Sam Burnham, Curator
So I had this dream the other night. I’m not sure which part is the weirdest but I think I found a message in it. Let me tell the story, don’t try to get too partisan in the analysis until we get to the message part. Just enjoy the weird story.
I’m sitting in an airport terminal. I’m pretty sure it was in Atlanta but I’m not sure. It was far nicer than Philadelphia but not as cool as Denver. It could have been anywhere else, I guess. Let’s just say Atlanta. Don’t get distracted.
Anyway, I’m sitting there with one of my sons. I’m not sure why it was just the two of us waiting to board a plane for Hawaii. There’s really no reason for the two of us to be going to Hawaii without any other family members. Hey, you’re getting distracted again. Pay attention here because it’s about to get weirder.
So I’m looking out the window at the vacant jetway waiting for the plane to arrive. Of all people, Barrack Obama walks up and sits down next to me. We just start talking. No introductions, no greetings. We’ve known each other for years, so it seems. In reality I don’t know him from Adam and he sure doesn’t know me. We agree on almost nothing politically but he’s a cool enough guy and were just shooting the breeze. We’re talking about simple stuff, regular people conversation stuff, common ground stuff. Don’t get distracted by specifics.
Then it hits me. My old pal Barry here grew up in Hawaii. It’s like home to him. He’s not going to Hawaii. He’s just sitting here hanging out with my son and I while we wait on our plane. He’s got nothing better to do and his Secret Service detail can get him through the TSA checkpoint. So I ask if he wants me to bring him something back. Yes, I know he’s got a lot more money than me and if he wants something from Hawaii he can jump on a plane and go get it. That’s not the point. I’m going. He ain’t. If he wants a fresh pineapple or one of those dancing hula girls that you sit on your dashboard, I’ll bring him one.
The dream trailed off as he chuckled humbly the way you do when you’re declining an offer to bring back a gift that you really want. I’ll find him something. It’ll be nice but it won’t be Hula Bowl tickets. Maybe a tiki head penny bank.
Anyway, that’s the story. So here’s the message. The outcome of this election is political. Our everyday lives shouldn’t be. If we can’t carry on conversations and even friendships with people we disagree with politically, then we need to take some emotional and intellectual inventory. We need to think about the weight we put on things. Politics should absolutely divide us ideologically. Politics should never divide us personally. If I can bring Barrack Obama back an ashtray shaped like Diamond Head, you can be civil to folks across the aisle from you.
Take the election outcomes for what they are. Live your life regardless of them. It’s ok to be a decent human if your candidate loses. This is my 7th presidential election. The candidate I voted for has won twice so far. I have yet to resort to violence over it. It’s not the end of the world. We don’t have to become savages. We can watch Magnum P.I. Reruns and pretend we’re in Hawaii souvenir shopping. We can talk to old friends. We can make new friends. They can disagree with us. We can disagree with them.
Oh, and Aloha, y’all.
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Historian, self-proclaimed gentleman, agrarian-at-heart, & curator extraordinaire