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Friday, January 23, 2009

Reply to Someone Who Isn't Interested in One

Every trip becomes entwined in memory with larger public events of the same time period. We did not travel to Washington, DC, for the inauguration, but memories of our drive to Florida and time here so far will forever be marked by what we have watched on television, read in the papers, talked about with each other, friends and strangers. In many ways, this is the time of our lives.

But not everyone is as thrilled as we are. David and Gene, out of curiosity, wanted to hear on Wednesday what a certain right-wing radio talk show host would have to say about our new president. I’m happy to report that once they got a gist of his rant, they took mercy on me and spared me further. We were in the car on a beautiful day! Did we need poison in our ears? I sure didn’t!

If a man refuses to listen, no one can make him hear. Lies, however, are not differences of opinion, and distortion is not an opposing view. Don’t talk about my generation and say that we, who in the Sixties had “Question Authority” as our motto, are now content, like sheep, to “follow blindly”! Those of us who had tears of happiness in their eyes on Tuesday were not blinded by those tears. President Obama was elected, in part, because he demonstrated a willingness and ability to listen, not only to advisors but also to the American people. He listens and thinks for himself, and he expects no less of the rest of us. This time around we are not being told that dissent or questioning are unpatriotic. This time around there is no ideological loyalty test that we must pass to be considered good Americans. Our new president’s approach to government programs, to policies, to ideas is pragmatic, not ideological. Does it work, and is it in line with American values? Then it’s good. If it either doesn’t work or abandons our values or both, it’s dead in the water. One can be pragmatic and have principles. In fact, I would argue that principled pragmatism is essential to the historical American character.

I feel sorry for those Americans who do not, who cannot, for whatever reason, share the joy of this precious time in our country, but I am not sympathetic to distortion and lies. Is the man on the radio jealous? That’s sad. He is trying to drag his listeners back down the road to fear, though, and the time when those cheap tricks worked may be past. I hope so.

Let the dogs bark. The caravan is moving on.


Anonymous said...

Are you still with Gene?!? If so, give him a big hug from us, S and L, and ask him to hug each of you. We miss you all but loved your photos of his part of the world.

P. J. Grath said...

Hi, Susan and Larry. I guess you skipped the post just before this one (the one with all the good pictures) that ended with us back on the road, visiting the bookseller at Crystal River. That was day before yesterday, and we've been here in Weeki Wachee since. Today we'll move the rest of our stuff and settle down in Aripeka. Wait until you see those pictures!