On the American Dream

Greetings from one of the Midwest’s more remarkable tourist spots — remarkable because it’s retained much of its charm, at least out of season. The town in which my wife and I are staying was actually an industrial center until the industry mostly left about 15 years ago, and so it quickly switched to tourism for a livelihood, like most of the other surrounding towns.

It has enough small-town charm to remind us of the small towns of our childhoods — about as far removed as possible from our current concrete-and-steel high-rise existence. The sound of kids playing in a nearby yard got me thinking about not only the environment of my childhood, but also the familiar refrain of how each generation of Americans hopes, indeed expects, their children to be better off than they were. Except the polling data indicates that’s no longer the case. People may not actually know that real wages have stagnated since the early 70s, but they certainly sense that their experience somehow doesn’t jibe with the happy stats coming out of Washington.

It’s enough to bring on a bit of melancholy as a fall chill sets in. But only for a moment — after all, my better half and I are here to celebrate our anniversary! More regular posting resumes in a few days.