Monday, October 1, 2012

Old does not mean stupid!

In a couple weeks, I’m coming up to my 68th birthday--& wondering how the hell that happened! Just yesterday, I was a young girl wearing mini-skirts way too short & too naive to understand why. Today, I’m a pensioner using my Medicare card to justify taking the pulpit & lecturing to the young. But hear me out! You can’t live with regrets: what was, was! Get over your blunders! There is however,  a better piece of advice to those of you forging your way in the world of youth: throw out all your self-help, self-improvement books. They only make you feel inadequate & there’s no evidence they make you or the world better. The likelihood is you’re perfect just the way you are--even with your foibles. I learned that in the self-advocacy movement, which is the social & political movement of those with cognitive disabilities. I’ve known blow-hards & know-it-alls & when they passed, I’ve wished I could hear them blow smoke just one more time. Aint no self-help book in the world can make the worst of us--who never read the damn things anyway--improve. They hold criminality in the highest esteem--but humanity in the lowest.

Literature, including (maybe especially) Shakespeare (maybe not Yeats), is filled with prejudice against seniors; we’ve become the epitome of decrepitude & political senility. I recall an antiwar meeting where a blow-hard remonstrated activists against the recent march as all “just old people from the Vietnam era.” How could he not see that despite the ups & downs, the persecutions, & the endless political impedimenta, there were men & women who against the mightiest countervailing forces of US military force & political surveillance, remained committed & active for over 50 years to end US wars of aggression!?

For many Americans, growing old means getting a sit down lawn mower & going Republican or Democrat. But as we have seen in so many protests against austerity around the world, cutbacks target the elderly & children, & rebellion against injustice has overcome any so-called generational gap. It means adding our voices to the international chorus of those demanding human justice, human equality, human dignity.

No comments:

Post a Comment