Ed Moore: If You’re Looking for the Real America, Avoid Politics and Hit the Back Roads

It’s hard to argue that the last 14 years in American politics have not been the most tumultuous, most contentious and least productive in my lifetime.

I’m not talking about advancements that have occurred outside governance, since surely the Buckminster Fuller concept of knowledge doubling has accelerated far faster than he imagined. Some would posit that the rate of knowledge growth has far surpassed our abilities to absorb it.

However, I must lament that this acetates doubling curve is missing completely in our national governance. I recall, once upon a time, when we would listen to elected experts who, regardless of party, were respected and sought after on the challenging issues of the day. Can anyone name a true handful who are not politics first, content much later, in their approach in dealing with vexing and complex issues? I can’t.

So in the midst of these frustrating times, I have found my own solution to the jimmering noise from our nation’s capital. Tune out. Take a trip. Go searching for the real America and if slightly lucky you might find a bit of yourself that you once knew.

I’m at the tail end of more than a month traveling the South and Southwest of our country. Get off the Interstates, take old US Highways, county paved roads, gravel roads and dirt roads and truly see the magic that is America. Find a local diner and chat with locals. It’s a true tonic for what ails ya!

It’s the natural beauty that strikes you on every curve or on the crest of every hill that slowly touches your innards, allowing you to forget the mundane hoohahs of the day for just a little while.

I am very much a lover of the outdoors. Frankly, my spirit rises and I begin to feel different when I am in places like Canyons of the Ancients, an area of 177,000 acres of the Colorado Plateau, touching parts of four states. Walking canyon rims you find ruins like Lowry Pueblo where a large tribe built a village over 1200 years ago. They say as many as 24 tribes were in that area with varied languages but similar lifestyles. They worked together, raised domestic animals, planted crops, and even had designated locations called Kivas, large holes in the ground with seats and platforms for meetings and rituals. There are structures in canyon walls, like in Mesa Verde, with as many as 200 rooms cut into canyon walls. I was mesmerized.

As I stood there I could feel the past entering my contemplation. It’s a bit of a spiritual thing, but I find places like these, even like Glendalough in Ireland, to be places where I can search the inner me without distractions.

So heed my advice. Find a place to go where you can recapture or regenerate the inner you. It’s a true tonic for your soul. Turn off the television, tune into the better you and get engaged at improving where we are, (I’m still looking), and don’t drop out. It’s a better version of that old sixties mantra.

It’s tough to close your eyes for a moment but try this. Find a quiet place with no electronics. Sit quietly for ten minutes trying to picture yourself on the last day of school. It will be tough to go back that far easily. First, you will have to clear the bugsplats of time on the windshield of your mind. But when you do know that the happy feelings you had on the first day of summer are how you are going to feel when our national politicians realize they are part of a circus and too many of us have left the tent! Don’t worry. Be happy.

Dr. Ed Moore served for many years as the president of the Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida (ICUF) and has served in both the legislative and executive branches of Florida government. Prior to ICUF, Dr. Moore was staff director for policy, for Worker’s Compensation, for Medical Liability and for Public Safety and Security in the Florida House of Representatives. He also worked in the private sector for 21 years.

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