Indulge me in a story from my youth, if you will, as my roundabout way of emphasizing how important the resurgence of travel is right now.
I’m probably dating myself here, but when I was a boy, one of the big things during nice weather was for my parents to go “stoop sitting.” I’m not quite sure if this was just a New York phenomenon or what, but a couple of generations ago, it was commonplace for adults to gather on somebody’s stoop in the front of their respective house while the kids played whiffle ball or rode their bikes in the street in front of them.
Sometimes, the gossip was so good the stoop-sitting would spill over into a neighbor’s adjacent stoop.
One summer, when I was 11 and feeling my oats, I decided to show my friends how cool and grown-up I was. My mother was sitting on the stoop with her friends, and she asked me to run inside our house and get her something.
“Or,” I said, full of equal parts hubris and smarminess, “you could get off your butt and get it yourself.”
Unbeknownst to me, standing right behind me with a full view and an earful was my father, a man who was not only old-school Italian but was also a prison guard. Discipline was his middle name.
I expected a spanking. This was, after all, a different era 40+ years ago.
Instead, my father hurt me more that night, Tuesday, July 15, 1975, than any spanking could have done. I was sent to bed, and my punishment was I could not watch baseball’s All-Star Game that night.
My father was ahead of his time. He knew taking away the thing I loved most – baseball – would be a far more powerful message.
I was reminded of that when I read the story of Richard Barnett, one of the most high-profile people who stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6 and had his photo taken sitting at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s desk.
He was arrested and has been on house confinement, though restrictions were loosened in April. But when he wanted to travel more than 50 miles from his house, a federal judge said, “No.”
Ostensibly, it was a business trip. Barnett lost his main job in the aftermath of the insurrection and now buys classic cars before turning them around and selling them at a profit. He wanted to go to a car show, but his request was denied.
That’s how vital this whole idea of a travel resurgence really is. I’m not saying the judge’s decision was right or wrong – there were other issues, such as how Barnett would be supervised on the trip and whether or not he can find gainful employment without having to travel 50 miles from his home.
But now travel is being used as a punitive measure. Again, I am not here to argue the merits of whether that’s right or wrong, but I can tell you that having something taken away that you absolutely love is harsh.
And it’s coming at a moment in time when, frankly, we have all just been released from the metaphorical shackles that took away travel for the better part of a year. That’s what the pandemic did. It punished us and took away one of the few things we can all say we love, in addition to being with family and friends or being able to practice our faith.
I can’t sit here in good faith and tell you that this will become a trend. Prohibiting travel as a flight risk for alleged criminals has always been a thing, of course. But using it as a deterrent is relatively new.
I can tell you this, though – I never said another cross word to my mother in the last 46 years.
Originally Appeared On: https://www.travelpulse.com/opinions/column/heres-how-important-travel-is-right-now.html