I remember one adult who approached me during a China trip fundraiser for the team: “You ask them,” she said. “You ask them why.” It was never quite clear to me what she wanted to know, but I surmised it.
What excites me about our trip is the why. As I have learned in so many places I’ve traveled, average people are kind and reasonable wherever we go; we all just have different pieces of the same story. Where we justifiably worry about job loss due to outsourcing, China justifiably sees more unemployed on its mainland than the US has workers. Together, a larger picture of our global economy emerges.
And where we argue for individual liberty and freedoms, China understands these as affirmed equally for all citizens—in other words, the needs and the growth of the social and political state are priorities so this progress can be gained equally for all. Do Americans scoff at the justice there? Perhaps. What might the Chinese scoff at in our own government?
But this goes too far astray of what I wanted to write pre-trip. The fact is, I’m excited about our small role in seeing the different sides of stories converge, in making friends on both sides of the world, in encountering bias and freeing ourselves of some of our own. We can debate global security or US-China trade, but the real learning will be in the expansion of our cultural experience.
For myself, people are good wherever I encounter them; sometimes it’s just the politics of fear which complicates our behavior.
I want us all to try everything we see, and this blog space will find each of our travelers taking turns offering stories of our experiences and their reflections.
If all goes well, expect a new morning read each day through July 7. Our night will be the US dawn, and between the two will be our stories.