Thursday, April 22, 2010

A personal message

For years, I have been struggling with hypertension. Up until a few months ago, it has been under control with medication. Something in my anatomy, my psychology, or my karma has been altered, however, and now I find myself in the position of having to take six different medications daily and my blood pressure is only at acceptable levels half the time. My husband, Laurin, has been urging me to put politics aside completely, as he knows how I tend to get worked up over world events. Even knowing the strong role that stress can play in one's state of health, I poo-pooed the notion that only by making a lifestyle change, outside of diet, could I expect to get well.

Yesterday, I learned that a cousin of mine had a second heart attack at the age of 58. He's recovering. Last week, I found out that a young man in his mid-30's whom I knew back in Detroit died suddenly of a heart attack. I like my life in Denver. I love my friends and my husband and I want to be around until I'm as old as he is (84). I don't know what else to do. So, I'm going to unsubscribe from Alternet, ProgressNow, RePower America, and all the other purely political websites that now fatten my in-basket day-in and day-out. I am going to delete messages from political candidates and stop watching MSNBC. (Coincidentally, both Bill Moyers' Journal and NOW are going off the air at the end of April. Perhaps PBS was trying to make my decision easier?)

Many of my devoted readers--you both know who you are--will be sad to learn that this also means that I will no longer be facilitating the DisabusedUUs political forum. I will miss our lively discussions but will still see you on Sunday mornings. I would love to hear your thoughts on this posting (and any of my earlier missives), should you care to post a comment.

I have no idea whether I will be able to successfully transition into this new way of being in the world. I have been a political junkie since high school. It is in my blood--and that's the problem. Of course, I will continue to participate in the system by voting (Democratic) until I am too weak to lick a stamp. But my personal health must be my highest priority. (If political invigoration doesn't arise from self-interest, where else? But persisting in the face of a life-threatening illness would be pure foolishness.)

I intend to spend my new-found time relearning to cook, exercising, and watching all those wonderful TV sitcoms that I missed while attending rallies. I will also be traveling the country by auto, taking in the beauty of nature and visiting friends and family, with Laurin at my side. I will always care about my countrymen and women and their part in building a more peaceful and greener world. But I am passing the torch with no regret to very capable younger generations...and those seniors who are healthier than myself. Carpe diem!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A Tea Party for Liberals?

Yesterday's Denver Post contained this headline on page 6A: "Liberals work to start 3rd party". A group of liberals in North Carolina, frustrated by three Democratic congressmen who voted against health care reform, is gathering signatures to put a third party, North Carolina First, on the ballot for the November mid-term election. Notwithstanding the fact that, if successful, the result of their effort could well mean that the defeat of the three conservative Democrats would accrue to the benefit of the Republican alternatives, these would-be Tea Partiers of the Left say they do not care; they are made as hell and aren't going to take it anymore.

Such self-defeating foolishness reminds me of the central character in the book and movie, Into the Woods, Christopher McCandless (portrayed in the film by Emile Hirsch). Finding himself completely alienated by the superficiality and materialism of his upper middle-class parents, this college star athlete and scholar gives his entire life savings to charity, abandons his old clunker of a car in the desert, and hitchhikes his way to Alaska, where he plans to live in the wilderness where he can eat what the animals eat and live a life of purity and aestheticism, next to nature and all its beauty and what-you-see-is-what-you-get honesty. Availing himself of the kindness of strangers along the way--average folk for whom he seems to have little patience or time--and an old, decrepit school bus formerly used as a base camp for a group of hunters, Chris at last finds his nirvana, surrounded by mountains, streams, and tundra.

I won't give away the ending--this truly is a movie worth seeing, as was the book a fantastic read (or, so I'm told). Let me just say that the life the self-righteous isn't always as gratifying as it's cracked-up to be. You may feel that you are teaching the world and all the bastards in it a huge lesson and that may feel very comforting, for a little while. But the law of politics, like the law of the jungle, is that you either eat or get eaten. And you never--EVER--eat your own.