My Truth

Sean and I were able to go away this weekend thanks to the extraordinary help of our family in Yakima and our family here in the area. We spent 2 days and 2 nights at the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, Vermont. It is where we spent our honeymoon 10 years ago. Back then we didn’t have kids, didn’t own a business or a home. We had loads of energy, opinions and belief in the future. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that our path back to Stowe was a little less buoyant. We still have opinions, but our energy has been flagging and our belief in the future has been somewhat hampered by our focus on the this-very-minute pace of our lives. This trip was much more about survival than celebration.

We’ve never been away like this. Ever. As the demands we face as parents, entrepreneurs and individuals increase, as threats to our health become less a what if and more of a when, and as we realize that marriage needs to be more verb than noun, getting away is critical. It doesn’t always have to involve a road trip and lodging, but finding ways to get perspective and reassert ourselves as people so we can do all that parenting, marketing, number-crunching and so on, is a requirement.

I spent the days before we left preparing to handle the weight of our leaving. I wanted not to feel selfish for leaving or, more to the point, for being so excited to leave. It worked, because as we drove toward our getaway I did not fret (too much) about the girls and I allowed myself to unfurl, literally and figuratively. Looser shoulders, clearer mind. We made the requisite phone calls, but for the most part we were open to the exeperience of distance from the day-to-day.

Saturday we struck out for the mountain. We were intending to repeat the hike we did on our honeymoon, which involved a gondola trip part way up and then heading to the summit by foot. When we arrived it was windy, misty and not a moving gondola in sight. Undeterred we headed up the face of the mountain, until about 3/4 of a mile in the winds hit us full force and it stopped being fun. We made our way back down and headed over to look at funky spray painted logos on terrain park equipment. As Sean snapped pictures of the boards I spied a trail. “Want to head up there?” I asked him. He was game, so up we went.Beneath the cover of trees we were sheltered from the rain and wind. The path went from wet leaves to a pristine blanket of fluffy snow. Each step sloughed off more of the day-to-day weight and brought to the fore a sense of promise.

My mind turned to the sorts of things that have kept me from fully believing in what is possible. I thought about what is more important, surfing Facebook or spending 30 minutes on 16 pages with my 3rd grader (Did the latter upon my return and it was awesome!) I thought about how what one person thinks doesn’t change my efforts. Sweat began to pour from my brow as the steps became steeper. I thought about feminism and the negativity that has clung to the term like stink on a sponge. I thought about how healthcare has become a lightning rod, blinding many from the reality that we are talking about people.

I want so much for my daughters, but mostly, I want them to have an equal shot. I want that for the daughters of other people, whether they were born here or not. I want for love between consenting adults to be legal and recognized in the same way mine is. I want the young people in our country to be educated. I believe more in granting than revoking. I believe more in accepting than excluding. I am willing to compromise, but not when it comes to what happens to my body. I realize that I put social issues before economic issues. I am willing to help pay for these things because of my beliefs.

I know that my truths may not be yours and I know that the reasons I will vote for Barack Obama may not be the reasons you will or, they may be the reasons that you won’t vote for him. That’s fine. The part that makes me feel like truthfully nothing is fine in our country is that people are either afraid to share their views or they can’t be spoken without contempt for the other side. Some way or another we have to move forward together. I don’t feel contempt for Mr. Romney, but I do fear his vision. My understanding of Mr. Romney is that much of what he believes in has very little to do with being together. We all have our truth. Mine does not make yours any less, what does make a truth less is when you are afraid to share it. It is for this reason that I am sharing today, voting tomorrow and pledging not to be afraid to stand up for what I believe.

Here is a post from a woman explaining why she is voting to re-elect President Obama.

Please feel free to comment on this post, but understand that if terms like idiot, asshole, racist, bigot, bitch are used I will delete your comment regardless of party. Few people have stayed completely aboveboard or civil in politics, my intent here is to say it should be ok to speak your mind. Kindly. If you feel a strong need to hurl slurs you may direct them toward me on Twitter @amandamagee

I'm not kidding when I ask you to tell me what you think.

  1. Amen.

    Really, I can’t wait for this election to be over because of all the crazy, borderline insanity out there.

    Twitter will be off limits for me tomorrow.

    I can’t take it.


  2. Great post. Thank you for sharing and for not being afraid to say what you believe in. I, too, will be heading to the polls tomorrow to cast my vote for Obama. No matter who you choose, everyone needs to exercise this privilege.

  3. “I want so much for my daughters, but mostly, I want them to have an equal shot. I want that for the daughters of other people, whether they were born here or not. I want for love between consenting adults to be legal and recognized in the same way mine is. I want the young people in our country to be educated. I believe more in granting than revoking. I believe more in accepting than excluding. I am willing to compromise, but not when it comes to what happens to my body. I realize that I put social issues before economic issues. I am willing to help pay for these things because of my beliefs.”

    Yes! Yes! Yes! So well said. And you were able to do it, to say what you believe, without name-calling or hate.
    I hope you had a good time during your weekend away and I wish you a peaceful day tomorrow.

  4. “We all have our truth. Mine does not make yours any less, what does make a truth less is when you are afraid to share it.”

    Wow. I think MY truth is quite aligned with YOURS, though you described the viewpoint much better than I ever could. Great post!

    • I loved it too, except that it took me until yesterday to write it and that I think other people aren’t speaking up (on both sides) out of fear. What has our society come to?

  5. I find it wonderfully fascinating and encouraging that I broadly agree with your goals, even though I come to a different conclusion about how to achieve them. e.g. from gender equality to better education, etc.

    From my perspective, when you use your vote to say, “I am willing to help pay for these things”, the government always reacts as though you said, “I am willing to force other people to pay for these things” because that is its only function. Is that what you meant to say? If so, I wish more people would come right out and say it. To me, that seems contrary to the “granting” and “accepting” that you espouse.

    That “force” alone should give us great pause whenever we itch to employ government to accumulate our goals, but beyond that, freedom also tends to be more effective than force in practice.

    I hope this has not come across as harsh in any way. Boldly standing up for what we believe is resonating more and more with me, too. I can’t imagine people hurling insults at you for anything you’ve said here. In fact, I think a respectful conversation with you about this stuff would be nice, if you’re ever interested.

    • Kevin, not harsh at all. I appreciate the perspective. The wages clip was very interesting. I suppose I was speaking more to my personal experience which is that there are situations I face professionally where my voice is not heard, but if my ideas are spoken by a male, the men who just didn’t hear me suddenly hear my idea. It is jarring when I say, “It takes a penis,” but the reality, for me, is that often times I simply cannot get the same response because of my gender.

      On the matter of who pays, I do genuinely believe that our system of government and the taxes we pay are to be spent on things to level the playing field. I certainly am not in agreement with everything my tax dollars go to. So I do accept the notion that I will be forced to pay for things I don’t believe in. I also think that the system falters when it can be manipulated with the right know-how, most of which sits with people with more money and more education.

      All that being said, I think there is way more common ground in our hopes for this country (and the world) I just think that our rabid tendency toward drawing rigid lines keeps us from being able to say that “the other side” has good ideas.

      I never said Obama was perfect, in fact there was a time I was ready to vote for McCain. At this time, with the limited choices they give us and the compromises we have to make, I land on the Obama side.

      I would welcome more conversation and I thank you for being so respectful.

      • Thanks, Amanda!

        You may be right, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve shared an idea and someone else repeats the same thing and they get the credit for it. It is so bizarre and disheartening. I don’t know if it was my personality, or the way I said it, or they wanted that specific person’s input, or it just took time for it to click, or what, but I’d encourage you not to chalk it up to your gender since that is such a big catch-all when reading minds.

        Do you think it is possible for each of us to pay for the things we believe in rather than the things bureaucrats and politicians choose for us? It seems to me that both parties just say yes to their constituency and the rich groups, which just accumulates huge public debt and tons of rules rife with waste and corruption. I don’t know how to stop that vicious cycle without taking away power from all of them.

        The level playing field is essential, but how do we do it? I was amazed to discover how forcing equality can backfire in practice, as Milton Friedman described in that video. There’s a bunch of videos on YouTube with him that I highly recommend if you are so inclined. They’re old but good and still applicable. I like the Donahue ones, for example:

        Milton Friedman on Donahue – 1979
        Milton Friedman on Donahue #2

  6. Amanda you sound so much like my daughter who has just gone back to school to embark on a career in women’s healthcare. I couldn’t disagree with her politics more but I could not love her more either. 🙂

    As someone famous (Okay don’t laugh, it was Rob Lowe) once said – liberals tend to vote on empathy, conservatives with logic. It’s a broad generalization but if you think about it, it tends to be true. And I don’t suppose coming at things from either side is right or wrong, but those 2 ways of looking at things open huge gaps between otherwise wonderfully giving and accepting people. That part is truly sad.

  7. wonderful, thoughtful post (as if i should be surprised).
    there is much that is broken in our country and i, for one, am not quite certain how it can be fixed. sometimes it feels that we are so bogged down in the arguments instead of the solutions. what i do know is that if we (the “big” we-meaning everyone) cannot have discussions and compromises, nothing will ever change.
    on another note, i find that a good hike in the woods is the cure for many an ill; perhaps that is part of the answer to our shared national and world problems.

  8. HEY! WE were in Stowe last weekend! We stayed at the Stowe Mountain Lodge, hiked around, ate at Harrison’s and some awesome breakfast place in Jeffersonville. LOVE that area.

    Thanks for linking to my post, btw. Yes, I probably shouldn’t have called Romney a name, but I’m really struggling with the Republican ticket this year.

  9. Politics (on Facebook and Twitter especially) have been ugly. I don’t have a passion for following political topics… or maybe not so much following, but discussing. I’m like you and seem to put social issues above economic issues. I’m not good at debating the issues and so I just tend avoid talking about them.

    I’m just babbling… but mainly… once again… I totally get what you’re saying.

  10. Replace girls with boys and we share a very similar truth.

    Also, I’m glad you got away with your sweet guy. It’s so important (I learned the hard way!) and I hope you’ll do it often. 🙂

  11. I am glad that you were able to have a w/e away with your husband. Time spent together as a couple, not as parents or business people, is compulsory and I’m grateful for the reminder. It’s so, so easy to get caught-up in the daily grind and forget each other. I hope that the trip was as beautiful as those pictures.

    I have been feeling grateful for not being in the US during this election. It seems as though it’s been particularly brutal. I’ve read of families being disconnected and broken. I have friends who are hurting deeply as the divide widens with their families. It’s so, so sad.

    I love what you said about healthcare – especially re: women – being used as a rod so bright, that everyone forgets there is a person in there. People. Humans. It’s like the humanity of it all has been forgotten and it’s crazy.

    It all comes down to stories, I think. Yours. Mine. Others’ stories. I think when we hear them, it’s difficult to deny their humanity. It becomes less political. Maybe we’re forgetting to tell the real story.

    You’ve been brave. You’ve shared.

    Love you, Amanda.