Tuesday, November 28

AN HONORABLE GENTLEMAN

You know, when I was in my twenties -- married, an active church member, part-time music teacher and free-lance writer, starting a family with a husband who had a good, high-paying job and was taking Greek so he could read the New Testament in the original -- I'd often think that people like us, former hippies and Vietnam War-protesters now assuming responsible positions in society, would be the generation that changed American politics. We'd champion peace instead of war, we'd enact a rational drug policy, we'd explore spirituality in place of organized religion, we'd favor a more equitable distribution of wealth where labor was valued as well as management, we'd make environmentalism a priority and diminish the power of the gun lobby. Just as we and our fellows made child-bearing and -raising the center of our lives, I expected that we'd make education, including the serious study of philosophy and the arts, a primary focus. After all our college-era (and after) bull sessions in which all these things were espoused to almost unanimous acceptance, I believed that once the older generations died or phased out and we were the generation of power, this would be the result. What else were our musicians singing and speaking about all those years in the sixties and seventies?

It hasn't happened. Yet I found this story about John Hall (of Orleans fame), the first professional musician to be elected to the House, to be strangely comforting. If you're like me, you'll think it's nice to know that someone else didn't change priorities between youth and maturity.

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