Trying to Understand Those Who Do Not See the USA As I Do

By Jack Riordan

August 9, 2019

Watching fireworks on TV with a grandson, my wife and I on the big screen TV, and the little guy on his iPad, I realized just how addicted to comfort and convenience I have become. It’s a far cry from my exploratory youth when I would go early and stake out a “good spot”, then after the 20-minute spectacle fight traffic for an hour to get home. As a boy we road two street cars to see the spectacle.  When the little guy is as old as me, what will his world be like? He now receives and shares electronic communication in ways that were unimaginable to me.

 Our ancient homo sapiens ancestors searched for food and protection, fought other animals to get it and keep it. From them we inherited our fighting behaviors which flare up in some of us but are suppressed in most by our evolved culture. Our evolution drives many of us to accumulate wealth that can never be used. It also drives the very rich to build walls and gather guards to protect their excessive share of resources. But it also unexpectedly results in heroic acts of generosity and self-sacrifice. We are complex creatures.

Another hand-me-down is our intellectual curiosity which drives us to seek new foods, new ways, new forms of comfort, and control of our threatening environment. Our curiosity is what developed the wonders of medical science, increased agricultural production and invented the new modes of transportation that move us and our stuff around our tiny planet. This place where homo sapiens thrive, is now threatened; science has found massive evidence that homo sapiens selfish behavior is weakening the ability of Earth to sustain our habitation. 

By now some of you are saying poppycock. What does he know? This person who calls himself the Cat Lady’s Apprentice and is attempting to show we are our own worst enemy.  

I’m an old white guy who survived 82 years with 59 years in public service including 19 months in Vietnam and 2 years helping the elderly in Chicago’s ghettos.  And, thirty (30) of those years were spent in the federal agencies working as a Deputy Director of the Ohio Department of Development for George Voinovich, a great public servant who understood governance. I spent my life trying to learn who, why and where I was. I learned there are good and bad in both parties, good ideas are cheap implantation as to what is needed, in the long run, wind and water usually win, and that the world is so complex our curiosity needs scientific analysis to understand it.  Unfortunately, I also learned enough money will buy almost anyone or anything and tax cuts for the rich are to generate political donations, and there is too much money in politics. I carry a lot of baggage which unconsciously colors what I see, do and think.

I fear that the USA is trying to suppress curiosity because it threatens comfortable beliefs and the excessive share of resources of those in control. I fear the little guy and my ten other grandkids will suffer from this suppression of the scientific investigation of the human causes of Global Warming and the search for what we can do to mitigate our sins of over consumption. Today scientists in Department of Agriculture who have been so successful in increasing crop yields and are now trying to develop ways to decrease the impact of Global Warming are being relocated thousands of miles from home or forced to retire. 

I do not know how to communicate my fears to the younger, concerned generations who are smothered by messages or even to those like me who still read newspapers but want things to be the same as they were before the cellphone and our, “giant leap for Mankind,” to the moon. Now that drastic action must be taken to prevent irreversible damage to our tiny place in the vast universe, as always, the poor and middle class will suffer earliest and the most. I fear a lot of really well-intentioned people will just “Go Along,” to keep their positions and comforts while the powerful refuse to accept the reality of Global Warming.  Their Silence is not Golden, It’s Heart Breaking.”

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