On July 28th I posted one called The Awful Math of Aging in America. That should only be the worst part of it! The math is an awful cross to bear, but the social and political aspects of the problem are even more horrible to consider.
Pop Quiz! What year was it the first time you heard about any married couple getting divorced after thirty or forty years of marriage? That would be people around sixty-years-old getting divorced. Does anyone remember that happening at all in the 1960s? 1970s? How about the 1980s? Anyone? Maybe someone is thinking of an instance in the 1990s. By the 2000s, you did hear about it from time to time. I'm suggesting that it is a recent development. The trend is accelerating, around the world.
My own ex-wife kicked me out in 2007, and rendered her permanent judgment on the matter in 2008. Hit the road, Jack! Make your own long range plans. I was just short of sixty. That's a bit late to begin planning for retirement. “We” had a perfectly good retirement plan. “I” have not been so lucky.
It seems to me that there are fewer inhibitions on family and friends these days when it comes to rejecting people who had become accustomed to being close to them. Perhaps one was accustomed to sharing a budget, property ownership, retirement plans, parenting duties, and a bed with someone that they loved. Perhaps it was a valued friendship full of shared memories and quality conversation time. On thin or no pretext people feel very free now to just cut you loose. There have been many observations about alienation in our society for a long time now, but these breaks are more like rejections, or even betrayals.
The danger for me is always separating the personal from the societal. Abandonment has always been my White Whale, my Moby-Dick, and it is possible that I have only succeeded in my hunt for more of it. Sorry to bother you if that is the case.
So much for the social, how about the political?
Most of the countries in our preposterous new world are not cooperating with us in the least. We mere individual citizens, I mean, we without whom our countries could not have prospered at all. We who turned the screws and moved the freight and paid our taxes and taught the children and built the things and created the art and fixed whatever was broken. We get no consideration at all these days, unless there are huge bank accounts or some celebrity to recommend us. Most of the countries of the earth are busy reducing or eliminating any advantages that they once believed wise to provide us with. America is at the forefront of this tightwad revolution. The weasels who have discovered how to turn nothing at all into money have made sure that the only real money is the money in their own bank accounts. Those money hoarders are so numerous and so rich now that there is a huge surfeit of money chasing the limited quantity of goods and services. As a result, most of the goods and services have been priced out of the reach of most citizens. A large and growing majority of Americans are hard pressed to afford things that were very recently commonplace in the lives of ordinary people, things like ball games and concerts, vacations, and adequate medical care. It's enough to make you cry. It's enough to make me cry anyway.
The world around us is changing so fast that there is a lack of permanence to every aspect of life on earth, in whatever country you wish to examine. You may search around for a port in this storm, you may already have done so, and you may find a place that seems suitable and make the necessary investments to make new connections. Learning the language; working to offer some benefit to your new home; investing time and money; becoming a good neighbor; playing by the rules. The harsh reality is that you can trust cultures to offer sufficient continuity and honor your efforts, even value them, even appreciate you personally, but you cannot trust governments. Cultures operate on very long time continuums. Governments flash by like telephone poles viewed from a moving train.
A bit of free advice: never knowingly play cards with anyone who can do card tricks. Sometimes, however, you have no choice.
We are stuck in a card game with entities that are adept at bottom-dealing, deck-stacking, and card manipulation. They call the game, and deal the cards. They even make the rules. We, poor fools, must only try to play the cards that they deal to us. This is true around the world. All we can do about it is exercise great care in picking a table to play at. Beyond that it's all hoping that the worst doesn't happen.
Dear reader, I wish the best for you. May your family and friends remain constant in their affections. May you comfortably pay all of your bills and have enough left for a pizza once in a while. May you get all of the help that you need, and may you need as little help as possible. Me? I'm just the nervous type. I'll be fine! Probably.