Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Traveling Together

My dream trip is a surprise ticket to an exotic location - no time to pack luggage - buy what you need when you arrive, stay in luxurious accommodations, eat with locals, watch the sunset, forget what time it is. My husband's dream trip involves trailer hitches, tents, 4 weeks of packing preparation, day after day in the car on winding, scenic routes, and no real concern about what to eat or where to stay. We are currently on my husband's dream trip. We left Austin a week ago, headed west. We won't be home for another week. To be fair - it is his birthday this month. The trip was my idea of a fun way to combine business with pleasure and celebrate him in a way that makes him happy. But you can see the potential for stress, I'm sure. I doubt we could be more ideologically opposed when it comes to traveling...or toothpaste squeezing...or toilet paper hanging...or the defining of a full and meaningful conversation. But we're in this journey together, and so sometimes we go along to get along. Are you listening my Republican friends? Let me show you what I might have missed in the last seven days if I'd decided it would be my trip or no trip...if I'd convinced myself that my husband was a misguided camping fiend who was forcing his will on me...if I'd chosen to believe anything that wasn't my idea was a bad idea.
Never mind the 600 pace, thigh burning hike straight up a mountain to get to the bathroom. Who cares about the string cheese and cold cuts dinner taken straight out of the cooler? How could it matter that I couldn't phone my children, check my email, or post to my blog? I was here...for this.
And I was ever so grateful to be in this place that I would not have come to if I'd made a plan to suit me. And so I am wondering today - is it possible to imagine a political world where we go along in the spirit of getting along? One in which we recognize the truth that there is a time for our turn, and there is a time for someone else's turn? Could we stop complaining about not getting our way long enough to admit, "Hey, this isn't as bad as I thought it would be?" I am tired of hearing the President of the United States called a Nazi. I am sickened by pictures of President Obama that have been altered to a likeness of Hitler. I am oh-so-weary of the cry of "socialism" regardless of the red-blooded, mom-and-apple-pie nature of the comments. I cannot believe I live and work and play and vote alongside people who will not let their children listen to an address the President has dedicated specifically to them. We followed your itinerary for eight years, my GOP friends. Yes, we grumbled. We dragged our feet. We whined. But last November we realized the trip that was not our own got us to scenery we never imagined we'd see.
This particular political trip is miles from finished.
Let's see where the road leads. Years from now, as we comb through the memories of these significant days...realizing the struggle to provide equal access to health care and inspiration to young Americans was a breathtaking experience...there's a chance we'll all decide it was great to have been along for the ride.
From the long and winding road...


john langford said...

love it! thanks for the great reminder to "reframe" the experiences that don't suit me...there's always a lesson when i choose to see it. have fun on dave's ideal trip!! can't wait for the next installment. love to you both.

gay said...

I think this blog message should be posted on editorial pages of every newspaper in this country. Your flair for using personal experiences - allows a reader to contemplate the broader subject. We have all wanted our own way because we thought it was best but when we give "just a little" we open ourselves to incredible experiences. Thank you!

spipkin said...

It is a utopian view from your vantage point. But what about the budget and deficit concerns? What about taxpayer funded abortions in the health bill? Should our taxes be used to fund abortions we don't believe in? Sorry, we are back in the same boat with the Dems we have always been...rely on feelings and everything will be okay. That is a illegitimate reality and our kids and grandkids will pay the price!

Mama de la Paz said...

Really spipkin...does your memory not tweak you at all when you say these things? We were talking about the bill our children and grandchildren would pay LONG before Barack Obama was president and democrats controlled Congress. In fact, just last September, the mess was so out of control that we (republicans and democrats) had to throw $700-billion on an account overdrawn $9.5 trillion. The blame for an illegitimate reality is on every greedy American...including inattentive politicians of all stripes and inattentive voters who blindly follow.