Value: Principle or standard of behavior; one’s judgement of what is important in life.
“That’s why we slow it down and make sure that if they are a five year old that maybe they’re with their parents and they don’t pose a threat. . . . To assume that just because of someone’s age or gender or whatever that they don’t pose a threat would be wrong” — Press secretary Sean Spicer, when asked about the five-year-old Iranian boy who was detained under President Trump’s new executive order on refugees.
You might wonder what these two phrases have to do with each other. If you’re a frequent traveler, you probably already know. But if you don’t see the connection, please allow me to explain.
Travel is a value
When I say travel is a value I’m not talking about “vacation“. Many folks vacation two weeks a year at the beach or Beaches and I’m not here to pass judgement. But for me (and for most of you who I’ve met over the last five years) travel is in your blood. Exploring the world with your kids is more than a hobby- it’s a mission. Your judgement of what is important in life. A value.
Those of us who model travel as a value for our children see our kids reap the rewards. The Deal Kids hang out with kids with parents from Iran, Spain, India, Pakistan, Georgia (the country), Egypt, China, Korea…and that’s just off the top of my head. I recently asked Deal Kid where one of his friend’s parents were from (I was curious about his name) and he looked at me like I had two heads. “Centerville, Mom”. Point taken.
Travel is a value under attack
When a 5 year old is detained by America as a terrorism suspect we all become less safe. America loses her moral high ground when a wheel chair bound couple in their 80s, both green card holders, one of them blind, are interrogated. ISIS has recruitment video fodder for years to come courtesy of our own folly.
But here’s the thing- I can’t blame Donald Trump as it’s not just happening in America. Nativism is spreading like a virus all over Europe as well.
I visited Liguria in rural Italy over the summer and the exact same thing is happening over there. Driving from Cannes into Italy is a jarring experience. Even without a border you know you’re in Italy right after you cross as everything just looks, well, poorer. The British woman who owned my Air BnB and I got to chatting about Brexit and Trump. She shared with me that while she (and her college educated British friends) were horrified, her local Italian friends were thrilled about Brexit. In fact, they couldn’t wait for Italy to leave the European Union as well.
Let that sink in for a minute. Rural Italians, whose livelihoods depend on the olive oil and wine they sell to other European countries, were chomping at the bit to go back to the Lira. I can not fathom a scenario in which an exit from the EU ends well for Italy. Can you?
When facts lose all meaning, what do you hold on to? Your values.
I’m not going to argue about terrorism or safety because none of what happened this weekend has anything to do with either. Percentage-wise the people giving the strongest support to this executive order live in places more likely to be hit by a meteor than a terrorist. Can we please at least be honest about that?
Not even a week ago I encouraged you to talk to Americans who lived differently than you. I stand by that post, but have to admit my faith in what unifies America is shaken. Some things used to beyond red or blue- like holding five year olds and blind wheelchair-bound octogenarians as terrorism suspects.
So I’m going to hold on to the belief that travel is a value- an American value- and I’m going to keep passing it on to my kids. Travel is now not only a value- it’s a political act.
UPDATE: If you think I’m hopelessly naive and sheltered, please read this post before jumping to that conclusion. I have more experience in this matter than you may think.
The Deal Mommy is a proud member of the Saverocity network.