Forever Young

Every Christmas Eve my son-in-law Spencer, daughter Lisa, and grandson Eli host a fondue dinner.  Spencer’s relatives are invited, which include his niece Allie and nephew Mitchell. Therefore we have three youngsters to liven up the conversation, which usually includes politics and current affairs.

Unlike what we’ve heard about other families that are politically divided, ours is not.  We all lean liberal, and we all think the world is in a mess.  We remember our younger days when we marched for peace, the environment, and social justice.  We are now looking to the younger generation to pick up the mantle. We all have work to do.

In these troubled times where our Commander in Chief thinks he knows everything and wants to imitate dictators, I’ve often wondered about his “base” who think he can do no wrong.  He portrays himself to be a strict constructionist when it comes to the Constitution, but has he even read it?  A good place for him to start would be the preamble:

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

Yes, I know, in those days they spelled defense with a “c”.  So the question is what do our leaders do to live up to it?  E.g., insure tranquility, provide defense, promote welfare and liberty?  It would be a good template to use to judge them.

I asked Allie if she had a class in civics and government.  I was encouraged to hear that she had, and that she understood about the three co-equal branches of government, checks and balances, and the way the Constitution was constructed to guard against someone becoming a king or dictator.  Given what I see nowadays in the general population, I wonder if she is an outlier. I hope not.

It is common for the older generation to worry about the younger.  While I worry as well, I see glimmers of hope:  the Parkland students marching for gun safety, the increase in younger voters turning out during the mid-terms, and the rise of consciousness about the environment and climate change, for example. I just hope they don’t get worn down. I hope they realize that not only do they have a right to protest, but a duty to do so as well.

I also hope they appreciate the legacy of the republican form of government they have inherited.  America is still a great experiment, and our continuation should not be taken for granted. I just hope the younger ones will understand the values and principles that have shaped our country, and I hope they will work to see it endure.

In this season of light and hope, as the winter solstice has turned, and as we celebrate birth and renewal, my hope is we all stay young at heart, and as the song goes, stay forever young:

“Forever Young”—Bob Dylan
May God bless and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the light surrounding you
May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful
And may your song always be sung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.



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