by Kenneth Justice
~ Last week President Obama gave a speech in which he finished up his remarks with an observation about old people, “And, by the way, the older people here, as wise and as respected as you may be: your stuff is often boring. Compared to what they’re doing” he said.
There is nothing really new or special about the President’s statement, the story of humanity has always enveloped a theme of older people becoming stale and irrelevant, while younger people want whatever is new and hip.
Unfortunately, a society in which the young people become disenfranchised from the older people, is a culture that will eventually suffer. After all, to borrow the colloquialism, we all know there is nothing new under the sun, and there is no use in reinventing the wheel. And when young people become disconnected from their elders this is the very thing that ends up happening; they end up making the same mistakes that humans have made over and over because they haven’t learned from their elders.
President Obama came into office like many of his predecessors, with a lot of energy and rhetoric. Obama rallied record numbers of youths to get out to vote, they showed up believing that one man (or woman) could make the world a better place.Yet those of us who have studied history know that one man (or woman) can not make the world a better place. President Obama is no more powerful than anyone else, and when massive amounts of young people became disillusioned after Obama turned out to be not much different than other politicians, many of them streamed to my table at coffee crying out their displeasure.
The people in Greece are beginning to grumble again. Over the past few months they kicked out their “old regime” government (who in many ways were very unethical and greedy) and replaced it with a new dude who promised (under the guise of socialism) a lot of things. New dude is now getting heat from the people who elected him, because it turns out that it is one thing to make a lot of promises, it is another to actually fulfill those promises.
It is the same story over and over; men and women promises all sorts of things in order to get elected, and people keep falling for their campaign promises. While I still vote, I don’t have any delusions that the people we put in office will actually bring about much change (or at least “good” change).
When will we realize that we are making the same mistakes as our ancestors? When will we realize that we keep putting our hope in people who promise us the moon, and end up mooning us with their naked butt?
Many of my closest coffee house friends are twice my age. It’s through the collective wisdom of those coffee conversations that I develop many of my thoughts about life. I learned a long time ago from my Uncle Bob that “there is wisdom in a multitude of counsel” and even more so when the counsel comes from people of varying ages and multicultural backgrounds.
I agree with President Obama, many of the old people have indeed become boring. It’s too bad, at a time in history when so many people are searching for answers, older people have too often retreated to their living rooms to zone out in front of the television or computer, instead of connecting with younger people in positive ways.
The Internet has afforded many older people a new way of connecting with youth; through blogs and social networks, it allows us to connect and communicate and be bridging the gaps that separate us. However, the Internet limits us to an electronic connection; it can never replace the real life experience of sitting across from each other at coffee or tea.
There is a dynamic that is entirely lost when older people do not sit across the table from younger people in real life. The Internet, while good in many ways, is insufficient in many others.
Coffee & Conversation. It sounds like a simple sentence, but it encompasses so much of what I stand for; connecting, communicating, dialogue, mentoring, and caring. Too often we easily become disconnected from each other and forget what makes us human.
Writing a status update or posting our thoughts on a blog is the easy part. The difficult task lies in going beyond our computers and reaching across the aisle, its about daring to start a conversation with someone about difficult subjects, and demonstrating love at the expense of our pride or personal hangups.
Just a few thoughts as I sipped my coffee,
ON tonights show join us as we talk to Kruti Mehta from India who discusses the hurdles women still face in Eastern Culture.
Categories: Culture & Society