What a week. There are a lot of particulars I’d like to comment on regarding the state of our country. However, that isn’t what Casting Across is about.
I am aware that the priorities and policies of an administration can have significant implications for water, land, and the fish that we’re trying to pursue. At the same time, I can’t begin to assume that fish are more important than people. But, that doesn’t mean that fish and the wild places in which they live aren’t of immense value.
So how do we communicate that to people of red, blue, and green values? Is it possible to be affirming of who someone is and what they firmly believe in… but also disagree? And to do it in a way that is respectful, honoring, and decent?
Unfortunately, the answer today seems to be a resounding “no.”
Whether it has to do with cold water conservation or something like civil rights, it is counter-intuitive to win an argument and lose a person. Tolerance isn’t 100% agreement. Tolerance isn’t blind acceptance of anything or everything, either. Tolerance is listening and conversing in a reasonable manner in a way that is reflective of humility and respect.
Nope. Doesn’t matter. 99 out of 100 people aren’t going to loot your storefront or spray paint hate-speech on your fence. They might disagree with impassioned gusto, but what is wrong with that? Might that be said about you as well?
Take that coworker fly fishing. Invite your neighbor out to the local pond and show him how to cast. Make some time for crazy Uncle Facebook this Thanksgiving and head to the river for a few hours. Engage them at a level that transcends talking points. Then do this:
Solve all the country’s… heck, the world’s problems. Figure out a way to remove all the dams from the rivers and restore the steelhead and salmon. Determine a compassionate and fair immigration policy. While you’re at it, determine a compassionate and fair irrigation policy. Hash out the pros and cons of pipelines, energy independence, the economic impact of fuel costs, and the drastic impacts on the effected watersheds. Make sure everyone is happy. Oh, get us out of debt and balance the budget.
That all seems reasonable. And don’t you do your best thinking while fly fishing? Share that experience with someone who is across the political creek from you. It is hard to get all fired up when you’re catching fish. (About that: if you are a bit sensitive to this sort of thing, definitely go fishing somewhere and sometime that you know you’ll be catching fish.)
Like I said, there is a lot I’d like to say. If you live in the Metro DC area, message me and we can have coffee… or go fishing. Those are much better forums than the cold, impersonal internet to have this kind of dialogue. Because there is a lot at stake – a lot more than I think we know.
I’ll wrap up today with an appropriate little number from some Canadian friends of ours: