So here’s Mr. Ella’s father guest-blogging for Ella. She’s spent half the day at the airport with Ms. Ella’s mom waiting for Ms. Ella’s grandmother to arrive from Florida. A flight that was supposed to land around four thirty didn’t reach Newark until nearly 11 due to clouds, winds and thunderstorms.
I can imagine what they’ll say when they finally reach home tonight, near midnight. They’ll be tired, hungry, cranky, irritated at the huge waste of time and extreme inconvenience. I expect they’ll use words like nightmare, disaster, agony, and such. Those are the word that first spring to my mind.
But of course it’s nothing of the sort. it’s a long wait in a tiresome building, sure, but not real hardship. A nightmare is a plane with a loved one aboard dropping out of the sky in a wicked storm. A disaster is the death of all aboard. Agony is living without a loved one with whom you were expecting to enjoy sharing an extended visit, and many more for years into the future.
I find I’m often guilty of this sort of verbal inflation, calling simple inconvenience something far worse. That kind of thinking, in part, is what has put us in the colossal political mess that is consuming Washington as I write. Heated rhetoric that calls every act of government a threat to liberty, or sees hate speech in any dislike of difference, has blinded us to the real problems we face, and left us chasing imaginary ghouls instead.
I’ll resist the temptation to dissect the debt ceiling deadlock further. This isn’t the forum for that. But it is worth being mindful of the delusions that exaggeration can lead us to, if left unchecked. The battle in Washington is most decidedly not a clash between fascists and socialists. The sad thing is that both sides are now so blinded by the hatred loaded into the labels they attach to one another, they are driving us recklessly onward toward a very real nightmare, a truly agonizing disaster.