Like Benjamin Button, I am aging backwards – at least politically.
As one ages, supposedly one’s politics become more conservative. While I voted Republican for many years, I now find myself – two years into Trump’s Presidency – wondering how or why I ever could.
Perhaps it was spending too many years in the lower level echelons of staff management positions in corporate America. Most especially in my days at Pacific Gas and Electric in media relations and other PR positions.
While the company certainly courted politicians of both parties (I was among a group of PG&Eers to have drinks with John Kerry in a San Francisco hotel bar one evening), during the 80’s when I worked there, the internal political preference was decidedly Republican.
For example, the SF Corporate Communications group was in awe of itself at being able to claim Caspar Weinberger’s daughter on staff. I don’t think it would have mattered if she put in a lick of work or not, they were just so happy to cite the association.
But when I think back on what the GOP itself really stood for in terms of policy and practice, it didn’t match my id on social justice issues, especially after the Tea Party came to power.
But then again, I was more busy living my own life than in thinking about the fate of the world back then. Decency and democratic ideals did not seem quite so imperiled as they do today.
Even Reagan could use the words “shining city on a hill” and sound genuine about it.
I also wasn’t active on Twitter. It has put me back in touch with my journalistic roots. I take personal offense when Trump calls the media “enemies of the people,” even though my press credentials from California show them to be from 30+ years ago.
It was a time in my life when I felt what I was doing – even in the journalistic microcosm of a community newspaper – counted for something larger than myself. It felt like I was of service, the way I do now in my Ministry outreach work through Church.
My personal idealism feels revived and more akin to how I saw life as an 18-year-old embarking on adulthood. I feel more clear-eyed in my political thinking again, the way it felt before all the compromises of living and earning a living set in.
At 65, I have nothing left to prove and no one to impress. It is a new mantra I am trying to hold onto because it frees me to do what I really want to do and express how I really feel. I am once again authentic, like the Velveteen Rabbit after its furry coat has been made shiny.
I am also evolving and exploring things like Millennial political thought. Yes, I realize I am part of the gerontological group they feel is depriving them of a future. Baby Boomer = Bust to them.
But those who have been made politically aware by school shootings and other societal ills remind me of my generation in its youth, before we became prosperous and satisfied with the quo of our status in life.
I pray the same does not happen to Millennials as they age. Even if they have killed off Kraft food cheese slices.
So I guess that adage about never being too old to learn something new is full of truth.
After all, I am even following Taylor Swift on Twitter now.
Aging backwards should be interesting.