I was in a downtown in a small Minnesota town not too long ago in front of a bakery when I looked down the street in the opposite direction.



An Amish man was helping an elderly non-Amish man walk away from a Mexican restaurant. Across the street from those two men, an East African woman in her hijab walked across the street. In the background was a steel monument to the flag raising on Iwo Jima during World War II. The raising of the flag by Marines included Ira Hayes, a Pima American Indian.



I felt as if I had walked into a Norman Rockwell painting. For those few minutes, my state, my country and my world were idyllic. I wasn’t hearing passionate arguments for or against immigration, legal or illegal. I wasn’t reading about demands for a border wall or demands to stop a wall. I wasn’t thinking of children in detention centers at the border.



I thought of the people who operated the Mexican bakery I was in front of, the Amish man helping the non-Amish man and the East African woman crossing the street, all who were in this small Minnesota town that late afternoon going about their day. And of how people died in wars to protect and preserve the scene I saw in that downtown.