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Archive for October 21st, 2008

As I get ready to start 4 weeks of travel; I am reminded of how we are perceived differently in differently in different parts of the country and the world. I am headed off to St. Louis for one week, then to Europe for three weeks. It still strikes me as odd, or would a better word be curious, any way, it still strikes me that way, that an ocean or a 1 hour flight can have such dramatic changes in how one sees thinks.

I have never been to St. Louis, so I anticipate some oddities from how we (I) see things in Michigan, My world view and my national view will be different.   Coming from an industrial state, where cars are made and the union in strong, I see things differently. Now granted, I see things differently in Michigan than a lot of Michiganders do. But that is for another blog. We, as Michiganders see things differently; our world view is colored by our experience. We have an automotive view point, one that stems from years of living off the automobile. But as of late that world view has been challenged. Our way of life hangs in the balance and we are being called to change our view, not only in how Michigan operates, but also how we, as Michiganders operate.

With the automobile industry in such a mess, and oil prices high, we need to revamp our economy. Yes the nation is in a tight stop as a whole, but Michigan is even tighter. We have been feeling the pinch for over a year, I would even stay two years. But that’s not even it. It’s more than the industries that needs to be revamped; I feel the whole collective mind of Michigan needs to be reset. As a Midwestern state, we are to be the conservative collective thought of the nation, but looking at Michigan politics and policies, I would say we have left that behind. Some how it got lost and we are having a hard time finding it again.

But I still hold dear that ideal, one of simple Midwestern thought. And I have to say I bring it with me when I travel. So it always lends itself to a little bewilderment on my part.

Each time I travel overseas I am always taken-a-back at the liberal mind. No matter how many times I go, I never really get use to it. Now in fairness to me, I try hard to be open minded, and I try not to get in to conversations about all that. That’s not why I am there, but sometimes I just can’t avoid it. Case and point, I was in Australia during the whole “Florida can’t count” thing. And each morning I was greeted with a knock on my door, and the manager of the hotel asking me “Have you Americans learned to count yet”. Yes it was funny and fun, the first few days, but I was there one month, and it happened every day, without fail.

This time around I will be in Germany on voting day. I really am not sure what to expect, but I do know one thing, they, the German people, love Obama. So I have a feeling that I will hear something, no matter who wins. This will be a test of my resolve; of how long will I be able to keep it all in. If I was a betting man, not long at all.

I may have a Midwestern point of view, but I do not have the Midwestern tolerance. I am passionate and head strong. I speak my mind and all too often let it all out.

Now once again, I do try to avoid this when I travel. It is part of my improving myself. I need to learn to stop, listen and just nod, not to speak. But that is hard for me, ask any of my family or friends, they will be more than happy to tell you that. I am sure each has a story about my passion and head strongness.

It is on my mind, and an area I need improvement in, but entering a country during an election in the USA is like placing a drug addict in the middle of a crack house and saying “Don’t”. Chances are they will, and chances are I will.

I will try hard not to, I will fight it to the best of my ability, but knowing myself, I will only be able to do that for a few seconds, my goal, to get that to a few minutes. Small baby steps, that’s the way to do it.

 

Paul

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