My friends are whites and blacks. I am not color blind. They're mostly uppermiddle class. They are wealthy in material and in spirit. They embody the Midwestern values: down to earth and ready to lend a hand. They don't complain about paying taxes. They don't complain about Obamacare, though they don't benefit much from it. They don't judge others. They don't single people out based on trifles. They're not selfish. They're Atheists and Christians and Unitarians and straight and gay. The men I know respect women (a prerequisite to hang out with me). But what binds them all is their belief in the principal of human solidarity and the inherent dignity of everyone and the American values. I tip my hat. And am lucky to be in their company. The political waters are choppy and turbulent, but I still believe we are that shining city on a hill. Don't ever lose hope, and don't dim the lights of our beloved village. America.