The Difference is Dazzling.
In the past half dozen years, I have mentioned dancing with death several times due to a fall and prostate cancer. Those two events have been beneficial to my Weltanschauung. I did not plan to dance with death, but I would not erase it from my life either if I could. It has changed me in a most positive way. I understand the limits of my life. Therefore, I am far more driven, engaged, and interested in life.
A couple of years ago, I went to my eye doctor, Dr. Ireland, for a routine eye exam, he told that I had cataracts. Really? Well, that came as a surprise. I could see just fine. I had worn glasses for about 50-years, but with them, I had no problems. My eye doctor told me that when I returned in the fall of 2014, the cataracts would have to be removed. When I returned to his office a couple months ago, his prediction was correct. He set up an appointment with Dr. Menon who is an eye surgeon. On September 5 and 19, I had each cataract removed successfully.
Only those who have had cataract surgery will understand what I am about to write. However, in time, all will understand, because they will have their cataracts removed when they reach their late 60s or early 70s. After my first eye surgery, my reaction was disbelief. I could see far better than before...even when wearing my glasses. Things were clearer and far brighter.
This illustration will show you what I mean. For most of my life, I have watched television. I started watching TV programs like Howdy Doody when I was about 7-years old. For over 6-decades, I have continued to watch a vast variety of television programs. All those born around WWII have watched TV for most of their entire lives.
However, a handful of years ago, I got an HD-TV. The difference was dazzling very much like the difference in seeing without cataracts. You see things far more clearly, everything is brighter, and far more defined. However, prior to HD-TV, we were happy with the quality of our older TVs. What is true for TVs is true about seeing after cataract surgery. The difference is dazzling.
While I rejoice with the improvement of my eyesight, it is also a metaphor to seeing things more clearly in life in general. For example, we can see things politically more clearly even without cataract operations...if we look!
Therefore, let's look at some political issues. An excellent example would be racism in America. At one time in America, slavery was seen as normative. Slavery was just the way things were. Over time, some Americans had political cataract operations and saw more clearly the real world of slavery.
Even though the North won the Civil War, they lost the peace. For almost exactly a century, much of America saw segregation as a way of life; it was just a given. Again, others had cataract operations starting with Rosa Parks. After 1955 and Rosa Parks not getting up to give her seat to a white man in Montgomery, AL, others had surgery resulting in America seeing things more clearly and a brighter day began to dawn during the 60s and 70s.
Then in 2008, Barrack Obama became president. Majorities of Americans were able to see and voted for him. However, there are still many of the birthers and tea party types that are still thinking that they can see. However, they are seeing through racist cataracts, which blur their vision of the world. They need cataract surgery also.
In addition to the issue of slavery, women suffered from sexism. Jefferson said, "We hold these truths that all men are created equal...." In 1776, white males could vote. That excluded all blacks and women of either race. Even after the Civil War, black men could not vote in the segregated South. Fortunately, many Americans had political cataract surgery starting with women.
It was not until 1920 and the 19th Amendment that all women could vote regardless of race. Forty-five years later, all blacks in the South could vote with President Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act.
The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was Obama's first piece of legislation passed on January 29, 2009, which was just over a week after his inauguration. Women could vote but not get equal pay in the workplace.
What interests me is the relative speed that America is dealing with homophobia. The issue of addressing an informed understanding of homosexuality really started in my lifetime. Alfred Kinsey published Sexual Behavior in the Human Male in 1948, which began the process of seeing this issue from a scientific perspective for the first time.
A couple of year later, Harry Hay actually began the gay rights movement. Within less than a decade lesbian organizations appeared. As a result, in 1962, Illinois decriminalized homosexual activity between consenting adults. Illinois was the first state to do so. Interestingly, in just over a decade later in 1973, the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from Diagnostic and Statistical Mental Disorders (DSM).
By 1996, the Supreme Court found Colorado's Amendment denying gays and lesbians protection from discrimination as unconstitutional. Then Vermont was the first state in 2000 to recognize civil unions. Massachusetts in 2004 allowed same-sex marriages. With these two states taking legislative actions, a floodgate of states opened permitting same-sex marriages or civil unions. At the time of my writing this essay, 28 states and the District of Columbia allow same-sex marriages or civil unions. While many celebrate this extremely rapid advancement, there are still many with homophobic cataracts and still cannot see clearly.
Watch a video about how Marriage Equality Nearly Doubled in Less than 48 hours
Attorney General Eric Holder said of same-sex marriages,
Finally, after months of debate, America became the very last Western industrial country to pass a universal healthcare law. Now, this is not to say that some saw the need in the same year as did Norway. Norway was the first nation to have a universal healthcare program in 1912. President Teddy Roosevelt in that same year attempted to do the same but was unsuccessful. Nevertheless, Present Barack Obama was successful in getting Congress to see more clearly with the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Interestingly, I had seen that light 40-years prior while doing post-graduate work in Scotland, which was under National Health for over two decades.
We all need to experience the benefit of seeing more clearly. If you are nearing your 70th year, make sure that you see your eye doctor. However, regardless of your age, we all need to see thing more clearly politically. You will benefit along with the rest of America.
Visit the Scottish Independence page to read more about this topic.
Visit the On Seeing the Light page to read more about this topic.
Visit the Darkest Before Dawn page to read more about this topic.
Visit The Mentors and Me page to read more about this topic.
Visit the Obamacare page to read more about this topic.
Visit the Dancing with Death page to read more about this topic.