The red rocks of Sedona are as beautiful as they are daunting. Up close, the steep, smooth cliffs look like an enormous vertical wall, warm to the touch on a sunny October afternoon. But that didn’t stop my 15-year-old son from trying to climb one yesterday.

I warned Aren that we were off course, but he’d already sprinted ahead, shouting something back to me about finding a shortcut. After half an hour of strenuous climbing, he reached a rock face that required climbing gear and professional training. Only then — and only reluctantly — did he agree to turn back.

I admire that. I know why he referred to the path as a shortcut; it was the only way to entice his 10-year-old sister to join him. Aren craved adventure, and he wanted to take it as far as he could. That’s my boy!

As advocates, how often do we run up against similar obstacles? If you said “every day” you’re half correct. More like every hour of every workday. People tell us we can’t — it’s a against policy, it’s not allowed, wait six to eight weeks. And we say “no.” We don’t let the mountain intimidate us. We are stronger than that.

We live in interesting times. Fringe political groups have hijacked the political center, giving comfort to corporations who want to take your money and give you nothing. The suits claim this is the way the “free market” should work, twisting the true meaning of a free market. As a result, we live in an era of the government-sanctioned Great Oligopolies, from airlines to cell phone carriers to cable TV.

These are the walls we have to scale every day. But we have the gear to do it.

Like my son, I don’t really see the walls. They are launch pads from which we can overcome the tallest hurdles and come out on top. And we will.

I have no doubt that Aren and his brother will be back someday with ropes and they’ll reach that summit. Maybe I’ll join them. Sedona is not just beautiful, but also inspiring. They see mountains but I see so much more.

Here are this week’s stories:

See you next week.

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