being torn apart by those lacking in basic values, the communities like the one I visited will be the source of stability and healing that will allow America to survive. The simpler life and adherence to old fashioned values that are ridiculed by many media elites will once again prove to be the unshakable foundation of our future.
My little respite was not only personally refreshing, it broadened my understanding of how the country will survive the future trials that will be faced. It is that understanding that I will incorporate into future analysis and writings.
I understand that not all people will have the desire or resources to relocate to one of these average American communities such as the one I visited. However, I do recommend that everyone discover what it is about these communities that is drawing so many people from the larger cities. Discover the values that are the foundation of these communities and reintroduce them to both your personal life and the life of your town if they are missing.
If you cannot move your home to Shangri-la, try moving Shangri-la to your home.
by Jack Woodward 6/6/12