...You Will Not Be Here in the 22nd Century
There are some advantages of growing old. The obvious advantage is that you are still alive and therefore growing. If you were not growing old, you would be dead. For much of my adult life, I have had the goal of outliving George Burns who reached 100-years. I have less than 29-years to be able to beat him in the area of longevity. Having said that, half dozen years ago, I danced with death twice but won. Therefore, it seems to me that the cards dealt me for reaching 100 are not stacked in my favor. In addition, after exercising my entire life, I have a slight high blood problem that needs to be controlled with a little white pill.
Years prior to having a blood pressure issue, I went to Dr. Marchand, my cardiologist, just to check my heart. He asked me then about my cardiovascular program. He asked a person who had been gung-ho about exercise since running cross-country in high school and college. I told him that I exercised daily for 30-minutes, and I am able to get my heart rate up to 80% of my heart's capacity for 20-minutes during my daily program.
My program did not enthrall Dr. Marchand. He wanted me to exercise for 45-minutes every day. The issue of pushing the rate up to 80% of its capacity was not important. What was important to him was my exercising for 45-minutes every day. I trust him and have not worried about the 80% capacity target point for years. Nonetheless, I do exercise 45-minutes daily. I ride a bike around the lake in my subdivision twice and can do so in just under an hour. Today, as I am writing this essay, I just put my kayak into the lake and will add that to my regimen tomorrow. That will add a half hour to my daily workout. Talk about commitment to a strong heart. In spite of my exercise routine, a couple years ago, my blood pressure started to increase. I take a small white pill and am fine.
In addition, I eat fairly well and take the vitamins and drugs recommended to me by my internist and my cardiologist. I will work hard at my overall goal of reaching the 100-year milestone...against the odds. However, what is my alternative? If I do not, vegetating until I go belly-up is not a goal nor the way I wish to live my next several decades.
Since I have taught Chinese philosophies and religions for years, have traveled in China, and have taught a class there on one of my trips, I have a great reverence for the Chinese. Visit my home sometime, and you will find walls covered with large photos taken on all my overseas trips. Many of the photos are from China. Go into every room, and you will some artifact or souvenir from China. If you go to Wolverton Mountain and type into the search box, China, you will find over 100-articles, 4-interviews, and thousands of photos.
Have I made my case for my love and interest in China...excluding the Chinese government since WWII and the invasion of Tibet in the early 50s? Having said that, one of the things that impresses me most about the Chinese is their reverence for their older population. In the States, we write off the elderly as merely a burden to their younger generation.
In China, the elderly get great respect, in part, because they have gone down the road of life for many years traveling life's journey. This results in being wise due to years of learning and experiences. The Chinese look to the older population for insight. That is the advantage of growing old...you see things differently. You are wiser.
This respect for the elderly is not a philosophical mindset for most Americans. We tend to write off learning from those with years of experience. We all too often are naÏve and miss a message of the enlightenment that the older generation possesses. The Chinese get that message; in America, we do not.
Having traveled in about 4-dozen countries all over the world since graduate school 45-years ago, I understand the priceless learning experience that overseas travel gives a person. Several months ago during winter break from teaching, I spent almost a month in Myanmar/Burma. Even though my life has been filled with overseas traveling and teaching, I finally saw the light in Myanmar.
I had a regular checkup with Dr. Marchand about a week after returning from Myanmar. While my heart is fine and the little white pill is working. However, he was able to put words onto my feelings that I felt while in Myanmar and still have months after the experience. In a half century of traveling, I have enjoyed every country to which I have been. However, this trip was radically different. I changed. The person who went there is not the same person that I am today.
Go to my webpage and look at Critical Issues on the right side of the page. Scroll down until On Seeing the Light and click on that link. Read the introduction and the first article regarding Carl Sagan. At least, you will understand my experience.
While I was wound up back in the 60s during the civil rights movement, 2014 and hopefully for the rest of my life, I will continue to be even more wound up than back when in college and graduate school. In both time periods, I knew that things would change. During the 60s, I knew we would change laws in America at the national level to address overt racism. In 2014, I am optimistic about Myanmar and the necessary changes that they must be addressed as an emerging country in Southeast Asia.
Those transformative times a half century ago and the present were and are exciting times for me personally. Nonetheless back in the 60s, I did not see things as clearly as I do now. Change was not easy in the States nor will it be easy in Myanmar. America is changing slowly today due to conservatives in Washington and nationally. The conservatives, tea party, and the birthers are facing a very clear choice. They will need to get with it or America will pass them by.
The conservatives are wrong. Period. Go to Google and typed in the words, conservative, and this is the definition of a conservative that first pops up from some other 37,200,000 other sites:
A conservative wants to maintain the traditional values and beliefs of the past. I do not get it. The conservatives have dissed the liberals for being avant-garde. However, they take pride in holding onto the past as if anything in the conservative past was of value.
Let us look at some of the issues swirling around Washington and in every home and workplace beyond the beltway in Washington. Why do they rally around the past...especially since the past was not a great beacon of anything that contains enlightenment or progress. Look at what the conservatives wish to maintain:
Sexism. If you want some examples of maintaining the past beliefs and standards, look sexism. Todd Akin ran against the incumbent, Senator Claire McCaskill, in Missouri. Forrest Gump would have said after Akin's explanation, "Stupid is as stupid does."
Do not write off Akin as some nutcase. Loads of other conservatives have said similar nonsense on this very issue.
Now, Stephen Colbert says the same thing...from a satirical vantage point. He addresses rape and sexism in general. In fact, he shares some advice with republicans who are running for elected office.
Sexism is wrong morally, and it is wrong politically. More women vote than men do. If you do not care about the moral/ethical issue, the conservatives at cutting out a majority of American voters. While I write this, I can hear Forrest Gump muttering again, "Stupid is as stupid does."
Racism. Conservatives again are cutting out a large number of the population. People of color, black or brown, make up about 25% of the American population. Again, aside from it being morally wrong to buy into racism, the conservatives are dissing a large chuck of Americans by many attempts to discriminate such as voter suppression. The conservatives attempted to suppress the vote in the South prior to the 60s. That was one of the main reasons for the civil rights movement.
When I do not fully understand something, I will say so. I do not lie or bs. What I do not fully understand is why I am so motivated and driven to write about the conservatives. Back in the 60s, every person in the civil rights movement knew that change was inevitable. The naissance of the civil rights movement occurred in late 1955 with Rosa Parks, and, within exactly a decade, the Voting Rights Act was passed. We were not going to change the racists, but we were going to change America. We made a radical change in America. However, we still need to work to further the issue of equality.
Income inequality. We live in a country ruled by those who make up financially 1-5% of the population. This rule is called in political science...an oligarchy. They make more money annually while the rest of the 95% essentially remain stuck.
Equal pay. In spite of the fact that the first bill that Obama signed in 2009 after becoming president was called the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, women still make on average about $.77 to every dollar a man makes even though they both have the same experience, education, and training.
Global warming. Opponents of global warming make about the same sense as Ptolemy notion of a geocentric or earth centered solar system.
Science as we know actually began with Galileo and his notion that we live in a heliocentric solar system and not a geocentric one. The alternative was the Ptolemy notion an earth centered solar system.
NASA has a breathtaking link showing the melting of the North Pole. Watch it at the Climate Time Machine. Still many believe that the earth is not warming. Again, the political right disses this notion.
Healthcare reform. Go this article, which I wrote in posted on 8/23/09. Obama signed the Affordable Care Act on 3/23/10 exactly seven months later. You can also go to Obamacare on my website for a dozen additional articles about this topic.
Having written about Obamacare and discussed in my classes, let us watch this video for a couple of minutes...it says it all. And what do the conservatives have to say? They will talk a lot, but they do not have a problem by which they can keep children within their family plans until 26, insure the millions without affordable healthcare, cover preexisting conditions, and equalize the costs of insurance between men and women.
Here is a video in which Obama Announces New Health Care Numbers.
One of the advantages of growing old is that having been around a long time, you have seen a great deal. Another advantage is that even if I make it to January 20, 2043, there is now way that I will get to the 22nd century. Unless America wises up regarding voting for the tea party, the birther, and the radical right, none of them will also make it to 2100. However, their children or their grandchildren will. If you are conservative, do you for a nanosecond want your children or grandchildren to be in a conservative world...assuming that the earth exists? I do not. I have two grandchildren, Jack and Owen, that could make it to 2100.
Ayanna, my granddaughter, is finishing her first year in college. If will be a bit more problematic for her to get to 2100. She would be 105. However, I am trying to get to 100. What's another 5-years?
These next two photos are at Ayanna's graduation party a year ago.
Visit the On Seeing the Light page to read more about this topic.
Visit the Obamacare page to read more about this topic.
Visit the Stupid is As Stupid Does page to read more about this topic.