Friday, July 1, 2016
I suppose times of intense change, revolutionary change even, whether for good or evil, lends itself to extremes. Thus as part of our discourse we hear that Muslims are terrorists, Mexicans carry drugs as if by sheer virtue of their nationality, race, or spiritual journey, every one like them is lumped into the same tiny box. Not only race, nationality, or spiritual belief now, but also I am seeing the ghost of Agism Past rear its ugly head once again. See, hard as it may be to imagine, I remember my own youth and young adulthood. We were in the midst of great change then too. We were moving out of the time of great conformity and extreme oppression of other races, beliefs etc also known as the fifties into the sixties when change was in the air. Our childhoods were filled with the stories of Communists under every leaf and the McCarthy hearings and we were determined to change the status quo. I recall expressions like "Don't trust anyone over 30." On the other side, so many older people looked askance at "the youth of today." Shaking their heads and wringing their hands. "Why when I was their age, I never..." But of course they did, but chose not to recall their own explorations of independence.
Our reality and if allowed our strength is in our diversity, not in our sameness. I've learned having been young, middle aged, and now old, that sometimes great wisdom and sometimes great foolishness can come from the lips of old people. Some learned many lessons and embraced wisdom, while others remained oblivious all the way into old age. I could say exactly the same thing for the young, and of the middle aged as well. Sometimes in talking with young people I will receive a pearl of wisdom so precious, not from experience, but from eyes that can look outside the box. Anytime we categorize and place people into a box of sameness rather than accept them in the rainbow of diversity that is the human condition, we not only limit them, but ourselves.
What inspired all of this? Two articles. One from Ozy yesterday suggesting old people should not be allowed to vote. That suggestion is so antithetical to any concept of a democratic society, I'll not even waste my time ranting about it. The other came today. Vox suggests that "old people become more conservative with age because science says so." Look someone does a study and publishes it, with or without peer review and suddenly it's an absolute. Look, some old people grow more conservative. More often I think conservative experimentation happens in middle age when conformity is demanded, and many revert to liberalism as they grow older. BUT THERE ARE NO ABSOLUTES. How old was the dude who killed the worshippers at that church in South Carolina?
So maybe we can start to chill with the agism, whether one is young or old, perceived or not. It's getting old really quick.
Jessica Wicks aka Long in Tooth (just fooling, mine are false)aka Cantankerous Old Crone aka (fill in the blank)