We Must Address Conservativism...
For Two Essential Reasons

Okay, this is a confession.  I have attempted to deal with the issue of political conservativism in the past. It is one of my personal windmills with which I joist.  At my age, I follow one of my mentors, Don Quixote. I have defined the term and written about important social movements that conservatives diss. Nevertheless, there still are many Americans that happily identify themselves as conservatives...those who like the past and wish to hold onto it. Having said that, there are two reasons that I am launching another attack. One joisting with that windmill is a national and the other is a local issue.

The national reason is my concern for this country. Watching the campaign for the presidency scares me. The Donald is alarming. However, what is most frightening is that millions of people agree with him. I can deal with one person saying truly stupid, racist, and xenophobic nonsense, but he has amassed a large group of followers who don't see anything wrong with building a 2000-mile wall to keep Mexicans out. "When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best... They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime.  They're rapists. And some I assume are good people."

The Donald needs to learn history. The Great Wall of China or the Berlin Wall didn't work for those that built them. The arrogant Trump added, "I'd build it. I'd build it very nicely. I'm very good at building things." It still isn't going to work.

The Donald announced that he wanted to ban all Muslims from entering the US. "Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on...." Hitler wanted to get rid of all Jews who were attacking the German economy.

The Donald makes sexist comments. During one of the Republican presidential debates, he was upset with Megyn Kelly's questions. His contention was that "You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever. In my opinion, she was off base." Yo, Donald, who is off base?

The Donald referred to a black supporter as his "African-American."  Donald, we don't own people any more in America. That ownership issue was the reason for the Civil War.

Aside from Trump's nonsense, which needs to be addressed, my Don Quixote-esque joisting with windmills parallels my mentor. We are at the same age. I have had the strange blessing that of dancing with death. I would not like to go through prostate cancer or a subdural hematoma (traumatic brain injury) again.  However, I would not delete either from my life. I have benefitted greatly; I appreciate life having done the dance.

Those that have done the dance realize something that others don't know. We all know that we aren't immortal, but, until you do the dance, you comprehend your mortality intellectually. Dancing with death awakens you to living, because you not only intellectually understand your mortality in your brain but more importantly in your gut.

Dancing with death is transformative. For example, the word, legacy is immensely important to me. The meaning and resultant drive forces me to deal with social issues far more than I even did during the civil rights movement in the 60s. I know that you are concerned about your legacy, but, dance with death, the word LEGACY will stare you in the face.

What will be your legacy to the world? Having done the dance, I realize that our time is limited.  Watch Randy Pausch's Last Lecture. It will be the best hour lecture you have ever heard especially if you have danced with death. Trust me. In all the years of college, graduate school, and post-graduate school and all the years of teaching, that single lecture was absolutely transformative. I finally was able to begin to put the pieces of my life together. I am a different cat than I was prior to watching the Last Lecture. However, what is your legacy and how much does it drive you?

Interestingly, Pausch's Last Lecture was not primarily given for the benefit of millions of viewers over the years. Pausch's Last Lecture was for three young children too young to really remember him. That motivated Pausch. It motivated me with my two youngest grandchildren. Trust me. Driven doesn't express the level of my motivation. I know how Pausch felt...in his gut.  

If you haven't done the dance, trust me. Think about how your loved ones will remember you. Teddy Roosevelt said, "Dare greatly."  Roosevelt wants a person to be driven "so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."

Your family and country will remember you when you are no longer here. Nevertheless, it is up to you to demonstrate by word and actions what motivates you. Dare greatly, but that won't be by being a conservative that clings to the past...the past of racism, sexism, homophobia, indifference to poverty, global warming, etc. 

Pausch warns us and this essay is a reminder, "It's not about the cards you're dealt, but how you play the hand." However, your clock is ticking. Be careful and think. Being conservative politically is a very bad choice on social movement issues.

The other reason for this essay relates to the local level. I have wanted to go out to dinner with a woman near my age to talk about nearly anything. However, I have seen dating sites that list all sorts of possible dates. It is on rare occasions that I have found a person who is politically middle of the road. Nearly all of the people see themselves as conservatives.  Boy, that is a setup for a bad dinner date.

Several weeks ago, I was getting my long, full, dark brown hair cut by Kelly.

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I complained to Kelly about my plight of not being able to find someone who politically is at least moderate. Kelly said that I won't find anyone around NW Indiana.  Her suggestion was to go to Chicago.

Just last week while doing my daily Tour de France around the lake in my neighborhood, I saw one of my neighbors, Maureen. She was walking her dogs as she did several weeks prior when I was on an extension ladder while painting my home. Maureen insisted I got down from the ladder since no one was at the base of the ladder preventing it from moving. I got down and told her that it was wise advice since I had nearly died in a fall several years ago. As a semi but serious joke, I told Maureen, if I kill myself accidently, I want her to know my last words.

Just a couple of days ago, I called Maureen's husband about a wiring problem that I had and needed his advice. Unfortunately, he wasn't around due to his being a pilot.  So I left a message on his cellphone about the reason for calling. I told him that I'd try to wire the switch correctly. Nonetheless, if I electrocute myself, Maureen knows my last words for someone in Valpo.

Today, I saw Maureen and told her about leaving her husband a message regarding my last words. Then I began my complaining about wanting to date someone who wasn't out in right field politically. She also dissed the notion of my finding many single, non-politically conservative women in our environs just like Kelly.

Therefore, America needs to deal with political conservatives so that our country can progress our way through the 21st century. Additionally, I need to be able to find someone with whom I can go out for dinner and discuss something other than the weather. Even discussing the weather could be stormy depending whether the person denies global warming.

On Seeing the Light

On Seeing the Light

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The Last Lecture

The Last Lecture

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Dancing with Death

Dancing with Death

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Don Quixote

"Don Quixote"

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Man in the Arena

Man in the Arena

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