Feeling old, slow, painfully aware of arthritis and the need to retire while I can still enjoy life, I’m learning that the things that keep me fired up or worked up are not unhealthy nor as dangerous as dealing with the bureaucracy full time every week.
I will retire within the next 18 months and anticipate that rigid, inflexible, arbitrary and self-promoting government work will become a thing of the past.
In the meantime and after I’ve reached escape velocity from that kind of work, I believe I’ll thrive on good old fashioned “irate-i-tudes” that will keep my heart pumping and my vital signs aroused.
So my resolutions for 2010 include needed behaviorally healthful objectives and more moderation in every aspect of my own dietary and exercise habits that tend to make me feel worse.
(1) Weight loss for my own good.
(2) Less sugar, cookies, brownies, etc.
(3) More exercise if possible after med provider evaluates my knees. I’d hate to have to build a swimming pool in my living room. But … if necessary …
Then, in the area of good mental health, sustained mental arousal.
Starting with working my way through a new USA Today Crossword Puzzle every day. You can buy a book of 200 puzzles from Amazon or B & N.
They say that stuff like crossword puzzles, sudoku and other mental games help the mind avoid senility and perhaps even the dreaded “A” word.
Of course, I get a lot of positive relaxation from Farmville, Cafe World, and Camelot on Facebook plus positive interaction from most Facebook friends.
So with the mind and body under preventive maintenance procedures I can proceed with causes that keep me aroused, alive and motivated:
(4) Agitate, agitate, agitate.
For starters, for critical thinking and awareness of how we as a society tend to be distracted by “sparklies” while letting the important decisions slip away from us.
Critical thinking is what keeps a living thing alive in many cases … except when living things only think in front of the TV or while listening to snake oil pitches on talk radio.
(5) Agitate agitate agitate.
CIVIC PARTICIPATION is not an elective; is not something you can honestly say is not “your thing” and especially is not something you avoid assessing and discussing because it divides people and cancels family reunions.
What was called “civics” for me in high school in the early 1960’s emphasized process so much that there was little appreciation for what town halls really were and why citizens need to take citizenship and civic participation seriously.
I think that’s why gun-toters who “carried” openly to town hall meetings this past summer totally missed the civic points of the Bill of Rights; thinking that the 2nd amendment could be used to intimidate and suppress the exercise of the 1st amendment. That kind of gun –toting was not the act of brave patriots as much as an action of politically manipulated citizens who were led to believe that patriotism supercedes civic responsibility.
As we tend to trust our country to political celebrities, we have learned that political celebrities – like Hollywood and sports celebrities - for most part are all alike – shallow, not-too-informed in the wisdom stuff but gifted in smiles and winks that win the hearts of untold millions of non-critical thinkers.
We underrate civic participation at our own peril. If you die because you cannot afford health insurance, the immediate cause might be the lack of insurance, but the primary cause will be the common lack of civic participation driven by critical thinking and assessment of mis-information presented as absolutely and reliably true and factual.
If you did not do something to try to vote a better candidate into office than the celebrity fool who eventually sold you down the river, then you flunked the civic participation test didn’t you.
(5) Agitate, agitate and agitate as to why citizens should consider liberals and liberal thinking as anti-America. This has been one of the most significant and deadly political games played with partisan alacrity you have ever known in your lifetime. It magnified itself into an effective political tool from a minor political talking point in the late 70’s and early 1980’s.
Today millions have bought into the lie that liberals are out to destroy America, sell out the American way of life, and deserving of either being driven out of the country or executed. They don’t admit that literally of course, but when civically ignorant souls declares with prideful arrogance that he or she will never vote for another Democrat or imply that Obama as a “liberal president” is someone to be looked down upon, you know they have become drunk on snake oil.
I’ve seen a talk show host manipulate a political gathering in the reddest of red states –manipulated in such a way that made me turn away in embarrassment for a whole society living in ignorant bliss; a whole society that actually thanks such celebrities for keeping them in the dark and – feeding their mushroom minds nothing but sh*t.
I resolve to advocate for liberal politics and liberal religion.
(6) And finally … agitate, agitate, agitate and become obnoxiously obstinate in asking why this country needs upwards of 800 military installations globally.
Obstinately asking justification of the shallow political celebrity is same as the wise action taken by Captain Kirk in “The Undiscovered Country” when he asked the thing that pretended to be God why God needed a starship.
We need to ask the powers that be and those that wannabe why America acts imperially.
If we are not an empire then why do we have our political, military and economic fingers in so many foreign pies that do not require our involvement?
If we are not an empire why do we have such a bloody imperial foreign policy history?
If we are not an empire and our bloody imperial foreign policy history is misunderstood, why have we killed so many more innocent global human beings than “guilty” global soldiers?
Mark Twain has become someone for whom in recent years I have become an ardent admirer and someone who for me has become a legitimate role model – if at 63 old guys are still allowed role models.
Twain was a member of the Anti-Imperialist League. If you look at the original roster of members you would be surprised at who also were members.
They all asked why but were shouted down by those who thought military might and patriotism were better for this country than civic pride and global responsibility driven by that civic pride.
I’ll be driving down the roads of advocacy outlined above.
If you don’t agree with me and are reluctant to discuss why, then hide with the Bushies when you see me coming so you won’t show up in my headlights.