A Childhood Memory
I still remember the day I went to John F. Kennedy’s funeral parade. The sight of people lining the streets, bundled up in dark overcoats and hats, waiting to pay their respects, left a lasting impression on me. It was a solemn procession, a stark contrast to the lively parades I had expected as a child. But even at such a young age, I understood the significance of the moment.
A Shining City on a Hill
Growing up, I was proud to be an American. My parents, both vocal about the issues plaguing our nation, instilled in me a sense of patriotism. We fought against authoritarianism and championed equality. I believed that America was a beacon of hope, a place where people of all backgrounds could thrive.
The Diminishing Light
However, as I look back on my childhood memories, I can’t help but feel a sense of sadness. Sixty years later, the once shining city on a hill has lost its luster. The light of unity has been dimmed by hate, division, and fear. Our shared values have been replaced by a death of cooperation and compromise.
The recent mocking of former First Lady Rosalynn Carter by a presidential front-runner highlights the decay of our democracy. The lack of respect and decency in our political discourse erodes the foundations of our nation. It is a stark reminder that we are no longer a country united.
A Nation in Grief
As Rosalynn Carter prepares to be laid to rest, I can’t help but worry about the state of our country. The publicized route from Atlanta to Plains, Georgia, seems like an opportunity for tragedy. The specter of a mass shooting looms over us, a testament to the darkness that has enveloped our society.
Our democracy is in peril. We are witnessing its decline firsthand. And now, I find myself mourning not just for one individual, but for the very fabric of our nation. My children join me in this grief, as we watch our shared values fade away.
Diana Wagman, a contributing writer to Opinion and the author of six novels, reflects on the decline of American democracy.