Seven years after others said I qualified, I am finally coming to terms with the fact that I've become a "middle aged man."
What forced me to accept the reality? Certainly not my brain; I still often think and act like a 20 something. It wasn't me getting married 17 years ago, or being with the same wife to this very day. It wasn't the fact that my son is now 14 and attending High School. It wasn't my thinning hair. And while my former flat-stomached and muscular body has changed to more of a football shape (wider in the middle) that didn't force me to accept my age either.
What did it? My knees. My joints. My vision. They ain't what they used to be.
So having now accepted that I am a middle aged man, I guess I have to adjust the way I think . . . . . and you know what I realize? I have changed my thinking.
You see, I've always believed there are good and bad in all kinds of people. Be they White, Black, Brown, Yellow, Straight, Gay, Christian, Muslim, Jew. Yet, I've also noticed that certain kinds of people tend to have more bad apples than others and I have made my feelings known about those bad apples.
For that, I've been smeared as a racist, a bigot, a hatemonger, an anti-Semite, a homophobe and other such epithets. Sticks and stones. . . . . .
Yet, with age came the wisdom to not allow such smears to change what life has taught me. Reality is what it is and I see no reason at all to stop talking about it, no matter who doesn't like it.
One area in which my thinking has changed dramatically is the area of how we citizens deal with our political, judicial, social, cultural and religious problems. At the ripe old age of 47 I stand convinced that being nice hasn't worked.
Instead of political, judicial, social, cultural and religious problems getting better, they have all gotten dramatically worse during my lifetime. I even know why: Those causing the trouble have mis-construed kindness for weakness. They perceive our tolerance as an unwillingness to defend our way of life. To date, they've been right. That is about to change.
As I approach the time in my life where there are fewer days ahead than there are behind, I realize that it has never been words that changed the world for the better, but rather action that has gotten the job done.
I have also come to realize that those who claim "violence never solves anything" are fundamentally wrong. Quite simply, violence solves everything.
So, as I celebrate my birthday today, I do so with an eye to my sons graduation from High School 3 years from now. What kind of country will he live in when he reaches manhood? What has to be done between now and then to make certain he inherits a country that is better than the one I inherited?
In answering those questions I see clearly that violence is going to have to be used to clean up a lot of our political, judicial, social, cultural and religious problems. I think that a lot of people in places of power and trust, need a "tune up" -- physical alteration to improve performance.
Of course, that's illegal but as I get older, I find myself saying "So what?"
It's a very liberating thing, this growing older. It helps one put things in perspective. Breaking the law -- no longer as big a deal as I once thought. Using force and violence against people? No longer a taboo for me. Killing? . . . . . I've come to realize that killing isn't necessarily a bad thing as long as the right people get killed. Yet, my conscience is still an obstacle in that regard, so I started working on that.
I took up hunting. First I started with small varmints - skunks. I've hated skunks all my life and now there's a whole slew of dead ones in North Bergen! No guilt in killing them at all.
I next went to deer hunting in Pennsylvania. Shooting the first was tough. Not anymore. After deer came bear hunting. No guilt at killing those ferocious beasts.
The thing about bears is that when they stand up, they're pretty much the size and height of a man. That fact was not lost on me as I viewed this man-like creature in my scope. I pulled the trigger and killed it.
Next up. . . . . . who knows? Naaaah. I know. So do you.
Yea. . . . middle age makes you see things differently. Trust when I tell you, things in the good old USA are going to be a lot different and a lot better when I and folks like me get finished.
Of course, this type of writing - or speaking such things in public - gets one labeled a "terrorist" nowadays. Big deal.
Want to know how eay it is to be labeled a "terrorist?" I gave a speech at the Antitem National Battlefield in Sharpsburg, MD a couple years ago. Plenty of cops around, nobody got arrested. The day went fine. No big deal, right? Wrong.
For that speech, the Maryland State Police officially designated me as "Being suspected of involvement in terrorism but without any proof at all of involvement in any criminal activity."
So, if a speech makes me a terrorist . . . . . then maybe I ought to start doing things that actually fill the bill.
Those of you in positions of power had better start obeying the plain written word of the Constitution - or get your affairs in order. Because as I set out my future, I may also be setting out yours. If I come to such a decision about someone, by the time they see me coming, it will be too late for them.
Think that's terrorism? You ain't seen terrorism yet; but I'm pretty sure it's coming.