During my last trip to the US I was searching for a non-rightwing talk, non-gospel radio station while driving through the mountains. The terrain made signal reception of any sort problematic, to say the least, since I also had to pay attention to my driving.

Then I found heaven. Joni Mitchell’s Woodstock.

I settled back in the seat, comfortable that I’d found a soundtrack that mirrored my age, politics and attitude on this drive. The song ended and after I left my music-induced reverie I began to listen to the DJ. It was a young woman, a somewhat inexperienced announcer. But, considering where we were, I figured the station was lucky to get someone to work there and that the woman was happy to have an entry-level job.

As I began paying more attention to what she was saying as opposed to how she was saying things I realized I’d tuned into a conservative Christian radio station and that the announcer was clearly oblivious to the song’s history and context. I gathered that she’d done a computer search and somehow “I came upon a child of god” popped to the head of her search list. Her next selection was more suitable to a Sunday morning captive church audience than a captive public on a mountain road and my mind drifted back to Joni’s lyrics. While I doubt very much if my radio hostess and her station would agree with “We are stardust – billion year old carbon” there’s an awful lot in the lyrics we would probably agree on.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if those of us choosing to leave our attitudinal echo chambers could find a few things in common with “the other side”? Some things we could laugh, joke and talk seriously about. Some things we could use as a basis for respectful conversation. Note that I’ve said conversation, not conversion. Many times doing the same things for different reasons is perfectly satisfactory. We don’t have to agree with everyone. But it sure would be nice if we could respect them.

And we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden