As I sit here and write this, I find myself in the living room of Katie’s former exchange student from Peru, Victor.  Victor and his wife, Katrin, currently live in Cologne, Germany. Katrin speaks 5 languages and Victor speaks 3.  They are quite lovely and kind, and we had an excellent evening yesterday crossing over the Rhine.  The real Rhine.

Both of our hosts are also quite intelligent and the conversation over sausage and sauerkraut last night quickly turned to politics, money and the looming crisis of the “fiscal cliff” that we will all stumble over if our elected officials do not get over their egos – and soon.

Victor made the comment that no decision will truly ever get made because it is “all about money.”  And he was not speaking solely of the USA.  No, he was lamenting the fact that, at the end of the day, ALL governmental bodies squabble over money.  A sad premise, to be sure, but one that needs to be taken seriously if change is to occur.

Many of our present-day problems are inherited problems.  Inherited by elected officials of yesteryear who made decisions, served their term and left the problem for someone else to clean up.  This is not to say that we should look for blame.  No, what happened, happened, and we need to realize that it is 2012 and that it is time for a new kind of politics.  One that understands the importance of money in a new way.  One that realizes money IS important – for everybody.  One that realizes petty bickering does nothing to improve the federal, state or local economy.

Assigning blame is easy.  Making lots of money is also easy – for a few.  Realizing the true value of money and creating situations so that all may access it, save it and spend it is not so easy.

Money is not evil.  Systems that keep the money out of hard-working people’s hands are evil.  Spending more time arguing ideology in Washington than creating new, forward-thinking systems is not necessarily evil, but it is childish and embarrassing.

My many travels have exposed me to conversations such as these, and I count myself blessed to have been born to parents who value travel.  I have met and conversed with people from all 50 states, Central America, Europe, the British Isles, the Caribbean, Australia, South America and elsewhere.  The conversations are all unique, true, but also quite similar.  The conversations are about people just wanting to be people – and happy.  They are not about political persuasion, warring ideology or how much better one country is than another.  No, in my 34 years on the planet, combined with my hundreds of conversations about humanity all over the globe, I feel I can confidently say that we are all very much the same and do not particuarly care about the infighting between bureaucrats.  Sadly, these days, it seems that infighting is the new way.  Mistakes were made in the past – by people who lacked the foresight and knowledge of history with which we are graced.  We owe it to them and our future to truly embrace this knowledge and move forward.

These thoughts simply snuck in yesterday – as the past week has found my brain blissfully “logged off” as Katie and I have experienced the best of what Europe has to offer.  Amsterdam, Paris, Munich, Cologne and now off to Brussels.  The sights will change, but one thing will remain constant – the humanity of all with whom we interact.