I am in the business of questioning, thinking, relating, remembering, debating and talking about issues of the day.  I recently came across a piece in MLive that described a letter the Editor received from a 98-year-old voter.

The piece was titled “Letter from the Editor: 98-year-old voter has sage advice for our times – talk slow, listen and think for yourself”.  Being that I talk about politics every day the titled intrigued me so I read it and I am glad I did.

The letter was from a reader of his, Helen Pentz, who lives in the Grand Rapids area. Helen is 98 years old and appears to be frustrated with politicians like many of us are today.

In her letter she wrote:

As I get older, I find it’s harder to understand people who talk very fast...The words begin to blend together, and it is hard to understand what is being said. I tell people that I hear ‘more slowly’ now than I used to. I find that other people have the same problem.

Sure part of her inability to understand people I assume comes from her age, in fact, all of what she is attempting to convey could simply be due to her age.  What I thought of from her words was our refusal these days to listen to one and each other and stop conveying the worse thoughts on each other.  We all seem to be talking fast and past each other, never really listening or attempting to hear what the other person is actually trying to say.  Perhaps what they are trying to say is not what you are actually hearing and interpreting because you are thinking about what you are going to say next and not listening to the person.

Helen went on to write:

I took civics in high school, and the teacher said we should not only vote, but that we should know what we are voting for. You need to pay attention, and make up your own mind

I have been speaking about her words for years on my radio show.  There are too many people who appear to not fully understand the consequences of their vote.  These people get caught up in the team attitude and only want to hear things that validate their supposed beliefs.  Too many people are only concerned about today and themselves never really contemplating what they are voting for and how it will affect them, their families and others in the future.

For example the “I want everything for free because it is my right” crowd that believes there is some rich Mom and/or Dad that is going to pay for all of their free stuff.  As an American citizen, you have the right to live free of government tyranny and that is pretty much it.  Everything else is just the frosting on top of the cake, I used the frosting and cake analogy because I love frosting and cake and sorry Traverse City I do not like cherries.

I often say that you do not gain wisdom from growing older, you gain wisdom from living many years, experiencing many ups and downs in your life, making probably too many wrong decisions and learning from those ups, downs, and mistakes.  

Helen certainly deserves the title of a wise person.

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