What are you doing to help this country?

Today, I am writing a blog.  some people may read it.  Then I will be so happy because my little view graphs will have a growing line on it.  Then I will think to myself, look what I have done today!   I am well on my way to being a pundit, or maybe just making some people say “Right on!” and some others say something not quite as nice.

What can I do today to help this country?  Well, I suppose I could go out, find a job, earn income and support the country with my taxes.  But that isn’t very glamorous.  I probably won’t be able to get big write-ups in the paper, and maybe hobnob with big stars and celebrities.  I probably won’t be invited to speak a weekend rallies.  I probably won’t have people wooing me for endorsements.  But is that what will really help this country?

I already see the new Ann Coulter promoting herself on Facebook.  She’s got a lot going for her.  Bright, attractive, young.  She is much better than I at the two minute sound bite.  She has a ton of sponsors.  She is well on her way.  Of course, she is appealing to the young audience, telling them that they should listen to her because she is one of them–a baby.  “Don’t trust anyone over 30?  Here I am, I’m not even close to 30.  So you can trust me.”

I woke up today, and I felt like a dinosaur.  All around me are the stories of how us 50-somethings have got to start preparing for our imminent transition into full dinosaurhood.   I mean, any day, now, I can expect a few heart attacks, maybe some gout, lack of continence, drop in testosterone–it’s pretty much time for me to fall apart.  Then the young turks can talk to me with that condescending voice that all young people pull out for the geriatric set.

What do old fossils like me have to offer young people?  The answer is:  history.   I was alive during the Cuban Missile Crisis. I listened to Bobby Kenedy and Richard Nixon.  I lived through the wage-price freezes, gas lines, scores of terrorist attacks and hostage situations.  I experienced the rebirth of a nation under Reagan and outlived the Cold War.  Yes, you can read about those things now.  But who is going to write the story?   Sometimes, digging out news articles from the past doesn’t really tell the story or the real facts behind them.  History is revisionist.

President Kennedy once said, “Ask not what the country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”  When we ask the country to do for us, we become a drain on society.  We take instead of contribute.  When we do for the country, we strengthen the country.  There are a lot of intellectuals in this country.  We have raised an army of intellectuals.  But intellectuals don’t harvest crops, or build cars, or build houses, or supply consumers’ needs.  It reminds me of the story of the fisher.

There was a man who got very good at fishing.  He was so good, that a local group invited him to talk about fishing.  After he finished his talk, the local people decided to open a school of fishing and invited the fisher to become the president.  So he opened the school, and got other fishers to come help teach about fishing.  The school attracted a lot of people who wanted to learn how to fish.  They soon graduated, and decided to get PhD’s in fishing.  So the fisher opened a doctoral department and began teaching advanced fishing.  The young fishers took their doctorates and opened up their own schools to teach fishing.  Soon, millions of people were working on fishing degrees.

What happened in the end?  Everyone starved.  Since no one actually fished, nobody could eat.  All the professors lost their jobs and had to beg for food.  Many died of hunger.  The fisher had to close down all his schools and go back to fishing.  He bought a boat and started to catch fish.  Soon, others were following him.  They prospered.  But many were not going to stoop to such a thing, so they begged those who were fishing to help them out.  Soon, the government decided to collect all the fish, in order to distribute them evenly.  The fishers could no longer afford to fish, so they stopped fishing.

Soon, there were no fish left for anyone.  So the government decided to borrow fish from people across the sea.  That worked for a couple of years, until the people across the sea had no fish either.  Then there was a world famine.  So they ate the intellectuals and the government officials and everyone started fishing.  And they lived happily ever after.  I’m going to fish, er, go to work now.

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