Tuesday, November 15, 2005

An Elder Voice

Should you choose to listen to the voice of a true elder of our large tribe, Bush, you could do not better than read Jimmy Carter's column in yesterday's Los Angeles Times. He wrote, to my mind, an exemplary masterpiece of clear elder wisdom--one that combined a broad, intelligent, and critical understanding of the world with a load of thoughtful patience and compassion. Above all, he wrote as someone who no longer has a petty, personal stake in the outcome of events, but a very deep and thoroughly grounded sense of responsibility to his country and his world. His vision was broad, comprehensive, even, and his tone was that of a wise and kindly grandfather--but not pompous, Bush. Not at all. And not smart-ass or self-righteous. He avoided paternalistic scolding in favor of a genuine sensitivity and seriousness of purpose. Yet he made clear his concern for the direction in which your administration is now leading the country.

I fear you listen too much to your Cheney, for an elder voice--a man who appears, at least, to carry the weight of elderhood, but whose stake in power and wealth is all too clear. He speaks with the semblance of wisdom, ponderously, but his words are informed not by the embracing breadth of a true elder, but by a carefully concealed anger, a meanness, a spirit of revenge, an obsession with power.

One of the spiritual assets we have sacrificed, in our society's haste for progress and insatiable appetite for material well-being, is the value that tribes older and perhaps in some ways wiser placed on the importance of elders in the community. True eldership brings with it a sense of detachment that is the better part of wisdom. Our personal needs grow less--at least the material ones--and our vision, as a consequence, grows less dependent on them. By the same token, understanding becomes broader, more inclusive, more complete.

So thank you, Jimmy Carter, for modeling this kind of wisdom with such eloquence. And thanks to the Times for giving him the platform. While on the subject of the op-ed pages of the Times, however, I need to wonder aloud what has been going on with Robert Sheer? Has he been fired--not to put too fine a point on it? Discontinued? Superannuated? And what does he himself have to say about the abrupt disappearance of his weekly column. The note in today's Times was a poor excuse for an explanation. If you want to fire someone, I say, fire Michael Ramirez! Not your voice-in-the-wilderness on the left.

Oh, and I watched the moon-set over the Hollywood Hills at around six this morning, Bush. A few words to celebrate that special beuaty:


Full moon set
on the Hollywood Hills.
The tall heads of the eucalyptus
bob in the breeze.
Down there, the lights
of the city. Silence
feeds me.


David said...

Peter, I think the difference is that Carter is an elder, but Cheney is just old.

PK said...

:):) David, you hit the nail on the head. To find our man Sheer, you will have to wait about a week. Then go to TruthDig.com , he will be found there. And yes, Carter wrote a great piece. Nixon's old crony's are comming out of the woodwork to put in their 2 cents too. Dubya is really making a mess of things. Have a nice eve.

PK said...

http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=2281&ncid=2281&e=5&u=/thenation/20051114/cm_thenation/736403 This is about Sheer, what happened, etc.

dennis said...

Peter: And also the full moon rise this evening over our hills was magnificent also, I think the curvature of the atmosphere magnified it larger than I have ever seen it. And it shone so bright even before the sun was down, that it had an metaphorical signifigance about it.

dennis said...

Oops. Misspelled significance: 1 a : something that is conveyed as a meaning often obscurely or indirectly b : the quality of conveying or implying
2 a : the quality of being important

PeterAtLarge said...

Thanks, PK, for the link to further information about the Sheer disaster. I sent off a short letter to the Times myself, suggesting that they fire Michael Ramirez, just to balance things out. Some hope!