In July I turned 75. Over a long life I’ve accumulated myriad experiences across this nation. First, as a child of a career military family, and then as the wife of a Vietnam War veteran and conservative businessman. Later, after an egregious divorce and the shattering of our family, I experienced near poverty, grief and loss. I wandered for years, in gorgeous natural places, and met some of my best friends who helped me and my children pull our lives together. I have learned about this country by direct experience, not by the false narratives I’d been taught as a child.

A measure of a life is how one learns, grows, changes with experience and knowledge; how one softens soulfully in kindness and compassion as the understanding dawns that every person, and every living thing, shares a similar struggle to live, love, and find happiness. This process is not even but occurs in giant leaps, regressions and rescue, and a certain God given striving to be the best person possible no matter what. And then, accepting how we fail at that. Just accepting it.

My vision, contrary to what we think about aging, has sharpened. I see a country on the verge of destroying itself. I see gross injustice for the majority of Americans. We’ve achieved horrendous outcomes that measure us as a third world country in the ways that we do NOT care for each other. Not surprised, however, for the economic system that has driven this country from its beginning is based on values that presaged these outcomes.

The man who now leads this country is exemplary of our immaturity. A man who has not learned, grown in wisdom, nor recognizes our shared humanity which lifts no life above another. Until we remove him from office, we risk falling further into disgrace, disorder, and dissolution.

Once we remove him, then we must examine honestly how we regard each other, and GROW UP. Democracy is serious business and it requires serious citizens who engage in its work and provide guidance to our leadership. We must require that the people we elect are mature people who realize what is at stake should they play games, hold grudges, lust after money and power, and misuse the privilege of leadership.

We have serious problems: injustice, climate change, Covid-19 pandemic, and failed international leadership and cooperation. We must elect women and men who show the character of people who learn, grow in wisdom and compassion, and who can cooperate with others to achieve outcomes for all.

We must.