Richard Porter is a freelance writer based in Everett, Washington, USA. He lives in a charming old fisherman’s house between a river and the Salish Sea with his wife and three daughters. He’s the author of poetry collections, as well as Smokestackers! and The Spar Tree, books about the history and culture of his city and region. You can find more about his work by visiting www.porterwordsmith.com.
There’s a place in the popular American imagination called Main Street—a Norman Rockwell scene where the butcher, baker, and barber all hang out their signs and sweep their stoops, where emerald baseball fields are immaculately groomed, and where the town gathers on a Friday night to cheer the high school football team to victory. If this vision of the idyllic Main Street America is flawed, it’s because it’s based on a nostalgic vision of the past that rings dissonant when compared to the reality that many Americans face today, especially amidst a global pandemic: a shrinking economy, a housing crisis, outdated infrastructure, and political division.