It's late in the evening, here on our last day in Walt Disney World, a place that (depending on your point of view) is a magical place of wonder and adventure, or an overpriced piece of capitalist consumerism. In fact, there is truth in both perspectives.
And while I rarely write politically here at the Byline, my thoughts tonight are straying into that realm, because as I sit here in my lovely hotel room, having spent the past three days wandering through amusement parks in this artifical neverland, I find myself wondering if we're all burying our heads in the sand.
America has spent the past five years at war. I hate war. I've always hated war. When my son was born 28 years ago, I remember thinking (as they wheeled me out of the delivery room) that I could never let him go to war. And yet, thousands of mothers of sons and daughters are doing just that - and sometimes their children are not coming home.
Our economy is in the worst crisis I can remember in my lifetime. Homes all over my neighborhood have been lost to foreclosure. Businesses are failing left and right. People in my state are surviving only because they have credit cards to pay for groceries, gas, and medications.
Medical care is in crisis, as people continue to live longer and longer, and do not have the means to pay for the health care they need.
Since the time of the Great Depression, has America ever been in such dire straits?
And yet, my family (and quite a few other families, to judge by the crowds in the park today) are able to take lovely vacations in places where we're encourgaed to forget all our troubles, put our cares behind us, and "dream a million dreams."
I'm all for dreaming - I think dreams are necessary and vital. But are we dreaming too much? Are we living in our own little "neverland," so accustomed to America always coming out on top that we're turning a blind eye to the serious dilemmas we face? Shouldn't we be applying some old fashioned elbow grease to the difficulties that plague this nation, and finding a way to fix the disasters that have developed in this country over the past eight years?
After a few days in the magical world of Disney, I always find myself more than ready to return home to the nitty gritty of my every day life. While I can marvel at those "imagineers" who created this place, and as nice as it is to escape from the "real world" of work and domestic responsibility, I feel a craving to return to those normal routines, the day to day reality of life.
Whomever we elect in November has to bear the awesome responsibility of taking on a country in crisis. The next leader of this nation must be someone with dreams and with imagination, but also someone highly intelligent and firmly grounded in common sense.
We just can't live in Neverland any longer.