From the Porch….by John R. Nelson
Taking Back Roads
On a recent trip from New Smyrna Beach back to North Georgia I departed the comfort and safety of the interstate highway for a back road. In this case it was Highway 341 near Brunswick, Georgia threading its way through the landscape of Jessup, Braselton, and ultimately changing roads to Dublin, Georgia. Leaving the interstate forces me to slow down, lending opportunity to look around. Gone are the Tanger Outlet malls, truck stops, and billboards. Instead, roadside stands appear, homes front the road, and Main Street comes into view. Each giving pause to what I would describe as the “real America.”
The rise of interstate highway travel brought families closer together and eased the transportation of commerce. From President Eisenhower we inherited a system of roads unique to America, meant to defend our country in the cold war. However, a hidden cost of this new method of transportation came too. Like “Radiator Springs” in my 2 ½ year-old son James’ favorite movie, “Cars”, towns were bypassed and left to die like withering grapes on the vine. Exiting I-95 to travel these roads requires slowing down at a town square, looking at family owned businesses in downtown, or seeing a local service station on the side of the road.
My wife and I looked with fascination at nature stealing homes and buildings. It does not take long for the weather, trees, and vines to destroy a once thriving farm or home. However, nearby structures grow, whether a modern “McMansion” or a single-wide mobile home Americans live and prosper. Instead of seeing blight I see hard-working individuals who are often mocked by Hollywood, Northeasters, Washington, and the media, but these citizens revere their God, country, and family. Towns like Lumber City, Georgia drive the economic engine of our country to deliver pine 2×4’s awaiting the return of construction that may not come again. Like the Interstate that passed them by before; the politicians are now claiming successes and a “new normal” ready to pass them by again.
Our Supreme Court Bench consists of only Ivy League law graduates; Congress is 90% composed of attorneys. Instead of mocking hard-working Americans with deep-rooted values who protest an irresponsible political class spending future generations’ wealth I wish our politicians would leave Washington D.C. and travel the back roads to meet the real America.