A few weeks ago, I found myself in Denver, and I stood there admiring the snow-covered mountain tops of the Rockies. It was, indeed, a beautiful sight.
Just south of Denver, outside of Colorado Springs, stands another mountain range of pristine beauty. Pikes Peak rises to almost 14,100 feet, and there is a 19-mile dirt road that snakes its way upward around numerous curves with no guard rails to reach the top of this national landmark.
Back in the late '80s, I managed to travel 14 of the 19 miles up this winding road.
Katherine Lee Bates, an English teacher from Wellesley College, in 1893, traveled from Massachusetts through the Midwest, and upward along this same dirt road on a mule to the top of Pikes Peak.
After seeing the beauty of the Midwest, other locales, and the majestic view from the summit of Pikes Peak, she took pen in hand and wrote a poem.
That poem later was put to music and now stands as part of the sands of time in the form of "America the Beautiful."
One of my favorite verses of that song reads:
God mend thine every flaw
Confirm thy soul in self control
Thy liberty in law.
A vision for a country, captured by a poet on a mountain peak, that searches for a better way of life in America.
I believe most Americans still long for that dream.
"And crown thy good with brotherhood/From sea to shining sea." Another desire that our nation might promote goodness and brotherhood throughout the land.
As I watched a local Denver news station, I saw that the Occupy the Park movement had made its way to downtown Denver and protesting campers had situated themselves in the Civic Center Park.
If Katherine Bates were alive today, she might be a little distressed by the country she envisioned from the top of Pikes Peak.
There appear to be many flaws in our current society that have been exposed during these difficult economic times.
Goodness and brotherhood seem to be taking a back seat to greed and corruption. Government does not seem to be working.
Fifty-seven percent of people who participated in a recent poll indicate that they have little confidence in government addressing some of the many domestic problems that appear to be growing, and 15 percent of our population is stuck in poverty.
As the economy worsens, the notion that 400 families have more wealth than 150 million American citizens is becoming a topic of discussion.
The fact is that there is so much illegal manipulation on Wall Street, as demonstrated by the Madoff conviction, the fall of the Enron empire, and news about illicit trading schemes. We are troubled by hefty bonuses for the CEOs, who are part of that selfish jungle to make the most money possible with little regard for other people.
Banks fail as a result of their greedy practices and then get rewarded with stimulus funds, at the expense of the taxpayer.
The Denver protestors, like their counterparts in New York City, seem to be fed up with the idea that 1 percent of our society is establishing social policies and conditions for the other 99 percent.
People seem more disturbed that Democrats and Republicans alike spend huge amounts of political contributions on getting elected, and are wondering if the constituent or the contributor reaps the main benefits of the process.
A storm is coming with greed and corruption as the hailstones that will forever damage our nation. People are gathering in the streets to bring forth a message.
They may not be singing "America the Beautiful," but like the traveling poet, they have a vision for a better place. We should always value those words of that beautiful song.
Lloyd "Pete" Waters is a Sharpsburg resident who writes for The Herald-Mail.