Divided in politics, Family united as Americans

November 26, 2017

The first carload arrived Wednesday afternoon around 3, the second straight up 5 and the last a grateful early arrival of 9:30. They hail from Nashville, Dallas and Kansas City. Their ages ranged from a high of 63 down to a budding powerhouse of wit and sarcasm of the ripe old age of 10 going on 30. All sit on the same branch of the family tree and all but the school aged,solidly on the liberal side of the political aisle.

And while this past year has provided more than enough ammunition for the arguments and shout fest possibilities that our national media has been obsessed with recently, politics was the furthest from our minds.

Nope, for the next 72 hours, Caldwell’s little Corner of this world was a de-politicized zone. The ground rules had gone out well in advance. For three days in November, there was going to be a truce. For three days in November there were going to be no “can you believe…….” “did you hear……..” or “what in the hell………” remarks. Not because any of us don’t love a good political food fight, but because both sides of the aisle had so many already, well frankly, we were just sick of all of it.

So instead of demanding surrender from the other side the moment the door was opened, we instead just opened the door. And hugged. And laughed. And allowed ourselves to be human again.

I learned that the youngest has a science teacher that uses short phrases and songs to get ideas like tectonic plates, oil and coal formation and Earth’s infinitesimal importance in this universe to stick in the wandering minds of 5th graders. Mere words in a column cannot begin to explain the joy of her uncle and I listening to her perform her repertoire and reveling not that she had retained so much, but that she found it so exciting.

A discussion on modern vs vintage science fiction led to a conversation on climate change. Not a “denier vs believer” debate but a “they’re all missing the point” concurrence. That the issues isn’t in or out of Paris Accords but in what the the media won’t cover. Like “instead of all CO2 must be curtailed” where is the discussion of the benefit of warming for food production to feed an ever increasing population? That the left’s argument relies upon an arrogance that after hundreds of millions of years of Earth’s climate waxing and waning, our particular millisecond of that timeline is “optimal climate” and must not be allowed to change.

That what is lacking in all of our national divide is “where is our faith in ourselves”?

We went back to JFK and his “We choose to go to the moon in this decade…” speech. And how that in less than one decade, this nation went from not even being able to put a man in orbit, to sending three of them to the moon and returning them safely back home.

That the whole national political debate the public is fed by a single minded media is far more superficial than scientific. Of ridiculing a parallel path of continuing with what we know works while we also launch a climate change 21st century “moon shot”. A shot that responsibly does away with the old while developing the new.

Even tax reform came up. Not as “soak the poor, reward the rich” but as to my son in law “will you be helped or hurt”? (And both the House and Senate bills as proposed would help this young entrepreneur grow his business.)

For the record, this column went to press with 24 hours of the truce yet to go so it’s possible that the old ad against Barry Goldwater in ’64 came true and there’s now a mushroom cloud over where my house used to stand. But if the first 48 are any indication, I have no doubt our last hours together were no different than the first.

Reasoned, honest, stay true to the facts discussions of what’s happening, and ponder the possibilities of what could happen, if only the national political parties and the media that covers them would allow it.

Now THAT’s a Thanksgiving Day to be thankful for.

PUBLISHER’s NOTE: A version of this column first appeared in the Sunday print edition of the Joplin Globe.

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