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Ramblings by Rose Mary

Please refer to the Ramblings by Rose Mary main page for columns published in other issues.
Rose Mary can be contacted via e-mail at rwclarke@mibor.net.

 

 

 

 An Ode to the Ever-Hopeful Flame of Youth

 

Last week I contrasted America's freedom of expression and its economic system with the repression of Islamic theocracies and the poverty of the people and the cult of personality of countries such as North Korea where the people sing paeans to their "dear leader."

It doesn't bother me that people here exercise their freedom of speech to criticize leaders or point out the ways in which America could be improved. There is much room for improvement, and we all should be involved. However, it angers me when they forget how fortunate they are to have the precious right to dissent, and when they see only the negatives about America, which are greatly outweighed by the positives. It strikes me that their cup is always half empty, never half full.

One of my friends with whom I enjoy debating politics and social issues because we can do so without losing our tempers or calling each other unpatriotic or stupid, quoted Sinclair Lewis: "Fascism comes in the form of a cross wrapped in a flag." Many decry Christian fundamentalism these days. However, I think that fascism comes in the form of a charismatic leader who "knows what's best," wrapped in unattainable promises.

Every bit as much as the conservative Christian fundamentalists, the far left, too, are seeking a "great man," a new Moses to lead us out of the desert into the Promised Land, set things right, lay down some new laws, and tell us what to do - all for our own good, of course.

While musing about our situation here in America, I haven't forgotten about the travels of Paul Angelone, whom I interviewed over a year ago. Other topics intervened so that I didn't write about him. Also, I worry about drying up and running out of ideas. The material about Paul was my back-up - words in a saving account, so to speak. When I'm finished with his material I'm going to be ready for something less serious, and we shall go on a delicious gastronomic excursion through the South. Then it's back to Italy to finish our trip with Vicki!

I've never visited the Far East, but 25-year-old Paul Angelone spent a year in North Vietnam after graduating from Ball State with a degree in architecture. Eek! Here I go, revealing my aging mindset. I wasn't much older than Paul when the war in Vietnam occurred. We thought of it as two countries - north and south.

"Your children live in the house of tomorrow which you cannot enter - even in your dreams." - Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet

It's good to perk myself up and challenge myself mentally by listening attentively to those who are younger than I rather than continuing along in the comfortable old rut of inflexible mindset, opinions and visions. Each new generation thinks that it's going reinvent the world, establish peace and plenty and improve humanity. I tell myself that those who are young today are going to be running things in a few years. Not too soon, I hope, because I'd just as lief get the hell out of here before they do!

I wish them luck because no matter how sincere they are in their desire to change things for the better, they'll quickly learn that change is not as easy at it seems. If I remember the Bible correctly, even Moses encountered some problems! At age 21, I believed in the perfectibility of the human critter. At age 71, I know better.

Having already traveled to Europe and to Kenya, Paul became interested in the Far East. As are so many young people today, he's more adventurous than we were back in the ‘50s. His enthusiasm and desire to experience new things remind me of the explorer/adventurer, Richard Halliburton who wrote about his graduation from college, "I'm set adrift with a diploma for a sail and lots of nerve for oars." At jet speed, Paul was whisked to a very different physical and cultural environment.

Next week: an evening at the bia hois.

 

 

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