Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Sadness of Hope

The Obama-Wright phenomenon dominates the news for a few days. The flurry makes me sad but hopeful.

Watching his press conference yesterday I felt personally sad for Obama as a gifted young leader forced to renounce his former pastor. Although it had to be done (I had told my daugher earlier that Wright "needed to be sat on"), who could not feel for the candidate's grief and disappointment.

Democrats, whether we support Obama or not, can share his sadness by realizing how much good Wright could have done by becoming less rigid. Wright missed an unusual leadership opportunity. Whether or not he is factual about AIDS genocide, Wright speaks the truth that African-Americans have been betrayed and abused. He is also right that America has become a greedy empire. What he can't seem to do is figure the way out. And whether or not you support Obama for president: he is trying to find the way forward.

When I started this blog I wanted to have a third sad, but what comes instead is hope. If Obama should be elected, and if he should have to take us to war, this is how I want to see him do it. Things like 9/11 happen, things like nuclear-armed enemies happen, and need to be dealt with.

Not with jingoistic triumphalistic imperialistic Bushistic lines in the sand, but when necessary to use our military, with sadness. Whether or not Obama gets the nomination this year (and he probably will), he is a leader to help us grow as a nation. At his vulnerable moments, the young man showed his potential greatness.

(This from a HIllary supporter!)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Eco Shriek

Last Sunday's NY Times Magazine focused on the environment. AAAAGH!

A few observations:

The eco-chic crowd are solarizing their houses and gardening with compost. They-- the EC--advise you to go and do likewise because it's only individual action that will solve the environment.

Reading these articles, I realized how helpless I really am.

I have no idea how to garden; I can't even plant a couple of carrots. Compost? I have been crippled with a bad back since 1978. You may think it's all my fault that I'm a senior citizen and a weakling, but there it is. There are a lot of us.

I'm also part of a large majority not clever enough to figure out how to solarize a house. Plus, I know something you may not because I do own a solar hot water heater: these solar things are expensive to maintain.

The solution has to come from community or we're doomed.* We didn't string electric wires or cables by ourselves; nor did we as individuals go out and launch telecommunication satellites and build a federal highway system.

Old ladies like me want to see the nice young persons from the area electric and/or gas companies come out and go bang bang bang on the roof and presto we're solarized. The equipment can remain property of the utility. How it all fits into the power grid and the tax system are details that all the young and fit and clever can manage to work out.

*(The certainty of doom by this or other means is a topic for another day.)

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Poncing de Leon

Last night's news aired a segment about some gene alteration--one scientist said it could turn into a "pill"--that will make you be like 45 again when you're 80. The scientist talks were intercut with videos of old people in a fairly nice institution doing aerobics and lifting weights. Now the prospect is being held forth (and face it the idea's been around for decades at least) that lifespans can be extended to live a hundred years or longer feeling like age 45.

The image that haunts me is these happy old people in their lines with their dancing and I'm thinking is this how they see it, then, the researchers? More and more people living in these places doing aerobics and taking the pill? Or rather will it be like the fantasy I used to have about my mother, that she would get better and younger and leave her wheel chair and demand her checkbook back and her car keys? Will the young old people then have to go out and get jobs because who can afford decades and decades of nursing home prices? Or will they just be condemned to dance for eternity?