Traveling this country is always a surprise, and finding first class towns is rare enough to be a delight. Two towns in the past two days have impressed us as excellent places to visit -- Sandpoint and Coeur d'alene, Idaho. Both are full of life...pubs, coffee shops, upscale boutiques, restaurants, art galleries, book stores, amazing biking and walking paths, and at their core top notch parks, beaches, and libraries.Sandpoint...
Fun street art
Many miles of biking and walking pathways
Beautiful sandy beach and park right in the center of town
Lots of city trees
Tubbs Hill within the city
Many blocks of city park and biking-walking paths along Lake Coeur d'alene next to the city
Beautiful people places! Well, that is, beautiful people places according to my criteria. What about the people who think coffee from a can tastes better than a latte? Or can't locate the work clothes they need in the maze of stylish outdoor wear? Or get plenty of exercise doing physical labor and don't need, and definitely don't want to pay for, fancy parks and pathways?
Outside each of these upscale urban boundaries, rural ideals reign. A tug-of-war of conflicting values has been set in play. The divide is understandable but the intensity is puzzling. As we drive, Ed and I ponder how on the one hand folks talk about this great nation and on the other hand deride it, pointing fingers to their chosen villains. This divide is all the more apparent in this political season where fear and anger are openly provoked and displayed.
As I was writing this blog posting, I stumbled across this quote, pushing discontent, being touted by the Green Party:
"We now live in a nation where doctors destroy health, lawyers destroy justice, universities destroy knowledge, governments destroy freedom, the press destroys information, religion destroys morals, and our banks destroy the economy." ~ Chris Hedge
Really? Is our country, our world, really this horrid? Yes we have corrections to make, serious ones, but to declare every profession is destroying that for which they stand is as destructive as declaring there is a boogyman on every corner. Every good progressive can see the flaws in the conservative fear and hate messages, but are we able to acknowledge the same flaws in our own? Serious critical thinking is required to sort out the truth from the hyperbole, and that is not easy, but we must because Chicken Little's "The Sky is Falling" philosophy is not serving us well.
Without being insipid with "can't we all get alone" or "let's all be happy" or "everyone means well" could we perhaps agree to put Chicken Little aside and walk a common road toward inclusion...to make our shared goal a world that works for everyone.
"Today, the drumbeat has become a cacophony. The generation that has experienced more peace, freedom, leisure time, education, medicine, travel, movies, mobile phones and massages than any generation in history is lapping up gloom at every opportunity. In an airport bookshop recently, I paused at the Current Affairs section and looked down the shelves. There were books by Noam Chomsky, Barbara Ehrenreich, Al Franken, Al Gore, John Gray, Naomi Klein, George Monbiot and Michael Moore, which all argued to a greater or lesser degree that (a) the world is a terrible place; (b) it’s getting worse; (c) it’s mostly the fault of commerce; and (d) a turning point has been reached. I did not see a single optimistic book."
~ Matt Ridley, The Rational Optimist