The voice mail caller accused me of being a Communist, anti-American, out-of-touch, and stupid. Worst of all, he spat out, I was an environmentalist.
Bill was furious, like hundreds of callers to Earthjustice in the last two months. Driven to call us by rabid, right-wing radio hosts and bloggers, most folks just wanted to rant about how we were driving up gas prices by opposing the obvious solution: drilling the coasts, drilling the Arctic, drilling wherever in America we can to free us from high gas prices and foreign potentates.
But, Bill, a long-haul truck driver, was different. He didn’t just want to accuse, he wanted to convince. Call me back, if you dare, he said, warning that he had just filled his truck with dozens of gallons of diesel at $5+ per gallon.
Somewhere in the middle of America, on one of the highways that stitch us together, Bill’s cell phone rang. He was so surprised, he had to pull over to answer it.
"Hello, Bill," I said.
"Didn’t think you would call," he said.
The conversation that followed is the kind that needs to go on across America, bringing really different people together in an earnest attempt to figure each other out. These are tough, tough times and we have to weather them together.
But, don’t think something magical happened between us. We could barely tolerate listening to each other, as you will find in my next posting of "Bill and I" on Monday.