I’m getting excited already about Christmas because my oldest son will be here. My youngest son had a stack of air miles and he bought his brother a first class ticket as a combination birthday/Christmas gift. I haven’t seen him in three and a half years and I miss him. He lives in Dallas and is a graphic design artist for Fossil and he’s also a musician, a drummer who still plays the club scene now and then with several different bands. But doing the “oh, so proud Mom” thing really wasn’t the reason for this post.
I was thinking earlier today about his visit and remembering the last time I saw him when I flew to Dallas in May of 2005. It was going to be an exciting visit for several reasons. I had been in touch with cousins of mine that I hadn’t seen or talked to in over forty years and a couple of high school classmates that I hadn’t seen in about the same length of time, were also planning on coming to Dallas so we could have a visit.
What all of this is leading up to is the fact that I almost didn’t get on the plane at all. I had difficulty getting through security at the airport in Portland. As usual, I had tried to check in online, but was told that I would have to check in at the airport. I thought perhaps their computers were down and I tried off and on unsuccessfully for several hours before finally leaving for the airport.
I picked up my ticket and headed for security. I didn’t set off any alarms but I was taken aside and asked to remove my jacket, while they did not only a scan, but a pat down. They went through everything in my purse and my wallet, wanted a detailed list of every medication I had in my carry-on and they took samples. Then they began to fill out a three page report that included my driver’s license, passport, date of birth, place of birth, what organizations I belonged to. Well, you get the picture. And before they would let me go, they had to have the report signed by their supervisor. I barely made my plane. You do know how dangerous we white-haired old ladies are, don’t you?
I was thinking about that day when saw Roger Cohen’s Op-Ed piece in the New York Times this morning, entitled “How Home Became Homeland”. And again I was reminded of how much has changed in our country since that day in September seven years ago. It also reminded me of how the Republicans have taken advantage of it to push their own agenda. Bill Clinton said it very well at the DNC in Denver, the United States does better when it leads with “the power of our example” than with the “example of our power.”
Cohen is right saying that we’ve been spending too much on fear while others spend on the future and as a result we have collapsing bridges, dilapidated airports, potholed roads, subway problems. A great national failure to build a network of public transportation worthy of a modern country in the age of $110 barrels of oil. And we’re spending far too much on fear while other countries are spending on the future. According to Cohen, “Hong Kong airport shimmers the way American promise once did.”
Look at both conventions and the security involved. The scenes on television were frightening. Fear is running this country. And I’m certainly not the only person to experience what I did at the airport. Granted, I have a big mouth and I’ve never made any effort to disguise or hide how I have and do feel about the Bush Administration, but get real! Just how much damage could a five foot four, hundred and thirty pound, old broad do?
I miss my country, the one before and, yes, it’s still my home, but it’s not the same. I do hope we can usher in a new beginning of change, with a new administration that will help lead us past the fear to a new time, to rekindle hope and excitement for all of us.