Saturday, May 14, 2011

A Walk in the Park

At 67 years old, if I set at this damn computer typing for too long, my legs start to lose their ability to support my body. So, my wife convinced me to undertake a daily exercise walk. Here in San Diego there is a park, a wildlife preserve located in the southern part of San Diego Bay. The park has a trail for hikers and bicyclists that meanders through the marshlands. Since it is nearly Spring, the plants are green and flowers are blooming. Water is still flowing from the winter rains so there are streams burbling and connecting with the lagoons. It never fails to bring me peace. I look back over a lifetime, a lifetime I don't regret, and I remember the hectic pace that prevented me from enjoying moments like this. Then I think of all the young people who are flung headlong into the unrelenting demands of today's society and I can't help but pity them. They never have the time to just walk along with nature surrounding them, and enjoy existence.
What's worse, the younger generation is busily engaged in dismantling all the protections that my parents suffered and sometimes died for. Protections from bank failures, protections promised from Social Security, protections from the greedy bastards that manipulate the stock market, and protections from the environmental disasters such as the one that nearly destroyed Lake Erie back in the sixties, are all being threatened by the illiterate, moronic fools that call themselves the Tea Party.
When I was a young father and provider for my family. One income provided for home. Car, food and three children. Since I was an industrial worker, I was protected by a strong union that kept the predations of the companies from intruding upon my life. In fact, I never worked at a job that didn't have a union, including my time spent as a college professor. Never, that is, until just before I retied. It was a retirement job at an aerospace company, and as non-union, the workers were powerless. The pay was substandard, the workers worked seven days a week, sometimes twelve hours a day (I didn't, I refused to.), just like the miserable conditions of the early twentieth century.
As I say, I pity the younger generation. Now it requires two incomes to make ends meet, so the children must be left at a daycare center. Mom and dad may be required by the employer to work long hours so they're too tired to enjoy life or their families. This seems to be escalating, and I fear for the future. People can only take so much misery before they react. The Tea Party fiasco is typical of their reaction, but it is certainly not the right one, that will only make the problems worse.
The hell with it. I'm in my life's twilight. It's not my problem anymore. I think I'll just walk along the trail and enjoy the flowers.

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