Growing up, one of my best friends was my grandmother. I would spend hours helping her out, and felt like superman when I helped her with something she couldn’t do. “Ahh, you’re a comfort,” she’d tell me.
What I got back from her, besides the simple joy of giving, was endless stories about the old days. I loved it. She was born in 1912, so she had seen a LOT. Growing up so poor that an orange was a once-a-year treat at Christmas. Remembering the excitement when a family down the block got their first car. Being able to take a trolley anywhere, even in our little po-dunk town. Surviving the depression by saving and sharing everything with your neighbors. Raising 3 kids through the premature death of my grandfather, then going on to finally get a college degree– and 2 masters degrees besides. She was an amazing woman, and would say to me “you’re my very best friend”. The feeling was mutual. She passed away 7 years ago, and here I am still getting all choked up about it.
Politically, we disagreed.
She was a staunch Republican, and I’m not. I remember her shock and horror when she found out I’d registered as a Democrat. “Generations of your ancestors are turning over in their graves!” We didn’t talk straight-out politics much, except for her occasional comments (“Truman was a dummy.”) But the way she talked about FDR’s New Deal and the way she felt about other social safety nets showed me that, at heart, she held the same progressive values as I did: a rising tide raises all boats. She might’ve been taken in a little by things like Reagan’s smooth talking and the conservative movement’s salesmanship, but underneath, there was so much we could agree on.
I respected her a lot for who she was and what she’d been through. A long life tends to grow some wisdom along with it, so even if we didn’t always see eye to eye, I would’ve been a fool if I hadn’t consulted her about stuff as much as I did. What a resource! Today’s American society glamorizes youth and superficial beauty, but we’re really missing the boat. There is a huge resource of folks out there who’ve been there, done that so many times that they could give seminars on how to be there and do that. More importantly, they have more of a long-term vision since they’ve seen things come and go, and they know what’s really important:
Strong families, strong communities, strong country, strong world.
They have learned that if you poison your children with pollution, if you leave families behind when they’ve fallen on hard times, if you let Wal-Mart suck the life out of local businesses, and if you use money as the measure of how rich a life is, it brings us all down.
So this is a call to all you older folks out there, not only would I love to hear your voices more, I feel it is your patriotic duty to have your voice be heard. We are a country being run into the ground, where the middle class is being robbed to pay for corporate CEOs’ bonuses. If you want your grandkids and their kids to have a prayer of having the quality of life you had, now is the time to speak up! We need your years of wisdom and long-term vision!
And blogging is one of the best, fastest ways to be heard these days. A blog (short for “web log”) like The Rural Patriot is, well, kind of like a town hall meeting that’s going on all the time. Folks drop by when they can, read what others have to say, and offer comments when they agree or think someone’s wrong.
Blogs like this one also tell the stories the corporate newspapers and TV won’t or don’t have time to tell. And we connect patriotic folks that want to do something about the mess the US is in, with groups that are helping to turn things around.
There are national blogs that are town meetings on the national level. What we’re doing here is for Allegany and Catt. counties. And we want to hear what you’ve got to say! Blogging is easier than you think. If you can do e-mail, then you’re almost there. All you have to do is read the posts being written, click on the “Comments” link at the bottom of the post, pick a name you want to go by (mine’s “chillychumpy”), and type in your two cents. Even if it’s to just say “howdy”. (By the way, the average age of folks on these kinds of blogs is 43. The average age.)
If you like what we’re writing, add a comment. If you think we’re full of hooey, tell us that too! This is how democracy happens.