It is always fun to joke about the elderly (and in the area where I live, there are many, many that should not be driving). But at what point do you find yourself complaining "like a crank?" More and more often I read of situations where simple common sense would have resolved a problem or dispute. More and more often I read folks commenting about world affairs and politics and think, "where have they been living, under a rock?" Except it dawns on me that it is not always a reflection of anyone's "book" knowledge that propels their thoughts, but their age. Yes, age. As I reflect on my opinions based upon my own life experiences (and I have biases just like everyone else), aren't many of my reactions to others' comments really founded in the fact that many expressing their opinions just haven't lived as long as I have? Isn't this a bit of "Reverse Ageism?" I mean, when someone under the age of 35 spouts about the Middle East, I immediately think of the events I have been exposed to that they have not. Not due to any fault on their part, but because they simple were not alive or old enough to be "aware". When folks prop Ronald Reagan up as a perfect "Saint", they either are delusional or simply buy the narratives issued because they were not alive (or aware) during the Reagan presidency (I chose Reagan for example purposes only and not to be considered an attack on the GOP). Although Eisenhower was president when I was alive, I don't have first hand knowledge of his presidency. I can barely recall JFK's assassination and funeral (I was upset when it preempted my regularly scheduled cartoons). But I do recall some of LBJ, most of Viet Nam, Watergate and all political events since. I also recall the 6 Day and Yom Kippur Wars and all events since. This gives us "Cranks" a frame of reference those much younger do not have. It is not their fault, but it is reality. I am slowly becoming the "old man who has been around the block more than a few times."
As a life-long learner, I am always open to new ideas, yet find myself struggling when those "new" ideas are based upon assumptions and not the facts that I experienced. It's sort of like the position Clint Eastwood played in the movie Gran Torino. Baseball players no longer look like men to me, they look like kids. The President is younger than me and I have grandchildren (no complaints on that front)! Society is changing - some for the better, some not. What to do?
A mission in my life has been to teach. Some have accused me of being pedantic. What a great diagnosis! I surely am. I demand excellence and accuracy at all times. Think that makes it tough to be a student of mine? Ask my children how it felt being constantly pushed! So my point is simple. I am a CRANK, but a crank that demands positions based upon facts and logic, and not impressions and assumptions. I have also watched politics closely since the Nixon era (yes, I was a high schooler, but I watched every televised hearing and read everything I could on the subject). Thus my education path and stance on advocacy through writing and speaking about American History and the current (sorry) state of our government and politics.
With the dysfunction in Congress (yes, they are currently on another "break"), Americans are consistently reminded that it's all the president's fault, or it's the Supreme Court's fault, without a clue that their opinion was manufactured for them by their selected media and pundits (Selective Perception and Reinforcement). Just yesterday, someone wrote into our local paper claiming anyone that reads the Constitution knows that the Courts do not make laws, only Congress does. Not only is this incorrect, but they put the icing on the cake by claiming that when State law says one thing, the Supreme Court cannot overrule it (naturally they cited the Kim Davis fiasco). Except Article VI of the Constitution includes what is known as the Supremacy Clause. If there is any conflict between State and Federal Law, Federal Law always wins. So much for claiming "others" need to read the Constitution. That citizen surely has not. Thus I find myself steadily becoming A CRANK!
As President Abraham Lincoln once wrote; "I do not think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday." Yesterdays add up, feeding wisdom that cannot come from any other source. So, GET OFF MY LAWN, and step inside my world as a new member of the CRANK CLUB! Have a great week!