I wrote "Lessons From Santiago" initially as a (relatively) feel-good episode about the protestor who sprayed solution and wiped my eyes with a cloth. As should be obvious, the episode was intended for release much, much later in the season. It was designed as the 25th episode.
But then the world did what the world does from time to time: it changed. I watched from Canada as American citizens smashed the windows of the Capitol Building and chanted for the head of our Vice President. There isn't really a more potent symbol of the collapse of our collective faith in institutions than smashing the windows of the Capitol Building, is there?
Here's the thing: Baggage Claim isn't and won't be a political podcast, and this episode really isn't either. It's what every single episode of Baggage Claim will ever be about, from now until the end of time: it's about people. It's about empathy and belief in humans. It's about faith in the core decency of our fellow world citizens. It's about what happens when people find themselves in difficult situations. It's about how people respond to calamity, and why strangers step up to help bumbling tourists when they need it.
That said, I respect that a certain segment of listeners use Baggage Claim as a version of escapism: it's 15 minutes away from ordinary life, stuck in a bathroom with Will somewhere in Colombia. I get that. And, for coming up short on that this week, I apologize. I had this episode that perfectly encapsulates this moment in American history, and it felt irresponsible not to release it now.