[US to Palestinian Territories, Israel + Jordan ’14] Mandy Wright: “Going away brings you closer to home”
Being chosen as a delegate for #acyplMENA is an incredible honor. We have been to Palestine and Israel and headed to Jordan a few days ago. My purpose here besides serving as an ambassador is to learn. What an incredible opportunity this has already been to learn about the people, politics, culture, geography, natural resources, and economics of one of the most controversial regions in the world.
Here’s one of the most important lessons I will take from this trip: All politics is local. As I try to wrap my head around the intricacies of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict, I cannot help but reflect on the conflicts I’ve struggled with in my home state of Wisconsin.
Unfortunately, as a battleground state, most of those conflicts fall along strict party lines these days. I know that conflict is not really the will of the people, just like the majority of people here desire peace.
In 10 days of near constant togetherness, our bipartisan delegation has yet to have a real disagreement. I have grown extremely fond of my travel mates, and learned a great deal from their international and national travel and political experiences. I’m grateful for their different perspectives as we’ve engaged with high-level political leaders and the opportunities to revisit issues in conversation later.
We have just two days left on this trip, and we’ve begun to approach the topic of American politics much more frequently. Obviously we will have differences of opinion, but built on the basis of our mutual respect, I am certain that we will all stay in touch and support each other in the future.
As I learn about our world and one of the most volatile regions in it, I am also learning about home and myself. All politics really is local, and it starts with each of us.
I really am grateful to have the opportunity to live out this most basic of lessons. Sometimes going far away just brings you closer to home.
Mandy Wright is a member of the Wisconsin House of Representatives