The White Horse

The White Horse

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When I was growing up, I thought America was the good guy. We were the country that did the right thing. Other countries wanted to be like us, people around the world wanted to move here, and millions did just that. It seemed like only people in countries that didn’t let their citizens leave wouldn’t want to become Americans. This was for good reason. We were the good guys and like the good guys in the cowboy shows and movies I watched as a child, like Hopalong Cassidy and The Lone Ranger, the good guys rode a white horse.

Having been born in 1955, I grew up mostly in the 60’s and 70’s. I know there was turmoil during those decades because I watched the news with Walter Cronkite, Chet Huntley and David Brinkley. To me, though, the protests were about making America even better. The United States welcomed people from around the world to enjoy our freedoms. It didn’t matter what you looked like or what religion you were- you were welcome here. Race relations seemed better- we even made fun of racist attitudes when we watched Archie Bunker in the 80’s. The American dream, which to me began with growing up while balancing school and play before getting a job and beginning your own family, was alive and well. You and your spouse bought a house and had two or three kids and you probably also had a dog. This, after all, was the land of opportunity.

Of course, I knew that America wasn’t perfect. Race relations were still a problem and the “N” word was heard frequently even in my neighborhood and community. Some families seemed to live in poorer neighborhoods and some kids dressed nicer than others. I heard about crimes on the news and read about them in the paper. I knew America still seemed too willing to get involved in wars around the world- we had sort of a “Marshall Dillon complex” I always thought- and we seemed to want to be Earth’s town marshall. Still, America was “The White Horse”. We were the good guys. Weren’t we?

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