Thursday, September 25, 2008

Dissing Disagreeable-ness

I drove my son-in-law to the airport this morning.  He is on his way to San Antonio for a weekend workshop and he asked if I could drop him off at O'Hare.  So, by 7:30 this morning we were on our way, leaving a little bit earlier than he wanted in order to avoid the bulk of rush hour traffic.

I have to admit that I was a little bit nervous about the drive. While I don't mind at all driving expressways or tollways, I do mind the traffic that rush hour brings.  Large semis make me paranoid about my little Cruiser. Visions of being first crunched and then run over come to mind as I attempt to merge my way into oncoming traffic.  Some drivers are more courteous than others, actually changing lanes in order to accommodate the driver attempting to enter into the flow of traffic.  "Come on in!"  their courtesy conveys.  Others are less inviting.  Acting as if they own the road, these drivers stand their ground, almost daring the newcomer to even think about trying to merge.  Yes, it's not for the faint of heart, this Chicago traffic!  It requires skill, patience, courage and chutzpah--things that only years of driving in high speed traffic teach you.

But it wasn't just the traffic that I worried about.  It was the company itself.  My son-in-law is a great guy, good husband and father, very intelligent.  But, politically, we just don't see eye-to-eye.  Things got a little bit heated the last time we talked politics. Yes, when politics come up, I know it's time to do one of two things--either change the subject or pack up and go home.  It's just easier to keep the peace that way.

So, when he began talking about the financial bailout, I got nervous. Where was this leading?  Hmm...hopefully, we wouldn't argue about each candidate's strengths and weaknesses.  And let's avoid altogether the subject of how each should respond--debate vs. not debate, and things like that. Democrats vs. Repulicans-- Nope!  We don't agree when it comes to conservatives, moderates and liberals.

But today's conversation took a different route.  We actually agreed!  We agreed that this bailout is not only troubling but dangerous, a way of making government bigger at taxpayer's expense, with no guarantee of ultimate success.  We also agreed that since neither one of us is an economist, armchair or otherwise, we don't understand all of the ins-and-outs of the situation.  Those decisions are best left, we supposed, in the hands of the "experts."  We only know what it's like to work hard, pay bills, be accountable. All this talk of corporate bailout seems unfair to both of us.  We had no answers, but questions abounded as we bantered back and forth.

So after all of my angst, it ended up being both an easy drive and a delightful conversation with a person I respect and admire, even though we see things differently.  That's the way it should be:  a fair exchange of different ideas is what makes this country work.  The checks and balances of government need to be upheld in order to keep things balanced in terms of power and authority.   Differing points of view need to considered.  Diversity is a gift that needs to be celebrated and appreciated  instead of feared.  

The financial crisis is just the latest issue facing us.  There are many others that need to be addressed.  It's not just about the presidential candidates; we can all debate the issues in our attempt to find solutions. America IS free speech!  Let our voices be heard remembering:  Civility and mutual respect works wonders.  There is generally no one right or one wrong answer, but the truth is somewhere in the middle. Whether we agree or disagree, let us do it without being disagreeable.  It can be done.  My son-in-law and I have succeeded, proving that anything is possible.


Lin said...

Oh boy, you hit home with this one! My in-laws ONLY discuss sports and weather with everyone. Oh yeah, and what route we took to their house. If you know me, you know I have about a bajillion opinions on EVERYTHING and they don't appreciate that very much. Needless to say, they pretty much avoid talking to me unless it is to say "Is Joe home?". It only took me 20+ years to figure this out and finally get caller i.d.--it spares us all the uncomfortable avoidance of conversation.

I'm glad you and your son-in-law had a good conversation today. It is important to your relationship to be able to communicate or just to "talk". Whether you agree or disagree, it is so important to not let it affect your relationship--for the sake of your daughter. I'm proud of you, Diane!

Lin said...

Hey, I "tagged" you! Check my blog to see what you have to do now. :)