I know they say that as your age advances you are supposed to become more conservative and less likely to think radical thoughts. That you prefer the normal (whatever that is) over change. That you turn inward and think less about the world and more about your own mortality.
I’m pretty old but I guess I haven’t reached that place yet, because I still think radical thoughts and I still believe like FDR that a conservative is an individual who has two perfectly good legs and yet hasn’t learned to walk forward. I still believe the things my mother and my grandfather taught me about people and about caring. I still believe that we should feed the hungry and help people who are in need. That used to be considered a Christian value, but today we have so many people who profess to be Christian who say that if you are poor or disadvantaged you want to be that way and you are lazy and shiftless. That if you don’t have a good paying job it’s because you don’t want to work and that you prefer to be given handouts and that is the life that you want to continue to live all of your life.
But even at my advanced age I don’t believe that to be true. I know when I was poor I never turned down the chance to work and I never believed that just because I was poor that made me lazy. I knew from personal experience that being poor wasn’t something anyone aspired to. It was a condition that no one wanted to find themselves in but when they did they tried the best they could to improve themselves and they aspired to live better and I know how hard poor people worked and wanted to work.
That’s been the history of our nation when times are hard and poverty is rampant people try harder and they don’t aspire to be poor. That’s why we had the great migration during the Great Depression people went where they thought they could find work. They didn’t want their children to have the same life they were mired in they wanted a better life for themselves and for their families. That hasn’t changed today. We still have a great work ethic in this nation but it has been subverted and distorted by people who want people to believe that poor people don’t want to work and won’t work when offered.
Sure you can always find someone you can hold up to prove your point but those people are not the norm. That kind of person has always been with us but they don’t represent the poor or disadvantaged. They are the exception not the reality. If you have ever been poor you would know that it is not a situation that you want to stay in. Poor sucks and people who are poor know that to be true. It makes absolutely no sense to want to be poor and to have to depend upon the good graces of others and/or the government for your existence.
Being poor equates closely to being a serf or an indentured servant. It comes as close as anything could to being a slave. When you depend upon others for your existence you cannot always be sure that they will be there when you need them to be. And when you depend upon handouts you in effect are beholden to your benefactor whomever that might be. It isn’t something that anyone aspires to.
But, we have people who have never been there, who have lived all of their lives in the land of plenty and who don’t understand poverty or what causes it. They are often ready and willing to believe that if you are poor it is because you are lazy or you brought it upon yourself. When you have never known what it means to go hungry or wonder where your next meal is coming from it is hard to understand. I’ve been there and done that and I know it’s not a place I want to ever be again and neither do those who are now in a similar place.
Getting old isn’t easy it becomes a lesson in humility. For me it is a lesson in learning and understanding that now I have limitations that I have never had before. It can pure hell but it is also a time for reflection of what my life is and has become. I am not exactly where I thought I would be at this point in my life but I am not ashamed of who I am or what I am.
I am a good person who is flawed and human. I love and I care. I gave up trying to catch up with superman and batman a long time ago. I do what I can to make this world and my world a better place to be. I love interaction with people. I care about people. I have my opinions on a lot of subjects and as I get older I don’t mind expressing them to whomever is willing to listen. I will not go gentle into that good night. I know I’m old but I still have a lot to say and hopefully a lot of time to yet say it.
I am still a liberal thinker who believes in the innate goodness of humankind despite all of our differences and all of our many flaws. I consider myself to be a follower of that Jewish Rabbi from Nazareth, but I am also a follower of Mohandas Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.. I believe myself to be a
Christian but being of Native American ancestry I also consider myself to be spiritual and I believe in the Great Spirit and the Circle of Life. I believe in the Native American philosophy of Seven Generations.
When it comes down to it I have changed only in that my beliefs fostered and nurtured by my Mother and my grandfather are not different now they are just stronger and I understand them better than I did when I was a young radical who sang anti-war songs while at my desk serving my country as an Air Force assignments clerk sending men off to serve in Vietnam.
I guess my basic philosophy is derived from the words of one of my all-time Hall of Fame Pitchers the late great Leroy ‘Satchel’ Paige, who said, “Work like you don’t need the money, love like you’ve never been hurt, dance like nobody’s watching, and never look behind you, cause something might be gaining on you!” I still believe in hope you know “That thing with feathers that resides on the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops at all!”
After all these years I still sing radical anti-war songs (only in the shower), wear my medal on Veterans Day and love my country. I am still a man who loves life, sexy women and all of my fellow humans, every single one!