Oct 172016

The mechanics of this trip combined with my advancing age have required me to establish a variety of rituals to manage it all.  Camera, microphone, batteries, mounts, ipad, phone, wallet, notebook, glasses and pen are neatly arranged on my person at all times. There are a series of, what I am certain are, DSM-IV certifiable OCD behaviors that appear like tics to reassure myself all is well.

In that past, my favorite ritual was one that I did only for my own amusement.  I kept various lists in the back pages of my notebook to track things that I found interesting.  ‘Best specials at diners’ by state, ‘felons I have met’ on the bus, and always ‘acts of kindness’.  Early on, this trip inspired a new list.  I call it, ‘easily disproved misinformation presented as fact’ and boy, howdy, this one is growing fast.

In addition to the standard Obama is a Muslim and Hillary is going to repeal the second amendment, I submit the following sampling,

The joint chiefs have clearly stated that they cannot and will not accept Hillary Clinton as President

Several states already have established key tenets of Sharia Law

Obama did not win the popular vote in the 2012 election, only the electoral college

Obamacare specifically does not cover pre-existing conditions

This list represents the most significant change that I have noted over my three trips.  The sheer volume of misinformation and the absolute certainty with which they are presented is stunning.

Please meet Calvin Craig.

Oct 162016

Adrift.  I suppose more than any other word, it captures how I ended my first week on the road.  More than the last two trips, I find my forehead is in permanent furrow, eyes squinting as I try to make sense from this side of my GoPro.

This feeling has not been helped by my new determination to examine the role that radio might be contributing to these moments.  To that end, I have been listening to the local talk radio and Christian broadcasting networks.  While there are many uplifting and considered arguments being made, I am stunned silent by the preponderance of both political and theological ‘end-times’ rhetoric.  More on that and some observations in future posts.

But then, it was Sunday morning in Shawnee, Oklahoma.  Eight years ago I wandered into the University Baptist Church and found a faith community that touched my heart and lifted my spirits.  The music and the children’s sermon (even young Dhamon stomping his feet as they read John 3:16) was delightful.

Dr. Steven Dominy is now the pastor his sermon spoke of the true gift of surrender upon discovering Christ. Steve (he insisted) was kind enough to actually remember my last visit and make time for me before heading off with his congregation.  His patience (I had some technical issues) and kind spirit was just the mooring that I needed.  It was a gift.  I am so very thankful.

Oct 142016

There are so many ways that traveling in a city cargo van is working well for me.  Out of necessity, each day starts with quiet time in any public space where I can find an outlet to recharge my portable battery.  Today my charge time gave me the chance to have three separate encounters.  Three groups, three different views, all video shy.

The first was with two young hispanic girls and their male friend.  Though not terribly politically engaged, they felt that this election was confusing and they did not know who to trust.  They believed that the right person would win, but did not feel that they could or would be able to make an informed decision.

Next I spoke with Elizabeth.  She was articulate with a strong point of view, wearing a great hat.  Camera shy as well, she was willing to allow me to capture her words, if not her image.

And finally, I was honored to speak with three immigrants from Sudan.  These gentleman were in their 30’s and were especially wary of any pictures or video.  They were equally emphatic about their respect for and admiration of our electoral process.  They loved our free press and felt that the exchange of ideas, however messy was a good and healthy thing.  The expressed concern that so much of the coverage was ‘personal issues’ and hoped that voters would focus on policy.

Their complete lack of cynicism was a delight.  It was a good day.