One's perspective on reality depends on where one stands. Within the past month I traveled across several Western of these United States. The journey was a useful experience in regaining a sane perspective in an occasionally insane world. The question of what happens to perspective when a person stands in a different place also applies to our two presidential candidates.
Obama's foreign perspective vs. McCain's purposefully domestic campaign view -- In the past day or so Barack Obama stood before 200,000 people in Berlin and talked to them about what it means to be citizens of one world. John McCain stood in a grocery store and projected a somewhat narrower perspective by ignoring an opportunity to talk about the economic difficulties of his fellow U.S. citizens. One looked at the horizon. One looked at the eggs and failed to really see them, because he got lost in his bizarre campaign appearance that missed the mark. Obama stood before the largest crowd ever assembled to hear him speak; McCain decided to make another appearance, this time in a German restaurant and at a Fudge Haus.
These current little news stories, that will soon be lost to the next episodes of campaign buzz, illustrate why voters can trust their guts about choosing the next president based on where he stands. Barack Obama looks and sounds like a genuine leader moving with the times; John McCain looks like a "has-been" politician traveling by reality and failing to recognize it.
My travels across a familiar route, over which I have traveled annually for several years, again brought home some simple truths to me. Family matters to me, and keeping in touch with my family of origin is important enough to make a 2400+ mile journey every year. Geography matters to me also. Texas and Wyoming have similar characteristics, but the differences are stark. A change of perspective reminds me of the value of Wyoming's clean blue skies, open lands and green grass, abundant natural energy resources, animals still roaming wild, and a fiercely independent little cadre of voters. I am reminded again that the entire population of the state is less than the metropolitan area in which I live. For the past month I drove on a freeway only twice. And I saw very few television news broadcasts because my siblings prefer either no news or Fox Network. Now that I am back home, I am again breathing the detritus of life beside the freeways. And my eyes are smarting again from the pollution caused by Texans' love for their individual cars and trucks. And my old friends at C-SPAN, CNN and MSNBC are again defining reality for me. For a political blogger it is sublime.
Expansive geography characterizes each state. Both states have huge raw energy reserves that are being consumed at rapid rates. Wind farms dot the horizons of each. Crops being harvested across flat or rolling plains help to feed and clothe the nation. Both native populations are "independent cusses" with a basic mistrust of government, and dislike of the news media. Both peoples have a large connection to animals, and open empty spaces with miles and miles of highways.
I stand on my own porch again, glad to be home, but equally glad to have been in the vicinity of what was my original home until I became an adult. And I sit at my own computer again, no longer befuddled nor limited by time with a borrowed or library computer. It may take me a while to get my feet on the ground and reconnected with Blogworld.
View my current slide show about the Bush years -- "Millennium" -- at the bottom of this column.
(Cross-posted at The Reaction.)
My “creativity and dreaming” post today is at Making Good Mondays.