This past January I turned 63. I experienced the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. The United States and the Soviet Union faced off against each other over the fact the Soviets were attempting to install nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles in Cuba. (It was only after the collapse of the USSR that we learned the suspected threat of active missiles was at that time a genuine reality.) One errant move by either super-power could have been a life-ending move for planet Earth.
I experienced the Vietnam War. And I experienced both near-depression recessions that occurred under Reagan, and the Market Crash that also took place during his presidency. As with every now sentient American, I watched on television when the twin towers fell in billowing clouds of white dust.
At no time during my life have I been witness to the unfolding extraordinary calamities that now assault the world; the end of lifestyle sustaining affordable oil, life and lifestyle threatening drought, and the potential collapse of economies and governments pan-global. Never before! Never!
There is nothing wrong with relaxing after a hard day, in front of mindlessly insipid television programs. But when the brain boiling bubbling bovine waste precludes the intake of the information requisite to the formation of informed opinions and participation in informed discussions . . . Today? When we're all facing the edge of the precipice?
I have two college majors: business administration and political science. The latter I've lived and breathed passionately for the past 10 years. Contrary to a lot of popular opinion, what we discuss with each other does find its way to government policy. You talk with a neighbor. The neighbor talks things over with those in his or her church group or other civic organizations; PTA, Boy Scouts, veterans associations, etc. The leaders of those groups then carry the message up the line. It's all much akin to ripples in a pond, or, even more dramatically, the butterfly effect. (Yeah, yeah, yeah . . . I know: money talks. But money unaligned with ballot strength fares less well than if it's accompanied by voter sentiment.) In other words, being informed matters. Being informed, especially today, when so much is at stake, matters one hellova lot.
Mindless, persistent indulgence at a time when being responsibly informed is what is called for most is the very apex of as well as the very definition of the betrayal of personal responsibility.
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