Tom McLaughlin

A former history teacher, Tom is a columnist who lives in Lovell, Maine. His column is published in Maine and New Hampshire newspapers and on numerous web sites. Email:

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

When In Rome...

Me and Riley at St. Peter's Square

It’s a long way from Lovell, Maine to Rome, Italy. After traveling for thirty hours, we arrived exhausted at our rented condominium outside the Eternal City Saturday afternoon about 3:00 pm local time. We dropped our fifteen-year-old grandson, Riley, for nap, while my wife and I shopped for groceries. We cooked, ate, and all went to bed early. Sunday morning, we took the Metro (subway) into the city and learned how to get the Colisseum and the Vatican. I didn’t expect to run into anyone I knew, but I recognized a guy just outside the colonnade around St. Peter’s Square and called to him.
That's Michael Voris in the middle

His name is Michael Voris, but he didn’t know me. I knew him because does an online show called “The Vortex” out of Detroit on Church Militant TV, a web-based subscription video service for conservative Catholics and I’d seen several episodes sent to me by a fan of my column. He is a hard-hitting, Emmy Award winning journalist who ruffles feathers in the American Catholic Church and he’s in Rome covering the Synod on the Family. He told me he would be posting his first report Monday and he did, calling it the “Sodomy Synod.” He believes there is a cabal within the Catholic Church that wants to bring it around to approving homosexuality and is using the synod as its vehicle to accomplish that. It’s going to be an interesting month watching his coverage and comparing it with what is shown in American Mainstream Media.
Carly Fiorina

I had a telephone interview with Carly Fiorina scheduled for Friday morning, just before we left on the first leg of the trip. My plan was to transcribe it on the red eye flight but the recording equipment I brought to our South Portland, Maine house failed and I had to postpone until after I return to Lovell. I’m glad to see my fellow Americans are responding positively to Fiorina’s campaign and she’s moved up to second in the polls. Italy is nice, but the longer I’m here, the more American I feel, and I still keep an eye on what’s happening back home.
Inside St. Peter's Basilica

Sunday’s commute in and out of Rome was easy, but Monday’s wasn’t. Rush hour here is worse than Boston, but we arrived in time for our pre-paid tour of the Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica. All were impressive, especially St. Peter’s. We had to be silent in the Sistine Chapel and couldn’t take pictures, but prior to going in our guide told us much about Botticelli, Michelangelo, and others hired by various popes to decorate. Although I paid for a small-group, skip-the-line tour, we all felt like cattle being moved along through narrow passageways competing for space and oxygen with other groups speaking different languages. It was noisy, and we were given receivers with ear plugs ostensibly to overcome ambient noise and hear our English-speaking guide, but they didn’t work well for me. I could understand only 5-10% of what she said because of her Italian accent and the static. It didn’t help that I had to take the hearing aid out of my left ear to insert her earpiece. I felt claustrophobic and oxygen-deprived throughout - even in the huge St. Peter’s Basilica.
Still, I’m very glad we went. It was the best I could afford, and now we’ve seen it. I came away with many impressions, not the least of which was that it’s all way too ostentatious and decadent. I admire Pope Francis for rejecting the palatial quarters traditional for popes and taking a simple room elsewhere. I admire him for using a small Fiat during his recent American visit. I don’t admire his comments about capitalism, climate change, air conditioning, and other things but I like that he is toning down the opulence. It’s way over the top and has been for centuries.
Taking the Metro home on a business day was more than a trip. After being moved through the Vatican like sheep, we experienced the anarchy of the Roman subway system. Many of the cars arrived covered in graffiti inside and out. Getting on and off required some muscle to hold our own against those who would elbow us aside trying to squeeze into a car before the doors closed and I had to make sure all three of us were inside. Then we rode like sardines holding on to the supports as the cars accelerated and slowed down between stops.
 Next to me in Metro subway car

It all reminded me why I don’t like big cities, but we’ll do it all again tomorrow for the Colisseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill Tour. More about that next week.

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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Republicans Worse Than Democrats

Count me with the 62% who feel betrayed by the Republican Party. Two out of three Republicans believe the Republican Congress “has not done anything to stop the Obama agenda,” according to a recent Fox News poll. And the pundits wonder why outsiders like Donald Trump, Ben Carson, and Carly Fiorina are doing so well?
Born a Boston-Irish-Catholic-Democrat, I became a former-Democrat around 1993. I resigned from the party and became an independent. I’d register Republican just before a primary so I could vote, and resign from it when the voting was over. After a while, I’d forget to resign, so I guess I’m still in the book as a member of the GOP but I have little enthusiasm for it. When John Crybaby Boehner resigned last week as Speaker of the House, I said, “Yes!” and did a fist-pump. Then I waited for Mitch McConnell to follow, but so far he hasn’t.
Lately I see Republicans as worse than Democrats. At least Democrats admit they want to keep their socialist, tax-and-spend, head-for-bankruptcy policies going to the bitter end. They’re honest about it. Republicans like Boehner and McConnell say they want to cut spending, say they want to repeal Obamacare, say they want to defund Planned Parenthood, say they want to stop illegal immigration, but do they really? Uh-uh. They just want to seem like they do so they can keep their jobs.
It’s either that or they don’t have any courage. They’re deathly afraid of being blamed for shutting down the government if they cut funding for Planned Parenthood’s used-baby-parts industry. Their knees shake worrying that the mainstream media will call them racist if they oppose President Obama. They’ll fund the war on babies to avoid allegations they’re waging a war on women.
Planned Parenthood is America’s biggest abortionist. They dismember more than 300,000 babies a year — one every 90 seconds. Yes, they also pass out birth control and do breast examinations, but there are countless other local health clinics that do that. Give them the money instead. President Obama supports Planned Parenthood because it dismembers babies, which he euphemistically calls “women’s health.” It’s all about abortion.
Now over to the current budget crisis. The Constitution requires Congress to pass budget. After watching the Planned Parenthood videos, the Republican majority in Congress wants to stop sending Planned Parenthood $500 million every year. The president promised to veto any budget or continuing resolution without it. If he does that, government shuts down. So here’s the question: how come it’s Congress’s fault? It’s the president’s veto that shuts down the government. If the mainstream media then blames Republicans in control of Congress for the shutdown, why not point out that it was the president’s veto that made it happen?
“Yeah, but the president said he would veto any bill that doesn’t contain funding for Planned Parenthood!” they’ll yell, “And Congress went right ahead and passed one, so it’s Congress’s fault!” The mainstream media are a Ministry of Propaganda for Democrats. “The president staked out his position and the Congress deliberately crossed him!” They’ll declare. “It’s all their fault!” So just on this one issue, it’s plain that Republican leadership defers to the president. They let him set the boundaries of what can be done and what cannot because they’re afraid of the media. That’s what enrages the Republican base, myself included.
Then there’s the Iran nuclear deal. It’s actually a treaty, and the Constitution requires a two-thirds vote of the Senate to approve it, so a confrontation between the Republican-controlled Senate and President Obama loomed. What did Mitch McConnell do? He supported a bill that called it an “agreement” instead of a treaty, that would require a two-thirds majority to stop! That meant Democrats only had to come up with 34 votes instead of 67! Republicans could have stopped the deal but, again, they wimped out, betraying their base.
Among the Republican candidates for president, one who seems to understand how the base feels is Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal. At the little CNN debate preceding the main event, he said if the Republican majority cannot send a bill to the president cutting Planned Parenthood funding, it’s “time to get rid of the Republican Party!” When Boehner announced his resignation as House Speaker, Jindal was speaking at the Value Voters Summit in Washington. His response? “That’s one down, [and] 434 more to go,” Jindal told the crowd to loud applause. “Folks, it is time to fire everybody in D.C. and the reason I’m saying that is, right now, we’ve got a choice between honest socialists on one side and lying conservatives on the other,” he said. “Mitch McConnell, it’s now your turn!”
Get rid of the entire Congress and start over? Not likely to happen, but a movement to do so would certainly shake it up. I’m for it.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Carry Your Own Water, Mr. President

I wouldn’t have thought much about it until the mainstream media went into high dudgeon. It’s been interesting to watch feeding frenzy over what Donald Trump should have said when a questioner maintained President Obama was a Muslim. “He should have corrected the questioner!” they insisted. Trump said he has no obligation to defend Obama, and he’s right. Methinks the media protesteth too much. Chuck Todd continued to gnaw that bone when interviewing Trump on “Meet The Press” last Sunday morning. George Stephanopoulos worked it over on his program too.
Various polls have shown that as many as 54% of Republicans, 26% of Independents, and even 10% of Democrats think Obama is Muslim. Let’s review some of the possible reasons so many Americans believe this, shall we?
Obama’s father was Muslim. His stepfather was Muslim. He registered as Muslim when he went to a Muslim school in Indonesia. Back then his name was Barry Soetoro. As an adult, he decided to change it and go by Barack Hussein Obama, a distinctly Muslim-sounding name. Yet whenever conservatives dared to so much as utter the middle name Obama himself chose, the mainstream media went ballistic. Even John McCain chastised one of his hosts for referring to his opponent as “Barack Hussein Obama.”
When being interviewed by George Stephanopoulos back in 2008, Obama slipped, and said: “You’re absolutely right that John McCain has not talked about my Muslim faith…” at which point Stephanopoulos interjected: “my Christian faith,” and Obama dutifully repeated as Stephanopoulos instructed: “…my Christian faith.”
In 2008, when the Hillary Clinton campaign was accused of circulating a picture of Obama wearing Muslim clothing, Obama objected, saying, “[People were] saddened when they see these kind of politics.” Obama had visited Kenya in 2006 and tried on some Muslim garb, but so what? Why get all excited when a picture emerged? Why would anyone be “saddened”? Why should the picture have been kept hidden? No reason, unless he was trying to hide something.
As for Obama’s Christian bona fides? Well, President Obama said he attended the Reverend Wright’s United Church of Christ in Chicago for twenty years. He said Wright performed his wedding and baptized his two children. Yet when videotape emerged of antisemitic, racist sermons Wright delivered in that church, including one in which he yelled: “No-no-no! Not God bless America — God damn America!” Obama claimed he was shocked and never heard of Wright saying any such thing. When challenged on this, Obama said, "I don't think my church is actually particularly controversial,” and the Reverend Wright "is like an old uncle who says things I don't always agree with.”
Not particularly controversial? As a lifelong Christian, I can’t say I’ve ever known one who wouldn’t be shocked to hear sermons like that in any church. For him to excuse Wright that way would kindle doubt about just what kind of Christian Obama considers himself to be. The Reverend Wright’s outrageous exclamations sound more like they come from a radical imam in an Iranian mosque than from a pastor of a Christian church in America.
President Obama issues presidential proclamations for all Muslim holidays, including this one on Ramadan from 2011:

On behalf of the American people, Michelle and I want to extend our best wishes to Muslims in America and around the world. Ramadan Kareem. Ramadan is a time when Muslims around the world reflect upon the wisdom and guidance that comes with faith…
There was, however, no Easter proclamation that year and Christians across the country objected. Since then Obama has issued Easter proclamations, but he had to be prodded. People notice this and it’s no wonder opinion polls reflect doubt about the veracity of what Obama claims his religion to be. They also remember statements like: “If you like your policy, you can keep your policy, period,” as well as others now too numerous to count. They’ve learned that lying comes easily to President Obama.
Islam would consider Obama to be Muslim because both his father and the stepfather who adopted him were Muslim. According to Daniel Pipes, an Islam specialist and president of the Middle East Forum

Islam is a patrilineal religion: In Islam, the father passes his faith to the children, and when a Muslim man has children with a non-Muslim woman, Islam considers those children Muslim. Mr. Obama’s grandfather and father having been Muslims — the extent of their piety matters not at all — means that in Muslim eyes, Mr. Obama was born a Muslim.”
I’ve seen no record of Obama ever renouncing his Muslim faith. To do so would make him an apostate, an offense punishable by death according to Islamic law. I don't know if the president is Muslim or not, but it's not unreasonable for people to suspect he is. Donald Trump is absolutely correct. Obama has to defend himself when accusations like this come up. It’s not up to anyone else. It’s his job, but he sits back and lets the mainstream media do it instead.

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Monday, September 14, 2015

Visit Europe While It Lasts

All roads lead to Rome and that’s where I’m going in a couple of weeks with my wife and grandson. I booked the trip before my son died in June, and part of me is sorry I did because I don’t have as much enthusiasm for it since he passed. This grieving process is sapping my strength. Hopefully that enthusiasm will return when we all get there. The trip is paid for and I’ll make the best of it.
Our 14-year-old grandson, Riley, already knows quite a lot about Rome and he’ll be fun to have along with the eternal city and its environs being so saturated in history. I also know that Italy is changing fast and it may not exist in its present form much longer. All of Europe is being transformed by a Muslim invasion and by decades of socialism, so much so that many refer to it as “post-Christian.” Many churches, for example, are being sold off and reopened as mosques. The Eurozone is paralyzed by welfare states full of dependents and pensioners they can no longer afford.
Hagia Sophia became the Blue Mosque

For months I’ve tried to book a personal guide. Several were recommended by friends who have been to Rome and given me contact information for them, but they don’t get back to me. Last week I contacted the Lewiston, Maine travel agency that booked our Israel trip to see if it would give me a contact. A woman there said she’s not surprised at the lack of response because “that’s how they are in Italy; they procrastinate.” I’ve given up on a personal guide so now I’m booking small-group tours of the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s, the Coliseum, the Forum, and so forth.
One of Rome's hop on/hop off busses

Happily, I saw on Trip Advisor that Rome has a “hop-on, hop-off” bus system. When visiting Dublin, that was a great way to spend the first day — on the open upper deck listening to the bus driver wittily describe what we were seeing as we passed by. Unhappily however, I read reviews of Rome’s “hop-on, hop-off” busses and they were dismal. “Stay away!” and “Don’t bother!” and “You’re better off walking!” said virtually all commenters who had happily used them in other European cities. Rome is different, they said. Employees are rude; the busses are dirty and disorganized. Forty-five-minute waits at bus stops are the norm.
Dark clouds over Rome, again?

A July article in the UK Telegraph said: “The Eternal City is facing crisis, with its administration engulfed in corruption scandals and debt, its roads scarred by pot-holes, the main airport partially closed and a growing immigration crisis… ‘Rome is on the verge of collapse,’ Giancarlo Cremonesi, the president of the Rome Chamber of Commerce, told Reuters. ‘It is unacceptable that a major city which calls itself developed can find itself in such a state of decay.’”
My wife Roseann at her grandfather's house in Greece

Last year my wife and I toured Greece with her family. While her grandfather’s village in the Peloponnese seemed in fine shape, the rest of the country looked like a basket case teetering on bankruptcy. In Athens, graffiti covered nearly every vertical surface reachable by a vandal with a spray can. Across the countryside, abandoned construction projects were everywhere. After we left, Greeks elected a left-wing government which said to the EU: We don’t plan to pay back the billions you’ve already lent us, and we demand you lend us more! Italy and Spain, also on the brink, watched to see if the EU [European Union] would cave in to Greek demands. It did. How long can countries in southern Europe spend beyond their means? How long will northern Europe keep bailing them out?
Where it stops, nobody knows

We plan to spend most of our time touring sites in the city, but I rented a car and we will go into the Italian countryside for at least a couple of days. I want to get a feel for the country and the only way to do that is to go off the beaten track. So-called refugees from Africa and the Middle East are flocking into Italy, which is trying to get other European countries to take them. Pope Francis is asking every Catholic parish to accept a family, but there seems to be few of them — 80% of the wave of “migrants” making news lately are young men in their 20s and 30s. There are very few women and children or elderly. Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic are suspicious. Most are said to be of “fighting age” and ISIS said its fighters were among them. Many rejected food aid because it came in boxes with Red Crosses.
I’ll be asking ordinary Italians their opinions. I suspect they’re much like ordinary Americans concerning illegal immigrants here: They don’t agree with the elites.

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Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Has Everyone Gone Crazy?

“If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs…” was a tool Rudyard Kipling used to measure a man in the early 20th century. I think he’d agree that in the 21st century, it has gotten much harder. A few examples:

One — The “smartest guy ever to become president” is pushing a peace agreement with Iran, the biggest terrorist nation on earth. We’re about to release $150 billion Iran will use to perpetrate even more terrorism against us and our allies. Our wicked-smart president tells us not to worry when over a million Iranians chant “Death to America!” and “Death to Israel!” because they don’t really mean it. Iranian leaders promise to “wipe Israel off the map” but they don’t mean that either.

Two — A local Maine daily showed a picture of a woman with a buzz cut and wide eyes with a confused and profoundly troubled expression. A sane person senses immediately she’s mentally ill and she’d just been arrested for murder. As the Portland Press Herald reported it:

Police said MacCalister saw Wendy Boudreau [her victim] in the parking lot and followed her into the store. In the ice cream aisle, he grabbed Boudreau from behind and slit the woman’s throat, Kennedy wrote. Others in the store then responded to screams. Alexandra Gogos, who works in the Shaw’s bakery, ran to the scene and tried to stop Boudreau’s bleeding. Gogos asked MacCalister, “Why? Why did you do this?”
MacCalister replied, “She looked at me funny.”
Another witness who responded to Boudreau’s screams, Benjamin Williams, also asked MacCalister, “Why?”
“I’m off my meds,” he said. “She looked at me wrong.”

Victim Wendy Boudreau
I feel bad for Boudreau’s family, of course, and for MacCalister as well. She’s haunted by mental illness, but the saddest part is how the media call her “he.” MacCalister “presents” as a man, so we’re all expected to go along, even when we consider her sexual confusion another dimension of her mental illness. If she “presented” as Napoleon, would the media then call her “Emperor”?

The York County sheriff said he can’t decide whether to house MacCalister with men or women. I have some advice for him: Your instincts tell you MacCalister is a woman, sheriff. Trust them. Don’t let the PC Thought Police convince you that you’re wrong or you’ll become just as crazy as they are.
Prosthetics for UK prisoners

Three — That’s already happened to jailers in the UK. They have to call men “Miss” when male prisoners are sexually confused, or pretending to be. Such prisoners are also to be provided with prosthetic breasts and prosthetic female genitalia they can strap on. While normal prisoners are required to wear prison uniforms, “inmates who wish to transgender may wear high heels, lingerie, dresses, wigs, make-up, nail polish, suits and ties, and other body coverings as well as,” according to and the UK Telegraph. Do you suppose some of those cons could be con artists? UK taxpayers must also fund “gender re-assignment” surgery and hormone treatments. Massachusetts taxpayers are too in that very blue state to our south. Our colleges and universities — schools at all levels — are teaching that “gender” is fluid and can change on a whim, also with our tax money.

All of which reminds me of another British thinker, George Orwell, who pointed out that: “Some ideas are so stupid that only intellectuals believe them.”

Four — All this craziness is having an effect. In the UK, for instance, the International Business Times reports that half of 18-24 demographic say they’re not exclusively heterosexual, while those in older demographics have traditional tastes. This plays against the carefully constructed leftist narrative that “gay” people are born that way — which they insist is the case even though scientific evidence to support it is slim or none.
About 3500 students passed through my classroom during my 36-year teaching career, including my own children. I heard about their former classmates who had claimed to be homosexual in high school or college and lived that lifestyle. Sometimes I was surprised and sometimes I wasn’t, but then I learned several were wrong about their homosexuality and ultimately married people of the opposite sex. Now they’re happily raising families.
Five — Leftist members of our Supreme Court recently claimed to find a right for people of the same sex to marry in our Constitution and are imposing it nationwide — no matter that millions and millions of Americans believe homosexuality unnatural and sinful, along with every major religion on earth for millennia. Kim Davis, a clerk in Kentucky, refused to issue a marriage license to homosexuals on religious grounds and went to jail for it. Even though another clerk issued the license, Davis remains in jail at this writing.
Kipling also said you’re doing well when: can bear to hear the truth you've spoken 
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools, 
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken, 
And stoop and build'em up with worn-out tools.

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Monday, August 31, 2015

What's the Attraction?

Looking, as he does, like Mussolini with an orange pompadour, I found it hard to take Donald Trump seriously. For the past few months, however, I’ve been watching, fascinated, as he deals with criticism from members of our media elite who have long taken themselves too seriously.

He deals with them as a parent might deal with a confused adolescent, and I have to say I’m beginning to like him. He baffled NBC’s Chuck Todd on Meet The Press last week when he said about illegal immigrants: “They have to go.”

Todd interrupted him saying: “So, you’re going to split up families…”

“Chuck,” said Trump, but Todd interrupted again, saying “You’re going to deport children?”

“No, no,” said Trump. “We’re going to keep families together. We have to keep the families together.”

Todd interrupted again. “But you’re going to keep them together — out?”

“They have to go,” repeated Trump.

“What if they have no place to go?” said Todd, interrupting yet again.

“Chuck,” said Trump — this time putting his hand on Todd’s arm in an attempt to get him to stop interrupting, “We’ll work with them, [but] they have to go. Either we have a country or we don’t have a country.”
And there it was — a simple, common-sense statement that summed up the whole issue. Either we have a country or we don’t have a country. That’s how Trump is. He speaks extemporaneously. He doesn’t travel with a teleprompter like our dear leader in the White House. He doesn’t read speeches prepared by others. He doesn’t work from note cards. He talks. He explains. When questioned he comes back with real answers, not equivocations.
Pundits on both the left and the right are baffled. They said Trump’s popularity was a flash in the pan and he would soon flame out. I thought so too, but he hasn’t. During the first debate, the three moderators from Fox News were loaded for bear and they blasted him from the starting gun, but he hung in there and even started turning it around on them. That was when I realized what was happening.
Trump’s growing support is not unlike the phenomenon we called “The Tea Party” a few years ago. That same exasperation with Washington is out there, but now it is without a name. Trump’s support is made up of people who are sick of the status quo. They elected a House Republican majority, then a Senate Republican majority, but those Republicans aren’t doing anything to stop our runaway government the way they promised they would. They’re right in it with the Democrats.
What the Tea Party got from the Republican Establishment

If there’s one thing the federal government is supposed to do, it is to police our borders — prevent invasion. But we have been invaded by more than 30 million illegal aliens and neither political party is doing anything stop it. They believe Trump will, and they’re getting behind him.
Standing in Nogales, AZ looking across border

Five years ago, I went down to the Mexican border to see for myself what was going on. I rented a jeep and drove along our side of the fence in Nogales, Arizona. The first Border Patrol Agent I spoke to was from Lisbon Falls, Maine and he confirmed to me that the chaos I saw was just how it was down there all the time. He warned me that it wasn’t safe for me to even be there, and I was standing on American soil!
About a month later I was invited to voice a conservative viewpoint on a local [New Hampshire] television show. “Do you represent the Tea Party?” the host asked me.

“No,” I said. “The Tea Party is an amorphous group without official leaders or representatives or any real organizational structure, but my views are representative.” Then I explained that we believe the Constitution is being ignored by the federal government, which is seizing too much power and needs to be cut back.
Whatever the movement comes to be called this election cycle, it’s already having a huge impact on the presidential race. Templates used to analyze past races don’t apply to this one, and pundits are baffled. Republicans are led by Trump, but right behind him is another non-politician: neurosurgeon Ben Carson. Behind him, non-politician and former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina is rising steadily.
Over on the Democrat side, it’s all senators and a governor, but perceived as an outsider because he’s a socialist, Bernie Sanders is coming on strong. One thing he has in common with Trump? He says what he thinks and eschews professional handlers. Ordinary people in the “way down here” like that because they’re sick of political rhetoric. The pundits are still shaking their heads over how Maine Governor Paul LePage ever got reelected. He’s another guy who says what he thinks and people like that. He also does things, his favorite motto being: “When all is said and done, a whole lot more is said than done.”

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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Socialist Dreamers Still With Us

As a boy, I recall noticing something in the eyes of older people. It was a kind of acceptance, a wisdom, often a kindness habitually bestowed on kids like me because I reminded them of their own children and grandchildren. Growing up, we were taught to respect our elders, but that usually came naturally. Unlike people my parents’ age, they had time to talk, to answer questions. They had patience. They’d had children, grandchildren, and sometimes great-grandchildren, but average life expectancy was lower then and it was relatively rare to know one’s great-grandchildren.
My grandson Riley with his great-grandfather

As an adult, when people my parents’s age were elderly, that respect continued. They were the World War II generation, all of them touched by that war in some way whether they were in uniform or worrying about relatives who were. They’d known deprivation during the Depression as well as the suffering of war. They’d had decades to reflect on all that and it showed in their eyes. They’d long ago come to accept that the world was imperfect and always would be. They were proud of their country and grateful to have been born here.
As an older person myself now, I still see that elderly wisdom in some of my contemporaries, but not nearly to the extent I did in previous generations. Too many have carried an adolescent petulance through adulthood, middle age, and well into retirement. They have not accepted the world as it is and continue to carry a peevishness because they haven’t been able to make it perfect. They blame “corporate America” and “the rich” and “the Republicans,” thinking if it weren’t for them, we’d all be living in a utopia by now.
Many in my generation eschewed parenthood because of the commitment and the sacrifice it involved, because it cut into their endless quest to “find themselves.” They’re old, bald, pot-bellied, wrinkled and gray now. The look in their eyes mirrors a hollowness, a sense they have not found themselves after a lifetime of looking, and now lack the energy to continue the search. They seem to lack the serenity and wisdom I perceived in the eyes of most of the elderly when I was a child. They don’t take to children easily because they chose not to have any. Some who did had only one for whom they didn’t set up a stable household, drifting from partner to partner and dragging the child along. They’re responsible for many of the 55-60 million abortions in America since 1973. Some of them did finally grow up, but too many others did not.
They lived in a country that protected individual freedom enough for them to indulge nearly every whim, but they have little sense of history. They don’t seem to realize or appreciate that they lived most of their lives in a time and place of unprecedented security and prosperity during the post-WWII Pax Americana. They’re oblivious to the barbarity prevailing in the Middle East, north and central Africa, and just across our border in Mexico, not realizing such chaos has been more the norm than the exception for most in the world throughout history. To preserve their freedom, their fathers fought National Socialism in Germany, then endured the Cold War during which the communist dictatorship that was the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics murdered 40-60 million. Communist China killed even more — during the lifetime of narcissistic baby boomers. Did they learn anything from all this? They don’t appear to have.
Their historical ignorance disposes them to magnify flaws in their own country, onto which they project their own. They voted to reelect the closet socialist President Obama who would continue to “fundamentally transform” the United States. Now they flock to the rallies of Senator Bernie Sanders because he “came out” as a socialist long ago. Despite the horrific record of socialist governments elsewhere in the world before and during their own lifetimes, they still believe socialism can work if only the “right” people run it. In the imagined utopia they expect will result, they hope to finally “find themselves.”
The Big Rock Candy Mountain

Will they? Not according to the evidence, but their endless quest will continue to weaken the country they disdain, because for them the perfect is the enemy of the good. They cannot accept that there will never be a perfect world this side of heaven. Their grandparents’ generation my have sung “The Big Rock Candy Mountain” along with Burl Ives, but they didn’t actually believe it existed. They accepted that neither human beings nor any political system they fashioned would be flawless. Baby boomers, however, continue to look for “the land of mild and honey, where a bum can stay for many a day, and he won’t need any money.”

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