State Of Our Nation


There was a time when students were bused to Washington D.C. carrying no protest signs or social grudges. That was our time. In the early ’60s, it was called the Senior Trip, complete with chaperons and ties on guys and dresses on girls. If you so much as sneaked a sip of alcohol, you were summarily sent home; legend had it, forever to be shunned in later life. Every reunion the North Shore High School class of ’64 had over the years had me feeling age-invincible (even if central casting didn’t agree). And forever close. After years of being apart, we could be in sync like that. I wrote pieces about this very fact. I loved my class and nothing was going to change it. From Sharon and Alan to Bob, to Ross to Laurie, to both G (J) innys, to Dee Dee, and Barb and Laurie and Steve, Gail and Larry. And everybody in between, even Jay Slaughter. See, I can rattle off their names like it was yesterday. The class of ’64 had a bond that wouldn’t break. Maybe because, from pancakes to politics, we were much more flexible than dogmatic. Agree to disagree? Of course. You want pot legalized? Knock yourself out. Pro choice, pro life. In the class of ’64, we’ll still be pro one another. Or did I miss something?

Hey, wait a second. Did I see on Facebook that you’re for Hillary’s open borders? Excuse me. Did you say you were anti-immigration? You’re not for Donald Trump, are you? Do the Access Hollywood tapes mean nothing to you? Huh. Is this a dream? These days, sometimes I feel so confused, muddled, jumbled, befuddled, shambolic that I forget who I am, not to mention who I’m supposed to be. My name is Bill Force, and I feel I’ve (maybe we’ve) veered a bit off our sweet spot. Conforming seems uber important. But fiddles to fiddlesticks, you don’t have to conform to me. And just in case there are any doubts, I have no doubts about our class of 1964. We made it through 1963; seeing that little boy salute his dad. We bend, maybe even shed a tear or two, but we don’t break. We can make it through anything. Am I using my high school class as a bit of a foil? I guess. What I’m really trying to do is get though to a somewhat bruised and slightly battered nation, one that needs something much more than we ever needed Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. I’m talking about the same people we’ve counted on through thick and thin. We need each other. I hope we can, at least, agree on that.

—Bill Force

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