Wolfe Publishing Group

    From the Editor

    A Lewis and Clark Mindset

    Shortly before this issue went to press, Sheryll and I treated ourselves to a canoe trip down the Missouri River from Fort Benton to Judith Landing in Montana. We have both worked in hunting and fishing camps, so this trip was “special,” as we were the guests and not the workers. It seemed a little strange to have someone else pitching tents and cooking food, but we enjoyed the whole experience immensely. The focus was on the campsites used by Lewis and Clark and it didn’t take much imagination to picture ourselves back in time when the Corps of Discovery traveled the river.

    We had the good luck to have a very good bunch of companions, from the guides themselves to the other guests. I would describe them as representing a very typical slice of America whose political leanings ranged from center/left to center/right. I’m leaving myself out of that description as I have been accused of being a “constitutionalist,” which is something I take pride in.

    As with any trip into a wilderness setting, there was soon no cell phone reception and phone batteries ran out, so people actually sat around the fire and engaged in meaningful conversation about their lives, current events and the history connected with our trip down one of the most historically significant rivers in the West.

    What was very interesting to me was how folks actually listened to each other and seriously considered differing viewpoints. With no television or internet spewing out opinions from professional fearmongers and propagandists, one could see that these people were actually using their common sense to convey their thoughts on an issue and did so in a polite fashion. There was no bug-eyed screaming or efforts to force an opinion down the throat of someone and there were no political pollsters telling us what to think. As I thought about it later, it seemed that is was ridiculously simple to reach a consensus amongst us on many issues in the absence of distracting and irritating outside influence.

    I reflected on the last day of our trip that quite possibly we, as taxpayers, should send our elected officials down the Missouri in canoes, to campout away from the political advisers, polltakers and special interest operatives who make their living from creating chaos. Maybe, just maybe, our politicians would realize that actually doing something positive to help remedy the issues facing us all is more important than sound bites and reelection campaigns. Could we hope they would learn that there is nothing beyond our abilities when we all pull together, rather than focusing on tearing each other apart? Possibly, would they see that considering another’s viewpoint is an integral part of making a good decision?

    I really don’t expect to see Congress paddling down the Missouri, as much as it is an interesting concept to consider. Maybe all we really have to do is remind them in November that we have sent them to Washington, D.C. to do the work of the people, not engage in endless political buffoonery and aggrandizement. Possibly paying less attention to social media and more attention to the serious issues that are affecting all Americans would be a great place to start.

    Could we hope that they would consider the incredible example of the Corps of Discovery, which was made up of a wide variety of individuals from many different social backgrounds, who pulled together and focused on the common good and the problems at hand to achieve an almost unbelievable goal.

    Possibly we should, as Americans with some serious challenges to overcome, spend a little more time thinking like Lewis and Clark.

    – Gut Ziel

    Wolfe Publishing Group