Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Personal Politics: the liberal conservative

the It has been suggested to me by a very dear friend that I consider writing separate blogs, one about the personal stuff, and one about the politico-economic world that always encroaches upon my thining. I understand the idea, and appreciate its intent: two blogs means staying focused on one issue or story at a time, and it could also mean having more people get interested in following me. I am dismal at recruiting followers. I'm like Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams: if I post it, they will read.

Not true, said the wise man to the child.

But I am not quite certain that writing two blogs or alternating or not mixing personal with opinion is what I want to do. I will think on it. For me, right now, however, adding personal information serves to illustrate the points I try to make, to underscore them. I have lived 62 years so far, which means I have witnessed quite a bit of history. I am a valuable resource, not necessarily for my wisdom (I have known 17 year olds who display more wisdom than I ever did), but for my memory, which is still pretty sharp. I remember things. I remember where I was when JFK was shot, what I was doing and how I felt. I remember what Ronald Reagan's hair looked like six inches away from my own face as I held a fairly one-sided conversation with the then governor of California. I remember running from dorm to dorm the night of the very first draft lottery, which I won by losing so badly the draft board would have to draft dead people before they got to my number. And that was just the Sixties.

Fortunately, I didn't do drugs, so my memory is not clouded. At least, I don't remember taking drugs.

I remember being in love, being rejected, pining, crying, writing bad poetry about it all (I still have most of the poems tucked away -- they are appalling). I remember being raised to oppose war and be suspicious of all organizations at a tender age by a man who remembered what it was like to live in a country occupied by the brutal armies of another. To this day I oppose war and hold anyone in a position of leadership suspect. It is who I am, and how I choose to be. If that makes me a radical, so be it. I like to think of myself as a liberal conservative -- give me the old ways as long as everybody is taken care of; give me less government but make sure what government there is, efficiently does its job.

I have great fondness for the past, I always have. I am also heavily invested in the future, with my grandson lurking about the place, growing as I watch him. I have learned a few things I can share with him, step by step, and I have learned some things I will not bshare until the moment is right, when he is older and the cold realities of the world confront him, as they will. It's an idyllic time right now, a time when he can enjoy the hell out of playing with a cousin his age for two days this summer. His memories are starting to build their foundation for his life, and I get to witness that.

I keep thinking how simple things are, or ought to be. I keep thinking that the only thing that matters are the people around you. All the rest is just trappings, the things we want and the things we think we want, and as the cliche goes, you can't take it with you. So what matters is what you leave behind you, for those who will follow: strong values, clear concepts, and lots and lots of love.

I write my blogs to help define my values and my concepts, and express my love. Sometimes they overlap, and that's just fine with me.

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