9 Million Degrees of Separation…8 degrees of Promise

Sunday morning.

There is a touch of fall in the morning. Not an enthusiastic arrival, but a little more subtle. Noticeable, like thinking you hear a familiar voice and turning to see.  The morning breeze that flows through the patio at my favorite bistro this early morning is just cool enough to look up at the clouds and ask them when they might break long enough for the sun to offer her warm balance.

A few degrees are significant.

My old dog and best friend, Tybee, is in his twilight time. He has a host of things that ail him. His back legs fail daily and his dog version of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) makes it a bit more of a chore to get a good breath. Cataracts lead to a navigation flaw now and then. But he is full of life. He has the spirit of puppy days.

As the sun rose this morning we stepped outside for our morning walk. They take longer than they used to. For most of his sweet life I was literally pulled the entire walk. Today it was a slow and quiet stroll. He stops to rest his legs and occasionally just lies down and lets me know he needs a moment. But this morning, as we stepped out onto the porch and prepared to negotiate the three brick steps to the sidewalk and the waiting common area, his snout tilted upward and he took a deep breath. He had a look of pleasant surprise. He sort of slid down the steps and almost bounced to the walkway. For the first time in months he trotted down the way, stopping to investigate now and then, trotting again. We crossed the avenue to the grassy hill. He collapsed (intentionally) and rolled and rolled and rolled on the dew dropped lawn. He smiled big (yes, dogs smile!). He rose and he attempted a bit of a jog. Then, his legs and lungs reminded him not to push it too much and he slowed to a happy lope.

A few degrees were the variable in play here today.

I thought of the last two weeks. A political smorgasbord. I watched and read and listened to the candidates and their cronies and the pundits and the critics and the passersby. I realize it was a platform fair of sorts. The convention always is. That’s okay with me.

What struck me was the sheer venom. Much more from one side. I don’t expect Kubaya and a group hug. The fact check sites were having a field day cutting through the spin of the angry right and the exaggerated claims of the idealist left. All in all, I heard what I expected to hear. As an American without a party that truly represents my complete set of values and and aspirations, I listened for solutions and vision. Getting there was not easy. The platform noise gets in the way of progress. I have my strong opinions on who can most capably lead this nation at this time. That is for another post. I have stronger opinions at the abysmal failure of Congress – the true barriers to any progress of any kind.

What gets me the most is chasm that separates our proxy members. Is it not possible to simply acknowledge that no party will adequately represent the people in their beautiful and rich diversity? Knowing that we vary in color, values, faith (or lack of it), cultural traditions, preferences and all manner of difference, it seems to me that some sense of community and respect might just be in order. God help us if one of these pissed of tea baggers talked about how we can support those with burdens without being labeled a socialist. I have a dream (humbly borrowing this section of the greatest speech ever delivered) of the hard left understanding that prosperity isn’t the enemy. Our problems are complicated and require something more that a gun, a poster, a tax, a reduction of tax, a policy, or a Super PAC.

The greatest tool and most underemployed tool we have is dialogue. Not talking points or platform rhetoric. A conversation. A conversation, lots of conversations about the challenges and the common solutions that are begging to be considered. They are out there.

Washington needs a touch of Fall to cool the emotions that don’t add value. It needs a breeze to fuel those that do.

A few degrees.

Off to pursue happiness. Another walk with the pup. He is surely saying, “God bless America…and Fall.”


3 responses to “9 Million Degrees of Separation…8 degrees of Promise

  • Barbara Reid

    You have a way with words that always makes the corners of my mouth turn upward to some degree.

  • Tony Roberts

    You asked for dialogue. Seems like dialogue between friends is a good place to start (even though that hasn’t worked well for me personally recently, in large part due to my own failures).

    The chasm you mention is one I contend extends well beyond any proxies. What if tea baggers (name-calling is one technique for starting a dialogue – is it an angry start?) thought that compassion required helping our neighbor, not funding a program? What if the hard left really was more angry than idealistic? What if we listened, instead of hearing what we expected to hear?

    Answers? The only ones I know that work involve personal, action, not waiting on Congress, and blaming them for us not dong anything. Does government have a place? Of course. Will it solve our problems? I have little faith. I think the answers are found in real compassion, real giving, not you and me deciding we’ll take more of our neighbor’s stuff, costing us nothing; or counting on a program to take care of people we don’t know and don’t want to know.

    Dialogue is a personal action. It’s dangerous, because it asks us to hear things we don’t like, to suffer our friend’s foolish remarks, to consider ideas different from our own.

    Do I have all the answers? Not even I am that arrogant.

  • joyvox

    Sounds like you and Tybee could use a convertible ride in the mountains…

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