"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.? - Mark Twain Don't you hate it when you write a long post and your internet explorer has a hiccup and it gets all deleted? I'm going to try to keep this short and to the point. I think America needs to create a societal norm where people take extended time off in order to volunteer abroad and/or travel abroad. It seems pretty consistent where people who travel more, tend to be more understanding and giving towards their fellow human beings. And those who have never travelled or travelled only within their comfort zones (like Canada, England, or any other highly developed Western culture), tend to be more conservative. When you partake in long term, meaningful travel, you learn not only about your own personality but also about the world around you. You learn to depend on yourself, but more importantly, on the need to depend on others, sometimes complete strangers. I may get a lot of flak for this but I think that your average Republican wants to lower taxes for one simple reason: keep more money for themselves. It doesn't matter how badly the national infrastructure is or the fact that we're fighting two wars. As long as they get to keep more of their money, the happier they'll be. Would people think differently had they spent two years living within a culture that had nothing? No schools within a 15 mile radius or a non-existant health care system? I'd like to think so. I wonder how different Sarah Palin would have turned out if she had spent 2 years with the Peace Corp in sub-Saharan Africa or 2 years backpacking throughout Asia? Somehow, I doubt she'd be at the forefront for repealing health care for millions of poor Americans. If anything, I believe she'd try to work compromises within the Health Care Bill. President Obama talked about a national service program where college students would receive scholarships in exchange for time in the Peace Corp, AmeriCorp, etc. I think this is a great idea and a step in the right direction. But in order for America to get rid of all the narrow-mindedness that seems to have plagued the political system lately, I think it needs to become the norm. What do you think?