Suzy and I for the last four days drove through Va., Pa, and NY to go to Fort Ticonderoga, and then across the state of New York to Chautauqua. One forgets that there are some big states on the east coast.
Since Suzy doesn’t like Interstates we spent most of the driving on red, blue, and a few grey county roads listening to “Dora” (our navigation lady) tell us we should turn left in five miles, return to route, or that she was recalculating when we refused to follow her directions. The countryside was often beautiful, but we also saw a lot of poverty as we traversed the back roads of the three states.
One thinks of poverty being limited to the depths of the inner cities, but there is a different kind of poverty in the rural parts of our states, lots of abandoned properties and homes, and car, tractor, boat graveyards. Life for these hundreds of thousands of individuals is not about traveling to Whole Foods for groceries, the shopping malls for clothes, or the five star restaurants for dinner.
I think that just as politicians and leaders must learn how to communicate with and address the problems of the people who live in our inner city ghettos, they also must learn to do the same with those that are barely scrapping buy on the back gravel roads of rural America.
But the Pew is not about politics. Hopefully at times it is about faith and hope, and we must all find ways to offer faith, hope, and love to all who feel that their home offers little hope or opportunity, wherever that home may be.
Chautauqua offers Suzy and I an ideal setting to think about lofty thoughts such as religious liberty and the arts and global understanding. But I shan’t forget the education I just received on the way to this mountaintop.