The Airport: A Metaphor
A metaphor for the Red/Blue divide in America
Toward the end of my book, my politically liberal friend who raised his family in a predominantly conservative suburb says, “I had an understanding all of us were the same. We all wanted healthy kids, families, nice homes and safe neighborhoods. We all have the same dreams.”
I think most people would align with his sentiments and therefore, the question becomes: If we all want the same outcomes, why are we so divided on the path to getting them?
Previously, I lived south of the Minneapolis/St. Paul (MSP) airport. From Eagan, Minnesota, I could take Cedar Ave—or—35E. Each required the same amount of time. Choose your 13-minute adventure. Either way, you could get into a nearly heated debate with your neighbor, punctuated by feigned indignation, about the best route to the airport.
Sound (vaguely) familiar?
As a country, we’ve divided into two routes to the airport. We’ve gone from casual feelings about which route to take to this:
THERE IS ONLY ONE CORRECT WAY TO THE AIRPORT. IF YOU DON’T AGREE WITH MY WAY, YOU HATE OUR COUNTRY.
I happen to know a lot of people on the Left, and none of them hate America, and to the contrary, they work tirelessly to improve living conditions through policy updates and reforms, whether on a local level at the city council, or on a national scale.
I also believe that everyone I know on the Right would be offended by the suggestion that they hate America and want to usher in the new Third Reich, as has been written by commentators on the Left. Sadly, the airport stands dormant while we argue about the best route.
Because the airport is not the destination—the airport is the provision. The airport provides the vehicle to get to the destination. And that means the airport is the contract we make with each other about how to have healthy kids and safe neighborhoods. Like it or not, the airport is the arrangement we chose as a collective people. The airport is the government.
As a nation, we chose a long time ago, and based on previous experiences, not to have one family rule over us, or even one ideology, or religion. Instead, we chose to have a democracy, where the people come together, define what’s important, and cooperate on building those airplanes to get people to those destinations.
A democracy requires cooperation. Cooperation requires giving some money to things that are completely irrelevant in your subculture, but might greatly help another subculture of our country.
I’m defending your route to the airport because you have the freedom to choose how you get there. Having said that, let’s stop losing our minds over the path. We just need to get there. When we get there, the airport does not belong exclusively to our group, our family or our political tribe. Democracy means we chose something bigger and better. There’s no backing out of this. We must move forward and choose us. All of us.
I’m guessing none of you needed that lecture—ha ha! But maybe you know someone who does.
Yours on the journey,
JuliePosted on: October 8, 2020, by : JulieEthan