Dennett — Thank you for your heart felt response. Although I believe we come from different backgrounds and ideals, we both care strongly for the welfare of humanity and nature. Anybody reading our stories can clearly see that. We probably have more in common than what separates us.
That said, it is good for us to discuss important issues from our differing viewpoints. I myself prefer to leave politics out of discussions of ideas. I sense that once labels are thrown into the mix, people either get angry or shut down. That’s why I love stories so much — they join people over their commonalities.
As for trains, the Amtrak and Milwaukee station were dirty and out of date twenty years (94 or 95) ago when I was commuting on it. I clearly remember Amtrak funding was on the table at that time, too. Is this because a majority of the population does not value train travel? I do not know, but that’s a good place to start looking.
If you ask me, politics is tainted on both sides because of money and special interests. Can citizens change that? I’d like to think so, but it can only happen if we find what we agree on and work from there.
In the Midwest, we do prefer to hop in our cars over mass transit. It’s reasonable because we have a lot of wide open spaces and limited traffic — with the exception of metropolitan areas like Chicago, which has a train system. This is what we know. When considering funding for a national train system many have never seen or used, I can understand why people might be unable to see a bigger picture beyond their own needs. Because we are large and diverse as a nation, what happens in New York is unfathomable to someone in Mishicot Wisconsin. Obviously the red/blue division on election maps speaks volumes about the way people in different areas see the world. I don’t think it means that one is good and one is bad — just different.
Are you familiar with Jonathan Haidt? He wrote this book:
I found it fascinating and his examples served to expand my ability to look at issues beyond political and religious labels.