Fears and Years

March 4, 2013 at 9:45 am (Uncategorized)

It is a gorgeous (albeit cold) morning here in Camas, Washington. Cold being a relative term of course–my Idaho friends would probably consider this rather balmy. But it is a lovely morning to drink some tea, read the paper, and try to kick the last of this cold that has been nagging me for the past several days.

It’s always a bit of an odd feeling when you’ve slept for almost 12 hours but it’s 8am. Puts your whole schedule off. I’m going to feel like it’s later than it actually is all day.

So, I’ve been doing this vegetarian thing again for a little while now and it’s been going pretty well so far–losing weight and eating less and healthier. I was eating the other day and doing that thing where you have an imaginary conversation in your head with someone just in case they decide to criticize you. I was telling them how I’m eating vegetarian to be healthier, and they were talking about protein and this and that and how it wasn’t really healthy, and I was trying to convince them that there are multiple dietary plans one can be on and still get a balanced diet. And at one point I realize that I will never convince this person to see things my way. It makes me sad but I’m not entirely surprised.

All of a sudden it struck me that I am afraid of getting old (this person was old that I was having the conversation with). Which is a weird realization to have during an imaginary conversation, but there I was. I realized what it was in my mind to become old, and it terrified me.  I think what I fear most about getting old is ceasing my search for the truth. I am afraid that inertia will take over and I will stop looking towards what is actually correct and settling into a comfortable ignorance of the facts. Many of you have probably heard Winston Churchill’s famous quote “Any man who is under 30, and is not a liberal, has not heart; and any man who is over 30, and is not a conservative, has no brains.” I love that quote for its reflection of human nature–not because I agree with it. We do in fact get more set in our ways as we get older–and that is terrifying. It means that truth has nothing to do with it. How frightening (and lazy) is it to eventually just keep on believing what you believe because asking questions can be tiring? I think many people do it. I think many people get lazy at a young age, too. It afflicts liberals and conservatives alike (although it is more prevalent in conservatism simply because of the nature of conservatism). I have never been, nor do I ever hope to be, an ideologue. I can reconcile my liberalism with pragmatism, and I can also understand that sometimes conservatives can have excellent ideas. We can find common ground and compromise. As you get older, though, it seems to me that many people have a harder time doing that. Not a comforting notion when you consider the age of many of our elected officials.

I talked a bit in yesterday’s post about how people change, and how it is unpredictable. I want to say that I will never stop questioning, but it’s so easy to become complacent. So it scares me. It’s something that you have to stay vigilant about at all times. It also worries me that so many people my own age are so apathetic. They can’t take 10 minutes a day away from their smart phones (or hell, even stay on their phones) to read up a little about current politics and stay informed. They can’t be bothered to write or call their representatives, or even vote. I work in politics, and I am consistently 15-30 years younger than anyone else in the room. Young people (ages 18-30) do not understand the power that we have. Politicians are afraid of us, because we can flip the entire game around. You don’t like partisan hacks in office? Vote for moderates. Vote for people who will compromise. Our generation could undo all of the polarization in a single election. It just takes getting informed. But we’re lazy. So if you’re reading this, stop being lazy. Stop seeing the world in black and white. So I guess I’m not being afraid of being old, I’m afraid of not staying young at heart forever. Some of us are already all wrinkly on the inside. It’s not too late to undo it, but it takes a conscious effort.

If you want to know more about politics or how to get involved, I can certainly try to be as helpful as possible. I will endeavor to be unbiased, and then I’ll set you on your own path so you can figure things out for yourself. I don’t care if you’re a Republican, Democrat, or anything else. The only way things will get better is if you set aside a little bit of your time to be a citizen of this fantastic country. Be an American. Get involved. Anything less means taking your citizenship for granted.

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