Musings from the author of Reinventing Myself, Seniorwriting, Elder Expectations, and Write Your Life!
"It is never too late to be who you might have been."--George Eliot
Monday, February 01, 2010
The Failure of Democracy, or Why I Ignore Politics: A View from 360 BC
"His inclination was to turn his back on p0litics--it seemed altogether too hopeless a mess. He had no faith in the rule of the rich, nor any confidence in the ability of ordinary citizens. The rich, as he saw, had mostly their special interests in mind, and during the time of their regimes they had shown to what length they could go to defend the advantages of the few against the majority of ordinary people. But the rule by the many was no remedy, because ordinary people were too easily swayed by the emotional and deceptive rhetoric of ambitious politicians. Politics, in other words, seemed an irremediably corrupted affair, and all a rational person could do was to attend to personal matters, and to pursue wisdom in the privacy of one's solitude and a small circle of friends."
From Plato's The Republic, 360 BC
So what's the answer? Democracy is imperfect, but I've never observed a better, fairer system of government. Thanks to my brother, John Marshall, for alerting me to this quotation.
I live on the thirty-fifth floor of a senior highrise on Chicago's Gold Coast. I retired in 1999 after 40 years in the English Department of Wilbur Wright College, on Chicago's Northwest Side, where I was department chair for 7 years and Wright's Distinguished Service Professor for 1995-96.
In late 2005, I found myself retired, widowed, 73, and depressed, so I set out to find contentment through reflection and writing. My first published book, Reinventing Myself: Memoirs of a Retired Professor, is a series of personal essays recounting that quest and some of the experiences that came before it. My second is Seniorwriting: A Brief Guide for Seniors Who Want to Write. My third is poetry, Elder Expectations: My Life in Rictameters. My writing also includes a column for eGenerations.com.
I advocate writing for everyone, and hope to encourage my fellow senior citizens to write. I am a member of the Illinois Woman's Press Association, The National Federation of Press Women, The Story Circle Network, The Authors Marketing Group, and the Chicago Writers Associaion and a volunteer at the Chicago Cultural Center. Please comment on my posts!