It seems, increasingly, that you can’t escape the upcoming presidential election year and the media fanfare that goes along with it. I can’t turn on a television, look at Facebook, or hold a conversation without the topic of our increasingly divided nation coming up.
I’m not on this trip, or writing in this capacity, to debate politics. I’ve spent too much time on the water for my political opinions to hold much of it.
But I will say this: Our nation is an incredible one. I’ve spent months living out of the back of a Jeep, or cheap motels, fishing my way from Maine to Montana and back, and I’m here to assure you, whether you’re a Democrat or Republican, a Northeast liberal or a Midwestern conservative: God… we live in a wonderful country.
In what other nation in the world could you drive from from a prolific coastal bluefin tuna fishery to a mecca for largemouth purists in a single day? Where else in the world might you have the chance to tangle with an enormous blue catfish then cast flies for beautiful trout in a mountain stream that same afternoon?
And in what other country could a young man, with no fame or fortune behind him, say simply: “I’m out here to fish for a cure for melanoma, because it’s the only thing that made sense to me,” and get so, so much help?
I don’t know, nor will I pretend to know, what my ancestors (Gillorens from Killorglin, Ire., McCabe’s from that same Emerald Isle, and Bachs and Joneses from Germany and… wherever Joneses come from) were thinking or going through when they boarded a boat to come to this country. But I’m terribly grateful that they did.
So I just thought I’d take a moment, a deep breath amidst all the debate and finger-pointing and divisive rhetoric, and say that I’m overwhelmingly grateful, and especially as an outdoorsman, that I live in the United States of America. I’m reminded why I ought to be every single day.