I’ve Looked at Things From Both Sides Now


We all lament getting older. I know that is not a very profound thought, but as I am approaching sixty at supersonic speed, I find myself reflecting on the history that has been made in my lifetime.

I can remember at my Grandma Stedge’s funeral at the age of 92, how we marveled at the changes she had seen during her lifetime. From horse and buggies to automobiles to airplanes to putting a man on the moon. Wow, how do you wrap your head around that?

Baby-boomers have seen our share of history and change. As far as change, there are way too many to list here. Digital TV, and Radio, computers, wireless communication, copy machines, fax machines, digital photography are just a few.

We witnessed the civil rights movement, the war in Vietnam, and Woodstock. We cried at JFK’s funeral, were stunned by Martin Luther King, Jr.’s death, maddened by the assassination of Bobby Kennedy, (our last best hope for ending the war), and aired our grievances at places like Kent State and the Chicago Democratic Convention. That was our youth.

Our adult lives have been no less stressful. A war in the Persian Gulf, two foreign terrorist attacks on American soil,(we all remember where we were on 9/11 as we watched in horror the downing of four airliners and the killing of thousands of innocents) and the ensuing war in Iraq and Afghanistan, have all added to the color of our world. Oh, and let us not forget the financial crisis that hit in late 2008 and has affected the entire world.

Today we said goodbye to the last Kennedy brother, Edward. We all watched him bury JFK and Bobby, help their widows in raising his nieces and nephews, try to live up to his father’s expectations, be a successful US Senator, and run for President in 1980 only to be derailed by his own poor judgment. He was the only son of Joseph Kennedy not to be cut down in his prime. He had his flaws, but he tried to redeem himself through his tireless efforts. He accomplished more for the poor and the down-trodden than he ever could have as President.

Politically, I think of myself as a moderate, which I don’t believe anyone recognizes anymore. To me there is good that can be taken from both sides. (Perhaps I am an Independent.)

At this point in time there are a lot of people suffering. Not just the homeless or the mentally ill, but people like you and me. People that thought they were living the dream. Then the dream evaporated, pretty much over night, they woke up one morning and housing values had dropped, their 401K’s were worth half of what they were when they went to bed, and they lost their job. They could use a little help.

So here is what I am trying to get at. If I am asked to help my fellow man while they are going through a rough patch, I am okay with that. I do not mind paying taxes to provide health care to those who have none, or to help those who may be losing their homes, or for programs to provide jobs for those who need them. I don’t feel it necessary to blame them for the troubles they are in. If we are truly Christian, we look at them and see Christ. The words of Jesus go something like this: What so ever you do for the least of your brethren, that you do unto me.

Let’s try to be more compassionate toward those who are struggling. We will be paying taxes until doomsday, why not quit bitching and start seeing the good that our tax dollars can do. After all, we never know when we will be the beneficiaries of one of the programs.