Travel writer Rick Steves notes that travel changes people, broadens perspectives, and helps them understand and appreciate differences. We couldn’t agree more.
We’ve been lucky enough to travel throughout this amazing country and around our beautiful planet. And throughout our travels, we’ve learned one thing above all others: that despite differences in language, culture, wealth, or location, most people are essentially the same. As we’ve written before, humans value a roof over their heads, enough food for their families, the satisfaction of work well done, and the company of friends and loved ones.
If you follow our blog, you know that we are US National Park enthusiasts. Arizona is home to 22 NPS units including three incredible National Parks. In addition, Jeff is a die-hard Chicago Cubs fan — and Mesa, Arizona is the Cubs’ spring training home.
We’ve spent many vacations — and many thousands of dollars — traveling around Arizona. (We actually have airline, lodging, and rental car reservations for a March trip to Mesa!)
So, we’re troubled by the recent news out of Arizona: legislation that would allow businesses to refuse service to gay and lesbian customers. Deceptively labeled “free exercise of religion,” it reminds us of Jim Crow laws and harkens back to edicts issued by 1930s Germany.
Dallas sportscaster Dale Hansen recently said, “I’m not always comfortable when a man tells me he’s gay; I don’t understand his world. But I do understand that he’s part of mine.”
Regardless of her comfort level, we — a heterosexual couple approaching our 25th wedding anniversary — hope that Arizona Governor Brewer will at the very least demonstrate that same level of understanding and veto Senate Bill 1062, just as three legislators who voted for it and the Greater Phoenix Economic Council have recommended.
If not, we’ll consider cancelling our upcoming trip to Mesa. And, from now on, we’ll enjoy Cubs games and National Parks only in states other than Arizona — while encouraging fellow travelers and Cubs fans to do the same.
We’re sure that Mr. Cub himself — Ernie Banks — and others in the Cubs organization will understand.
Benjamin Disraeli once said that “travel teaches tolerance.” Perhaps some Arizonan legislators need to spend some time away from home.
Update: On February 26, 2014, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoed SB 1062. We’ll be heading to Mesa after all, and we’ll be heading to Rocco’s Little Chicago Pizzeria while we’re there. (But we still think that some Arizona legislators could use a little tolerance-teaching travel.)
Enjoy your week or your weekend, whoever you share it with.