Sunday, July 1, 2018

I'm a 92-Year-Old Optimist Who Almost Became Depressed Thinking About the Future of My Country


I recognize how fortunate I have always been as a member of America's white middle-class. Serving my country in World War II,  I look back on a charmed life. With few unavoidable setbacks, I've had a fulfilling and satisfying life. I've doted on raising a family of four children and nine grandchildren, two "marriages" and a profession as an educator. As a school principal I've had a satisfactory income and felt richly rewarded by making a difference in young people's lives. I've lived through a Great Depression, a world war and a variety of police actions and other  world crises. Unfortunately I've seen my country make mistakes - above all its failure to provide freedom and equality for ALL citizens. Yet I have always felt that the trajectory of progress has been in an upward spiral. That a “New World,” a "promised land" has been the goal of my beloved country. That is until the past election!  Now living within two miles from the headquarters of the swamp—the White House—I found it difficult to avoid depression in my terminal years.

I'm appalled by the leadership of my country. It's inconceivable to me that my fellow country men and women have chosen a president who represents and exhibits the worst of what I've known America to aspire to be. I once thought "American exceptionalism" was a positive seeking to provide equal opportunity and freedom for all. Now the executive branch of government  projects a aura of leadership by wealth and power bordering on the fascist model. And equally frustrating is a divided second branch of government, the Congress, which is paralyzed by divisiveness putting party over principle. And I fear where the judiciary might soon take us.

The status quo seemed hopeless until I saw first hand two recent events that gave me hope for the future. Truly I see a REVOLUTION: a turning away from stale male led divisiveness by involving:
*The long ignored leadership skills of women, and
*The enthusiasm, resilience and idealism of youth as shown by youth of Parkland and Stoneman Douglas High School.

Yet in these turbulent times there are at least three other ingredients from my experience that I feel are vital for securing change.
  1. The wisdom and insights of sages, prophets and solons bringing historic perspective and advice from the past to solve new problems.
  2. Finding new or restored groups and activities to bring citizens together in constructive and meaningful ways. The malaise of separateness that exists in our country today, far exceeds anything I have seen in the past.
  3. Exposing hypocrisy and demanding truth from all segments of our society.
My lifelong optimism has been fueled by continuing to have communication with young people. I hope I might get reactions to the article and suggestions about what I/we must do further.

























I recognize how fortunate I have always been as a member of America's white middle-class. Serving my country in World War II,  I look back on a charmed life. With few unavoidable setbacks, I've had a fulfilling and satisfying life. I've doted on raising a family of four children and nine grandchildren, two "marriages" and a profession as an educator. As a school principal I've had a satisfactory income and felt richly rewarded by making a difference in young people's lives. I've lived through a Great Depression, a world war and a variety of police actions and other  world crises. Unfortunately I've seen my country make mistakes - above all its failure to provide freedom and equality for ALL citizens. Yet I have always felt that the trajectory of progress has been in an upward spiral. That a “New World,” a "promised land" has been the goal of my beloved country. That is until the past election!  Now living within two miles from the headquarters of the swamp—the White House—I found it difficult to avoid depression in my terminal years.

Yes, I'm now a 92-Year-Old Optimist Who Almost Became Depressed Thinking About the Future of My Country
I'm appalled by the leadership of my country. It's inconceivable to me that my fellow country men and women have chosen a president who represents and exhibits the worst of what I've known America to aspire to be. I once thought "American exceptionalism" was a positive seeking to provide equal opportunity and freedom for all. Now the executive branch of government  projects a aura of leadership by wealth and power bordering on the fascist model. And equally frustrating is a divided second branch of government, the Congress, which is paralyzed by divisiveness putting party over principle. And I fear where the judiciary might soon take us.

The status quo seemed hopeless until I saw first hand two recent events that gave me hope for the future. Truly I see a REVOLUTION: a turning away from stale male led divisiveness by involving:
*The long ignored leadership skills of women, and
*The enthusiasm, resilience and idealism of youth as shown by youth of Parkland and Stoneman Douglas High School.

Yet in these turbulent times there are at least three other ingredients from my experience that I feel are vital for securing change.
  1. The wisdom and insights of sages, prophets and solons bringing historic perspective and advice from the past to solve new problems.
  2. Finding new or restored groups and activities to bring citizens together in constructive and meaningful ways. The malaise of separateness that exists in our country today, far exceeds anything I have seen in the past.
  3. Exposing hypocrisy and demanding truth from all segments of our society.
My lifelong optimism has been fueled by continuing to have communication with young people. Indeed, that was enhanced by four previous AMA's! I hope this fifth attempt will continue this conversation with the youth of Reddit that has been so meaningful to me.






























Saturday, May 26, 2018

It all seems so simple....


Friday, May 25, 2018

NBA bests the NFL

With the stupidity of the owners of the NFL: clubs, it is refreshing to see the action of the San Antonio Spurs on another front: replacing scantily clad young women with "family friendly gymnastic" teams. Small, enlightened steps of progress are so important but often overlooked.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Was it not ironic hypocrisy?



That the (otherwise) meaningful and beautiful service of Meghan and Harry began with the statement to the effect, "marriage is the joining of a man and a woman" was in stark contrast with the sermon extolling "the love between two people."

If I heard it right, I'm sorry I did not join the throngs of young people who must've been tempted to tune out yet another religious service.


Thursday, May 3, 2018

Another lesson at Uber University!


It was my first trip on Uber Pool to see a notation reading, "Driver may be deaf or hard of hearing." Indeed he was totally deaf, but other than limiting my "usual" conversation, the drive went very smoothly through busy traffic. He appeared to be in his 30's, and seated next to him on the front seat, I could notice that his stylish cap read" Ethiopia". I tried to converse with him by stating that I had been to nearby Egypt!

How remarkable that I, because of my handicap in walking, was being assisted by a recent immigrant who was totally oblivious to the spoken word. I smiled at him in our mutual derision at the lady who insisted that he make a difficult turn in horrible traffic in order to take her merely one=half block closer to her designated address. I wondered what he must've thought about the American fetish for ease and service.

How I wish I could have the opportunity to converse with him to learn more about his possible trials or tribulations in entering our country. How I wish I could show that I would like to be his friend. But at least I luckily remembered that giving him my business card might be some evidence of friendship.

Monday, April 23, 2018

A remarkable new experience at 92!


Oh  I'd been to many concerts before, hundreds, maybe thousands if you count organ concerts at church. But I never had the almost out of body experience as I did recently at the Concert Hall of the Kennedy Center in Washington DC. I was literally "blown away" in a number of ways.

Most of my concert going has been in the nosebleed section where the sounds are blended and somewhat muted. From there,looking over a sea of patrons, we viewed the cooperative effort of anonymous and almost faceless performers. This time, however, Linda managed to get tickets that were not only in the Center Section, but were in the Second Row!

From the beginning of Bach;s Fugue for Strings I knew I was in a different world. As the violins began over here, there were violas over there and then they were joined by the cellos in the back. I could see the intensity of individual players and the effort exerted to fly their fingers over the strings and fling their bows in unison at their instruments. It was Stereo on Steroids live and in person!

But it only got better! As Leila Josefowicz played Stravinsky's Violin Concerto in F Minor just 15 feet from me, I saw unmitigated genius and dexterity at work.  Such concentration and intensity in blending mind, body and spirit!  She appeared to be dancing with her violin as her partner.

After the intermission we had the opportunity to concentrate on conductor Gianandres Noseda's and his magic fingers. Stravinsky's Symphonies of Wind Instruments was apparently performed by flutes, oboes, clarinets, bassoons, horns, trumpets, trombones, and a tuba. We couldn't tell because they were all hidden from us by the vacated chairs and music stands of the string section.  Truthfully to me, the music seemed to emanate from the fingers of the Conductor as he waved in various directions. As he turned to the audience to bow we could see the perspiration streaming from his face, and I was particularly warmed as, in response to my loud, "Bravado", he looked directly in my eyes in apparent appreciation.

But the climactic "climax" came with Mozart's Symphony Number 39 in E Flat Major. It was a chance for me to close my eyes and revel in beauty and contemplation. I thought of the effort and diligence of the performers and of the enjoyment  I shared with so many others.

But there was one added thing that drew my attention as I left my prized second row seat. I felt the need to greet more warmly a person in the first row. She was remaining until someone could escort her out. She was blind! How striking to learn from  our conversation that she had enjoyed the concert as much as I.

Yet another new/old experience

How thrilling on Easter Sunday to see once again Jesus Christ, Superstar; But in a totally different format and style on television. And for the first time three generations viewing it. The original performance heard by my young family so many years ago was so very meaningful to us. It was their Hamilton! They memorized every word. And here it was again bringing tears to us in a new exciting format.

I'm not sure though that I could tolerate anyone messing with 
Menotti's
Amahl and the Night Visitors




Monday, April 9, 2018

That March 25th Rant was my last! But.............................




You might recall that in it:

I promised to enlarge on several of the items that give me hope. And here I begin

    Advice for young people:
  • While I have thrilled to see their vigorous response to the gun issue, I sincerely hope that they not only have the conviction, courage and endurance to follow through, but they must realize that they not be a "single issue constituency".
  • And while I know I run the risk of being turned off and considered an, "Old fuddy-duddy" (or something much worse) for giving advice to young people. I'm still going to suggest a first area for their consideration.  And there may well be more to come.
The environment:

For 20 years or more. I've done my darnedest (that's as close as I can come to swearing on the printed page) to understand and do something about geting more than 10 states have a bottle refund deposit law. From personal experience in several states, from research and from the example of almost every developed country in the world but ours, it has been a boon to improving the environment. It's well-known that we have failed to extended such laws to other states primarily because of the lobbying of the bottle industry.
From my experience with young people I know full well that the environment is (and should be) a major concern of theirs. It also appears to me that they are among the greatest users of disposable plastic, glass, and any other kind of container. Thus I would challenge them to look at the issues that are involved ranging from personal choice to governmental issues and lobbying to determine an appropriate course for our nation as a whole to join in this environmentally sound the practice. There are times and conditions that necessitate dramatic events. The gun protest was one. The ingenuity of youth can find many ways to protect the environment. Perhaps it's time for boycotts of products or study and debate groups looking at the issues that would be involved in individual states or nationwide.