After a night when a presidential candidate painted the United States in desperate chaos, riddled by illegal immigrants, violence and despair, I began to reflect on the view of the world we each carry inside day by day.
I thought back to the early 1980’s, a time of turmoil and economic uncertainty for me, a single mother trying to get by on a part-time faculty salary. My world view was one of pessimism, largely shaped by personal experience at the time.
Pioneer Courthouse Square was being overhauled in Portland, and they had sold bricks to raise funds for the construction. I had bought one for myself and one for my daughter, a $30 extravagance at the time. As she and I walked downtown talking about the bricks, she asked me how long they would last. I told her they would be there for quite a while. “Then we can bring your great-grandchildren down to see them,” she replied.
She had a completely different sense of the future that brought me up short. She envisioned the generations to come while I was mired in a view without a future. I decided that day to try to hold onto her vision and put aside my own.
Right now so much literature, television and film is centered on an apocalyptic view. Some politicians imagine a perfect past and posit that only a retreat can restore hope. I try to look ahead to a time when renewal takes precedence over isolation, when my great-grandchildren can read in their history books about the rebirth, not the death throes, of our country.