A totally unforeseen effect of my semi-rural Alaskan relocation has slowly been growing and festering within my existence. While I now understand I recognized the beginnings of this ‘effect’ upon my psyche a couple years back only in the last six to nine months has the fallout become so very clear. In conjunction with my growing recognition of this situation has come a slowly simmering anger at its intrusion into my otherwise calm and serene existence. And I suspect my anger will only increase if I allow this to continue unchecked; in this sense I’m hoping that just writing about this situation may prove cathartic.
Because living in semi-rural Alaska does leave one somewhat remote and hence out of touch with world events and current history I developed methods of ‘keeping up’ mainly via internet news sites and satellite TV. But herein were the seeds of my current dissatisfaction; as I tried to stay ‘up to date’ regarding local, federal and world happenings I began to notice a definite increase in my stress levels. At first I assumed I was just showing the signs of age in that I was becoming curmudgeonly based on being set in my ways but with time I began to realize there was more going on. Indeed, I was just beginning to react negatively to so much of what I read about and saw happening across the planet. Sadly this has continued to grow and chafe at my sensibilities until it reached its current level.
Why shouldn’t I be fed up? I played by ‘the rules’ all my life; I paid my taxes, generally stayed out of trouble, broke very few laws, worked as steadily as I could and saved money for my retirement. In doing so I forced myself to work for companies I came to abhor and in darker moments would refer to myself as a ‘corporate whore’. I attempted to climb company ladders in search of more responsibilities along with more money; when I couldn’t make this happen within some firm I would seek out and start another job. From the time I graduated college in 1978 until I settled here in 2013 I relocated 14 times which figures down to a move once every two and a half years and pretty much insures one will lack any ‘roots’. I recognize these were, for the most part, my choices and I am willing to live with the consequences.
But while sacrificing so much to follow the American Dream I did not expect that once I reached that point in my life when I could supposedly reap the benefits the game’s rules had shifted. Obamacare was thrust upon the population with virtually no opportunity to really review and understand what it involved. It canceled my existing medical policy at the end of 2014. And my choices were Draconian at best; my original policy cost me $510/month but the cheapest I could locate in Alaska during November and December of 2014 would run $860/month for the same insurance. Because I was unwilling to pay that differential I decided to go without medical coverage until October of 2015 when I could start receiving my social security pay outs which would cover the increased costs. Fine, I made a decision to take this path. When I fell and severely fractured my left radius and ulna in March of 2015 and ultimately ended up spending almost $48,000 for orthopedic surgery and all the associated I understood I had made a decision to gamble and failed. So be it; I believe in accepting responsibilities for one’s actions. But to this day I cannot escape the fact that I wouldn’t have been in the position of having to make such a decision if the rules hadn’t been changed. So I must ask again; why shouldn’t I be fed up?
The more I read – I’ve given up on video newscasts as all are biased in some direction and unabashedly pushing their own agendas – the more frustrated I have become. Our once proud and strong country’s soul has been sacrificed on the dystopian altar of ‘political correctness’. While I eschew the nonsense sweeping colleges regarding censoring literature if it contains anything someone might find offensive and rewriting history if it is at all controversial I also see the roots of said ‘nonsense’ in the political correctness wave which really started back in the late 80’s. What a surprise we raised a generation terrified of offending anyone or anything; if I lived like that I’d need a ‘safe space’ on a regular basis as well! Of course one might wonder why all this censorship is acceptable in the first place but then one would have to be able to think critically and have a sense of history; our higher education system has worked diligently to insure these abilities are not taught to the masses. Once again; why shouldn’t I be fed up?
Truth no longer has any merit and for this we can largely thank the deviants we’ve allowed to hijack our political and legal systems. Everyone has seen some politician suddenly take a stand wildly divergent from something they stood for in the past yet they will deny it even when there is video tape of them saying or doing it. And we can thank the morally bankrupt lawyers for allowing spin (“I did not have sexual relations with that woman..!”) and falsifications (‘the attack on our Libyan embassy was the result of an anti-Muslim movie just released’) to become acceptable in courts or in explaining their client’s aberrant behavior. But wait..! Ultimately ‘we the people’ have somehow embraced the concept of unaccountability; if some CEO or politician bald-face lies to the public as a group we’re okay with not holding them accountable..?!? When Obama said ‘you can keep your current doctor’ during the Obamacare debacle and then we discovered this was known to be false even before he publicly claimed this to be the case why didn’t we rise up and demand accountability? Because we’ve swallowed the whole ‘everyone makes mistakes’ line of reasoning, which is completely true, but in so doing we’ve taken it to a new low. Sure, we are all human and we do make mistakes but the vital foundation to this concept we’ve discarded are the need for us to take responsibility for our actions and learn from our errors. Given this why shouldn’t I be fed up?
Sadly I could continue this litany for days but I believe I’ve made my points. As a world we’re awash in this ill-conceived and downright dangerous concept of political correctness, as a country we’ve lost the ability to think critically, to remember and learn from our history and to separate right from wrong. This does not bode well for our collective futures. As a race humans have so very much in common; why, then, is it so hard to find even just a few of these commonalities in today’s world? Could it be there are a multitude of power bases that do not want this to happen because polarized, divided people are more easily controlled and manipulated? Some will say this is just paranoid conspiracy drivel and I most certainly cannot count this interpretation out but I’m also not convinced it can be so easily dismissed. In fact, I could make a case that I’m just an aging American who cannot keep up with all the ongoing changes and feels threatened by the ‘New World Order’. But herein lies something important that is largely missing from so many of our perceptions; at least I’m willing to think critically about what is happening around me, to compare the lessons of history to our present situations and to wonder at the causes and solutions. Yes, it can be frustrating and it does take time and effort but given the current desperate times this seems like the only intelligent effort one can make. Because in a world gone barmy with ISIS openly killing ‘infidels’, with ‘social justice’ running roughshod over the Constitution and individual’s rights, with major world powers sizing up a weakened America and taking actions to benefit themselves we cannot afford to get our next steps wrong. Or maybe these are just the railings of an elderly man bewildered by all the change surrounding him. Regardless…why shouldn’t I be fed up?
“Give me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.”
So, the question is “What can you change?”.
I wonder that myself.
I love ‘The Serenity Prayer’ and it’s a favorite aphorism of mine as well! I’m still caught up in trying to decide if what’s ongoing is just the ‘progress’ that’s inherent to human beings or if we, as a race in general and as the American people in particular, are seeing something completely aberrant. If the former than my aging is shifting my perceptions and my willingness to embrace growth and change. This, while not being something I’d like to ‘own’, is still better than if something nefarious and dystopian is underway. I cannot help but remember so many elderly folks looking at me and my friends in college in the early 70’s and thinking we represented the end of civilization; that what we talked about and dreamed of were nonsensical fantasies. In many instances they were spot on; that’s at least partly due to the wisdom of age. Yet the world evolved from the seventies into decades of relative wealth and progress so we were not the ‘seeds of doom’ so many believed. I do not want my own resistance to change coupled with discomfort regarding growth based on my aging to be a major influence in my outlooks and thought processes. Yet I find concepts like ‘political correctness’ to be truly dangerous and I have very bad feelings regarding social justice which I see as a covert means to redistribute wealth and power. I’m also a bit unsure as to my role in all of this; it is this arena where the prayer is so fundamental. I often want to just kinda turn a blind eye to all the mayhem and anger that’s the world right now and just live out my last few years in blessed ignorance in semi-rural south central Alaska doing what I want. But somehow that feels like I’m ‘selling out’. I have no progeny and my family is now even further removed from my day to day existence because of the distances so I lack even the impetus of wanting things to be better for my children. And then it finally comes back to the idea of having the courage to accept there are so many things I cannot change along with the strength and courage to make the changes I can but most importantly the wisdom to recognize the difference. As you mentioned; this is something I really find myself wondering in so many ways…
Bill I believe the root cause of your burgeoning frustration is that you have not given over to the realization that your have become an Alaskan not only in the physical sense but the metaphorical one. Most true Alaskans see life and the world in a different light, the light of freedom and common sense. Most of us live a basic existence and can see that the world (and Juneau too), outside Alaska has totally lost its mind.
It is time for your to embrace you inner curmudgeon and set him free
and you will find life here is good,
(except of course when we write about everywhere else).
Hey Pete – THANKS for the enormous compliment!! And thanks again for the insight; I never really thought about my slow transition but after you highlighted it I’ve spent some time just considering your words and they ring so true. While I suspect age has a bit to do with my slowly developing resistance to accept things as they are I also know that two and a half years living exclusively in semi-rural south central Alaska has greatly accelerated my sense of disbelief at the world outside of Alaska. Or, most of Alaska, as I agree Juneau is flaky and then there’s Anchorage that really doesn’t even seem to be part of ‘The Last Frontier’. While I was generally known as someone who didn’t gladly suffer fools while living in the lower 48 I know my tolerance for what I now view as borderline lunacy regarding life in the lower 48 has become vanishingly small. I cannot imagine living in that mess even though I spent 59+ years doing just that; when I hear what’s going on or talk to my friends and family there’s a part of me that just stands in total dis-belief that I once called that existence ‘my life’! I’ve never wanted to allow age to make me inflexible and removed from life but if said ‘life’ is what I read or hear about in the lower 48 than I’m more than happy to remain ensconced just outside the quirky village of Talkeetna dealing with mosquitoes, tourists and moose. And I want no part of the mayhem and ludicrous PC drenched ‘reality’ of life in the lower 48. Indeed, it didn’t really even take two years of living up here for me to come to the realization at least part of the reason I was viewed as having a negative outlook and being irritable and unsettled across the first five decades of my life was simply because I was living in a world I just could not fathom and come to grips with in terms of day to day life. In hindsight I needed to live up here to escape that nonsense and finally establish a reality much closer to my heart and soul!