Book of the Month

cmaukonen's picture

Temporary



 “Three hours ago, this man was in the battle. Two hours ago we operated on him.
He’s got a 50/50 chance. We win some, we lose some. That’s what it’s all about.
No promises. No guaranteed survival. No saints in surgical garb. Our willingness,
our experience, our technique are not enough. Guns and bombs and antipersonnel
mines have more power to take life than to preserve it. Not a very happy ending for
a movie. But then no war is a movie.”

There was a time - not that long ago - when nearly every young man and even a lot of your women - would have come face to face with what mortality really meant.  It used to be said that young people still think they are immortal and indestructible.  This generally changed by the time you were 30 or so and quite often sooner.  Even if you did not see any combat action in the military or even if you did not even serve in the military for some reason, you had experienced what it meant.  Unlike today where old people or terminally ill people would die in a nursing home or hospice, they generally died at home with family members around. 

You knew personally at least one person who died in a war or from some accident or child hood disease.  I did. I also faced my mortality and non- indestructibility in a major motor scooter accident when I was 18. Which put me in the hospital for 6 weeks. I knew people who were killed in Vietnam. Families who lost people in Korea and WWII. A kid in my class who died from reye's syndrome. Of course at that time, the 1950s, no one knew what it was or what caused it. 

In short we learned that life is temporary. Even though nobody can really imagine their own deaths. When we try, we always still exist in the third person. This may explain the beliefs in a hereafter that many religions have.  We also learned that life is hard work as well even if few grew up on farms or ranches since even everyday chores still required some physical labor.  Until after WWII even the very rich knew of personal tragedies as they were as likely to lose a child or loved one from disease or injury as their money could not buy a cure or prevention as none existed. The bank president or stock broker was just as likely to fall dead of a heart attack or stroke or lose a child as the laborer. Maybe more so.  And this temporariness was what help bring us together. 

In the past couple of decades though our advancing technology in medicine and other areas have enabled us to live our lives in a bubble. Where we have come to believe that suffering and even death itself can be put off almost indefinitely.  That all you need is enough money and you can live a very long, worry free, labor free life. Not having to be concerned for your own personal well being and certainly not for the well being of others.  Not only that, but even the medical profession itself is peddling this snake oil idea. Just run 5 miles each day and eat an organic vegan diet and you too can live a very long life. Well as long as you can pay us too.

But it ain't like that at all.  So we hide old age away and death becomes an inconvenience that when it's about to occur, is drugged and sedated.  And physical labor is something that is to be avoided and only for the great unwashed.  I wonder...have we become that repulsed by our humanity that we are willing to treat it so lightly and with disregard ?

Good points here, cm, eloquently put. I'm guessing I'm about your age or maybe older. I don't think it takes old age, however, to understand that life is temporary. Three young people I know have lost friends in car accidents just in the last couple of months. People die. Kids die. Parents and grandparents die.

I'm not quite sure where you're leading with this, but when it comes to losing our young in meaningless, unnecessary wars, the unfairness of it is an almost universal lament. The draft would do much to settle that issue. A fair draft, that is, where all our children were subject to service, no matter the status. No exceptions, even for the children of the decision-makers.

We've grown up with people who aren't ashamed of having dirt under their fingernails. They came home sweaty and stinky in work clothes so dirty they had to be washed separately from the family loads. And they were proud of it. They were building American products and, in the Midwest at least, being paid well to do it. Fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, grandsons, granddaughters ...everyone worked in the same towns in the same factories.  They were respected in our towns.  In other towns, in other states, where wages and conditions weren't monitored by unions, where workers were seen as necessary inconveniences with no rights, the advanced they had made were resented by laborers who had been convinced by their owners that they would only be hurting themselves, that they would be putting their jobs in jeopardy if they followed that path.

I hadn't thought about the devaluing of hard work, but the signs are everywhere and it's no accident. Wages don't reflect the value of hard work any more. Labor unions have been hobbled and demonized, and people who want to work at jobs requiring physical labor are seen as nothing more than mules.  It's a dangerous new world.

I think where I am going is this - that what is referred to as the Tea Party right is not so much as some political movement as it is a reaction or blow back to well intentioned but badly handled progressive legislation that these people see as infringing on their personal freedoms.

The shared experiences of the past is what enabled the hard working labor force and the upper class highly educated to have some respect and tolerance for each other.

I was going to make this a separate blog and may do so in the future. But what I see and this map shows, is a reaction from the smaller burgs rather than the bigger metro areas.

 

The left tends to focus on the racial and economic aspects of it when those are just a part. The more complete view, in my not so humble opinion, is that they see government over-reach or big brotherism. This reaction has just come to a head but has been brewing for a while.

What is interesting is that I know I have read that when asked individually about civil rights, gays, drugs, taxing the rich, tobacco use, guns etc. they will have fairly progressive views. Where they disagree is that they do not feel it's any of the governments damn business telling them what (if anything) they personally should do about it.  That if they wish to go to a bar that does not serve gays and have a drink and a smoke, that's their business - not Washington's.  And they blame the liberal establishment for this.

Rand Paul was I think one of the few who was honest about this when he was campaigning. 

My 90 year old mother is quite fond of say that "The road to hell is paved by good intentions." For me I seed this is oft true.  You simply cannot force people either through legislation or belittlement to change their beliefs or behavior. They will at least simply give you the finger and do it anyway or get really pissed and force it back the way it was.

Labor unions have been hobbled and demonized, and people who want to work at jobs requiring physical labor are seen as nothing more than mules.  It's a dangerous new world.

Yes it is and those mules just might kick you in the head if you are not very careful.

Just some observations on my part.

I don't know that I buy your theory.  If this is true, why are they still supporting the big government fascist Republicans?  Y'know, the folks that want to force that Right wing social agenda down everyone's throats, like making abortion illegal, restricting birth control, etc.  Isn't that the same Big Brother-ism they supposedly hate?  It seems to me the tea-partiers are just as enamored of big government when it's giving them what they want as anyone else.  They're just easily manipulated, whining idiots who can't accept the government not following their naive, uneducated, corporatist social agenda.  They are, in essence, two year olds, holding their breath till their faces turn blue until they get to watch another mindless cartoon.  They have been led to believe that running a government is akin to balancing their family budget, which is probably one of the most simplistic and assinine idiocies ever foisted onto a bunch of morons.  And yet, that's their view of the world and of our country.  Sorry, but progress is made by pushing these idiots out of the way and going ahead and doing what is the correct thing, and let them catch up to us when they realize that the world has passed them by.  They are political versions of the hillbillies that refused to get telephones or that new-fangled electricity in their homes.  Thank God, the rest of the country didn't pander to those idiots.

The problem is that it's not on tight nit group but a very loosy goosy coalition where not every one supports all aspects of it. About the only thing that they all seem to have in common is a great dislike for the policies of the has couple of decades. Which they find to be intrusive.

Some are staunchly libertarian while others are not. Some are social conservatives and others are not. One group you really cannot paint with a broad brush, unless you are using polka dot or striped paint.

As far as their association with the monied interests and republicans are concerned - "Then enemy of my enemy is my friend"

Latest Comments