Stranger in a Strange Land

Dying of old age is not the same for everyone. Some are taken by diseases, some fast and ruthless, others that slowly sap away the will to live. I suppose you could include the process of aging into that latter category. For a long time, I’ve thought that for many of us, the feeling that we don’t recognize the world about us anymore is a prime contributor to that loss of will. That’s one of the reasons that I have worked hard to maintain a positive outlook on life in spite of my natural tendency to be cynical. a tendency that has earned me the nickname Bud Dark in certain circles. And that’s why the world I see around me right now scares me.

I have always considered myself a patriot and regarded American democracy as a light in the world. Oh, yes, I have always known it has flaws … any organization populated by a species as flawed as Homo Sapiens is going to have flaws … so I have always spoken up about injustices, voted for those who I thought would make things better and supported causes like civil rights. I knew there were some bad people out there and some misinformed ones, too, but I always thought most of our citizenry wanted us to live up to the ideals of our nation as written down in the Declaration of Independence and The Constitution. I believed that our politicians, in spite of diverse and occasionally deranged views, wanted the same thing. I thought as a nation we could overcome any crisis. But now, I am not so sure.

As I sit here at my keyboard, my home state of Utah is achieving it’s highest daily coronavirus case count to date. Our nation is losing a war to a submicroscopic entity without intelligence but with an extraordinary ability to multiply and spread among hosts. Our citizenry seems to have become bored with preventative measures … we invite it’s spread by gathering in large groups without masks or social distancing. Our president helps out by scheduling a political rally in a current virus hotspot and 19,000 plus people join in on the side of the virus. If the coronavirus had a brain and could talk it would be cheering.

In response to a disgraceful video of the murder of a black man by a white policeman, protests have properly sprung up across the country and a movement. Black Lives Matter, has dominated the news. As a white guy who attended college in a mixed race fraternity during the civil rights era, I’d have hoped that it would be self evident that Black Lives Matter by now but it’s not. That I thought things were better than they are is an example of White Privilege, albeit a mild one. Several people actually posted a note on Facebook that claimed 99,95% of the people you meet are color blind and don’t have a racist bone in their body. Talk about White Privilege … holy shit! Most studies, by the way, show that about half of Americans are racially biased in some ways. I am broken-hearted that we have progressed so little since the days of Martin Luther King and a little ashamed that I thought we’d come farther. It is indeed time that systematic racism in police departments is eliminated. But as much as Black Lives Matter, I am disgusted by violence and looting posing as protest. Anger is no excuse. To my mind, that opinion is not White Privilege talking but moral common sense. I believe Dr. King said the same thing (more eloquently).

Then there is our government, which turns these crises into an opportunity to grandstand while citizens die, led by our Grandstander-in-Chief, Donald

Trump. His mean-spiritedness, lack of compassion and instinctive tendency to divide us in the name of his own reelection scare me … but not as much as how he seems to be able to bring out the same in his followers, some of whom are people I know and respect. As a somewhat conservative moderate, it’s taken me a while to reach this position but here I am … Donald Trump is dangerous to the future of the USA. But perhaps scarier are the Republicans in the House and Senate who enable him as he trashes true conservatism in order to stay in power. They are simply cowards. I’d like to say the Democrats offer a viable alternative but between enabling their own far left voices like Bernie Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib and their compulsion to adopt far-left policies that galvanize Trump supporters and turn off moderates like me, they play right into Donald Trumps plans. Sigh.

So here I am, feeling like a Stranger in a Strange Land, just like Valentine Michael Smith in the 1961 science fiction novel of the same name by American author Robert A. Heinlein. But don’t worry, I’m not going to cash in my chips yet. Fortunately at 76, I’ve got lots of things make life worthwhile as long as I can avoid being dragged into the daily news and worrying about the future of my country. Maybe that’s another symptom of White Privilege, But I sure hope things look brighter by the time I’m 86.

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8 Comments on “Stranger in a Strange Land”

  1. What a great post. I think people from both sides should read this and figure out some things.

  2. barrythewiz Says:

    Reblogged this on Words from The Wiz and commented:
    Great post by my front OlderEyes.

  3. barrythewiz Says:

    Right on, my friend. We’ve talked about this enough for you to know we are perfectly aligned on this. Beautifully written, and incredibly cogent.

    • oldereyes Says:

      I just needed to get it written … it has been percolating in my head for days. Thank you for the complement …. it means a lot. When I posted I knew it said exactly what I wanted to say.

  4. barryh Says:

    Great post. I agree with you about Trump and the weak Republicans who support him. What I don’t get, from a European perspective, is what’s so scary about the so-called ‘far left’. They don’t seem so far left from, say, a Scandinavian perspective – and the Scandi countries are surely among the most civilized on the planet…

    • oldereyes Says:

      Thank you for your comment and perspective. I was raised by a Dad who said Social Security was socialism and socialism is communism. It is sometimes hard to shake your own roots. For what it’s worth, I;m pretty liberal on social issues but conservative on fiscal. I don’t see how we pay for some of the Democratic schemes. Maybe i should do some reading about Sweden. For what it’s, I’ll vote for anyone over Trump

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