Here We Are

soapboxpileI have been reminded lately that perhaps I am too old to have a legitimate opinion regarding the state of our nation. Well, I am fine with this perspective coming from young people. I once held the same opinion regarding my own parents, grandparents, teachers and anyone over the age of thirty (30). Then, as I approached the age of thirty (30) I realized I was very wrong headed, at that age I was still very naive about the world, about so many things despite my place in it and my life up to that point. So now at the ripe old age of 61.5, I am perfectly fine if some young thing wants to tell me I don’t know shit, it is all good. The funny thing about this assessment of my knowledge and experience is this (Y=Yes, N=No, M=Maybe):

Experience Me Them
Been hungry and homeless Y N
Put myself through school twice Y N
Supported myself for forty-seven years Y N
Raised Children Y N
Fostered abused children Y N
Been gainfully employed Y M
Been unemployed with no fall back Y M
Been broke and couldn’t pay my bills Y M
Made money and lost it Y N
Been discriminated against due to my (Gender, Race, Orientation) Y M
Voted in eleven Presidential elections Y N
Traveled the world Y N
Lived without instant gratification and social media Y N
Lived outside of the country Y M
Survived violence Y M
Volunteered my time to social causes Y M
Read books about the world Y M
Talked to people who are not like me Y N
Remember Vietnam Y N
Remember 9/11 Y M
Had living relatives who were victims of the Holocaust Y N
Was alive when miscegenation was still illegal in the United States Y N

I could actually go on and on with the list above. It is simply a way of showing how our experience matters. How the visceral parts of our brains absorb the world around us, what we see, hear and do becomes a part of who we are and how we interact with the world and those that inhabit it. Without experience, we tend to ignore its very real value and think only terms of self. Without experience we focus on our own narrow views, wants and desires, disregarding the rest of the world and what the rest of humanity might know and need. Thus, by the reasoning of the young those who reach the age of +50, do not have a legitimate right to a say in the political state, the world is moving on without them.

Now we do have some young firebrands today and they have some hefty ideas about where the nation should be going. Setting at their head is an old dog, leading with his brand of Social Democracy and his own ideas of what is going to lead this nation to ‘prosperity’ and a new better living for all. The problem with all these ‘new’ ideas is they are unsupportable in a nation of three hundred and twenty-seven million (327,200,000) with a current National Debt of $22,246,547,690,900 ($22 Trillion) and rising every minute (US Debt Clock). These young ones, with their ideas of what is ‘right’ and what is ‘good’ have zero sense of history and apparently zero understanding of the real economy. I don’t doubt their sincerity, only their ability to process information in a meaningful way that makes sense to and for all of us. Lets just take two of their favorites, Health Care and Climate.

Here is my first problem with the direction of these young and old firebrands:

  • What works in Sweden (Population 10.2 million) will not necessarily work here.
  • What works in Canada (Population 37.3 million) will not necessarily work here, though with their public / private solution it is a better option.

Why? There is an enormous difference in the size of our populations. Nevermind, the difference in the make-up of our citizens. Pick any of the other nations these young ones compare us to, the same will apply. The only countries with larger populations than ours, India and China face similar challenges to ours, how to provide accessible medical care to their massive populations without incurring even more debt. Each time someone says to me Healthcare is a right, I agree with the caveat; how do you intend to pay for this right? I only want to know the answer to this question, I want to know that this has been thoroughly considered.

Now let’s take on the issue of Climate, those of us who have been on this earth for more than a couple of short decades might remember the rivers burning, the beaches as unusable and more than a few truly catastrophic oil spills. Some of us might remember the creation of the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) by President Richard Nixon in December 1970 by Executive Order. These young firebrands might not know our

oilslicksurroundsthestatueoflibertyinnewyorkharborfromthesitesexhibitionforotherimagesinthis-nara-553862

New York Oil Slick, 1969

generation passed the Clean Water Act, the Toxic Substances Control Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act and amended the Solid Waste Disposal Act. All of this and more was part of a much bigger push to make this nation safer and more environmentally aware. We were not unaware; we did not ignore the warning signs or the science even back then. It is only in recent years we have gone backwards in our acceptance of science in favor of dollars.

So yes, my old and unaware self might not know ‘shit’, but I know history and have a fair bit of experience and knowledge under my belt after all these many years. I know we have a true crisis on our hands with a President unfit to serve and a GOP enabling his every whim and lunacy. We have a Democratic Party who helped put him there once, not just at the polls but inside the black-and-white-trumpparty. I know if Democrats don’t stop with their purity tests, their inability to come together on key policy issues that fit the majority and the middle we will put this lunatic into the White House for another four years and if that happens this nation will be perhaps irretrievably lost. I know the firebrands are fun to watch, even have some interesting ideas but they are not the whole fabric rather they are the sparkly fringe around the edge and we need to calm them down and stop giving them so much of the attention they crave.

What else do I know? I know we currently have twenty (20) candidates running for the Democratic Nomination for President of the United States. Do you know who they are all are? What their platforms are? What differentiates them from each other? What qualifies them or for that matter disqualifies them? I know some people are already picking the horses they want to ride to the White House and tearing down the rest, not me. I want to hear them all in debates. I want to know who they are and listen to them talk about the issues. I want to investigate them. I don’t want to hear about their transgressions of thirty years ago, I do believe as humans we evolve. God knows I wouldn’t want anyone digging up my dirt from my thirties or worse, my twenties.

PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY FIVETHIRTYEIGHT / GETTY IMAGES

The candidates – do you know their names

I know there a couple of the candidates I can drop from consideration without pause. They are entirely unqualified for the office and I have zero understanding of why they would throw their names in the ring except for personal ego.

Unlike 2016 I do not want the media picking my candidate and I don’t want super delegates telling me who the candidate is before I have an opportunity to cast my vote. Let me choose the one I believe has the best solutions, the best policies, the best opportunity to beat Donald Trump. I might not know shit but there is one thing I do know, we will not beat this President at the polls with purity tests and idiotic unsupported ‘ideals’ that appeal to a small but loud number of the electorate. If we don’t dv1954038get those who left the tent in 2016 to come home we are lost as a nation and we may never be found again.  So to all of us, we need to get a grip. We need to make certain we don’t toss out the old folks or the new ones. We need to make certain we grab the middle hard, we need to stop playing games with Race, Gender and all the other special cards we sometimes pander to. Let’s play hard and let’s play for keeps. This is our one and only chance to win the heart and soul of the real America, the one that counts, the one that includes every last one of us.

Comments

  1. What fool told you, of all people, you were “too old to have a legitimate opinion”?! With age comes experience and (generally) knowledge. You’ve been through a lot in life, Val, and obviously know a thing or two. We both do, as do most people in our age group. I remind people I’m old enough to remember Watergate, for example, and understand how serious it was. You have every right to voice your opinion about your environment, Val, which is damn sure legitimate and valuable in this increasingly chaotic world!

    • Oh my, you mean to tell me you haven’t heard that one yet? I hear it fairly regularly these days when my opinion doesn’t jive with the ice cream of the day. I also remind them I am old enough to remember Watergate, Vietnam, the impeachment of Bill and a host of other things that tore this nation up.

  2. Experience Val is everything. and keep speaking from your heart, I hear you. and more and more in the world need to find their voices..
    Love to you and good to see your post Val.. ❤

  3. Right on, Val! Some changes can be addressed later, but right now the Democratic Party needs to pull together in unity and for the good of the country to win back the White House. New voices are good but must be tempered with what is realistic. Excellent post!

  4. Wow … you covered a lot of ground. 1) When people ask me if I would like to be __ age again, my answer is always the same – “To be that stupid again? No.” 2) The Dems are positioning themselves to miss another slam dunk.

  5. I may have only a half or so the number of “Y”‘s on my version of your questionnaire (though I might have a couple you don’t have :), but I think your opinion is just as important as some young firebrand’s – and way more accurate on the matter of current unhealthy obsession with ideological purity.
    However, I don’t really follow the logic behind the argument that something working in a smaller country will not work here because the US is much larger – there has to be an actual specific reason why that something wouldn’t work – such as, mass transit system that works in NYC wouldn’t work in North Dakota because low population density would make it unpractical there. But with healthcare, I really see no such reason – Americans are not anatomically different from Canadians, aren’t prone to additional American-only diseases (except maybe an obsession with guns), and American doctors aren’t following drastically different concept of medical care. The US already covers 44 million people with Medicare – and these are the people who are older and therefore are probably sicker on average – and more expensive to cover – than the rest of the population. So we’ve already got the hardest part covered, and that’s already almost as much as the combined population of Sweden and Canada.
    But even if there really is something about the size of the population that makes the government coverage hard to implement, one option would be to split the country into smaller, say, Sweden-sized, or even smaller lots (by states, or regions, counties, or zip code blocks) and have the existing private companies bid on exclusive 3-5 year contracts to provide health coverage for everyone in the lot, and one’s driver’s license or any other ID with an address would basically work as a health insurance card.

    • There you have it X. How to implement and how to pay for it without breaking the bank. How to implement it successfully. The Canadian model might work which actually has a private / public shared model and is regional. Our biggest challenge? Cost models, how much to tax? Who and how? The current people talking about the ‘right’ to healthcare are not talking about the cost to the individual in the form of taxes to cover every single person in this nation. It isn’t free.

      • I’ll tell you this – the total cost of my family’s health insurance (just the premiums, without any out-of-pocket costs, but including the employer’s cost) is more than the federal tax, state tax, and property tax, combined. It’s really expensive, and we’re already paying for it. And the price is also pretty regressive, since the insurance price isn’t going up with income. So it could be set up like Social Security – a fixed additional percentage tax up to a certain amount, or a just an increase in everyone’s tax rates – figuring out by how much is probably the easiest part of that.

        • Agreed X. The funny thing about this one? Is no single group has figured it out yet. I am not saying it can’t be done, I am saying it hasn’t been done. People are strange, especially the American people. When you say to them the cost of universal healthcare will be 25%, what do you think they will do? Do you think they will calculate what they are paying today?

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