I’ve been living overseas for a few months, but I miss America. I miss the smell of barbecue, beer joints with sawdust floors, pick-up trucks, NASCAR, college football, soccer, baseball, country music, Cuban sandwiches, pastelitos (the ones with guava and cheese), bagels and lox and road trips through the heart of rural America, where late at night the only thing you can pick up on the radio are Southern preachers attempting to save our souls.
I miss seeing American flags in our front yards and the political debates between everyday people taking place at the Waffle House, La Carreta and diners all across our great land. I miss the mountains of Colorado, Alabama, North Carolina and Georgia, the incredible beauty of Texas, the smell of the ocean in Florida, California and Rhode Island, the independence of Montana and Wyoming, the beauty of New Mexico and the Southwest and the art and culture of New York.
I miss my hometown, Miami, and the Latin gente, my African-American and Haitian brothers and sisters, immigrants from all over the world trying to build a better life for their families and all of the diverse ethnic groups that proudly represent our nation.
But, what I miss most is our American spirit. Despite political divisions, when we are confronted with tragedies such as floods, shootings or hurricanes, those divisions melt, and people come together as one charitable and altruistic nation.
If there is one thing that I know, what makes us great is not who will be our next president, but that we have the freedom to choose. Our greatness is not defined by our leaders, it’s defined by the goodness of our people, each one of us, individually as well as collectively. Because at the end of the day, we are still one nation, under God and a moral example for the rest of the world about the power of persistence and Democracy.