We spent the weekend in the nation's capital.
Yes, it was hot and sticky. But Washington is built on a swamp and the entrenched political class and hangers-on who inhabit it during the week make it swampier. But, over a summer weekend, visiting ordinary Americans (the people who pay the bills) have the town all to themselves.
There were thousands of tourists everywhere we turned -- people young and old, from all over the country. And they joined us in not only enjoying the town and all its attractions but doing so with courtesy, civility and old-fashioned friendliness.
And we saw the same thing on crowded trains as we journeyed on both to and from Washington. People made room for one another.
People of every race, religion, color, culture and persuasion waited in long lines and traversed busy intersections, crowded doorways, full escalators and elevators, etc. and they did it all in good spirits. Perfect strangers held doors open for one another, stepped aside for the elderly and/or disabled, exchanged pleasantries, remembered to say "please" and "thank you" and smiled all along the way.
This is the America that we saw this weekend -- to and fro and right within the shadow of the capitol, the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial.
Remember: It was sweltering hot. It was so hot that at times it made your skin crawl.
But we didn't hear a single negative word nor did we encounter any anger, rudeness or disrespectfulness. And we were all over the city during a period of three days.
Were we surprised? Not in the least.
And do you know why?
Because, for the most part Americans conduct themselves in this manner every single day.
This morning, throughout the land they fought traffic and/or made their way on crowded public transportation and found a way to make it all work. They got to work on time, reported for duty and right now are busy doing their jobs, working together to do what needs to be done.
They work together, no matter who they are, what they believe or what the color of their skin is.
They don't really need any lecture about getting along with one another. They've been doing that for quite some time.
In fact, they could teach the politicians and the so-called "leaders" of the land (and this goes for some of the so-called faith "leaders" and business "leaders" and so forth) a thing or two about getting along and getting things done. Day in and day out, the people of this great country provide us with a living example of positive human relationships.
Not many politicians these days seem to get this. They're often too busy exploiting the differences they think they see while they piously preach the politically-correct gospel of "diversity." But everyday, hard-working, tax-paying Americans feel more unity than diversity in our collective weariness of huge and insensitive behemoths (both private and governmental) that take our time, treasure and talent and overwhelm us with their inefficiency, deceit, smugness and cynical charades. We're tired of the lies, the excuses, the failures.
We fed up with their "do as I say, not as I do" mantra and their seeming ability to hold themselves above the law.
And, understandably, we fear that no matter how hard we try to hold things together, forces seemingly beyond our control are pulling apart the very fabric (the shared, daily, embodiment of "We the people . . . ") that makes us great.
So, the true vacuum here is not amongst those of us inhabiting the real, honest-to-goodness working world -- the place where the wheels of America are supposed to turn to make it better for all of us. The real problem is more so with our bloated, dehumanizing institutions (including academia, the media and even huge non-profits) and the often patronizing people who pretend to be in charge of them. They're the ones who have lost their way.
And while they may see themselves as being in charge of those institutions, they most certainly are not in charge of us.
We don't need to be told how to think, how to act, what to say or how to treat one another, and especially not by them. In fact, the cartel which they have apparently created and nourished has spent enough time trying to muddy the waters regarding good and bad, right and wrong, common sense and nonsense.
Now, it's time for us to trust our instincts, our shared experience and our innately good judgement and set about the business of reclaiming and rebuilding everything that makes America great.
Now, it's time for us to teach them a lesson -- one they will never forget.
And there's absolutely no time to lose.
Let's roll, America!