I am one of the privileged of our society, not to mention of the planet — 69-year-old white male, raised in a solidly middle class family, college educated, sometimes laid off but never unemployed for more than a few months, good access to health care, living a comfortable life. Through complete luck of the cosmic draw, I’m the “right” color, the “right” gender, the “right” nationality, the “right” religious heritage, the “right” sexual preference, and the “right” height and weight never to have suffered prejudice or discrimination, subtle or overt, public or private.
It would be so easy to take all this for granted, to feel that somehow I’m entitled to my favored position in life. And I can’t say that I don’t take advantage of my privileged status — I love skiing, traveling, cycling, 3 square meals, hot showers, and other indulgences of the First World — but I try to maintain consciousness of the complete preponderance of people all over the world who struggle for just the minimum of daily necessities.
I guess you could call me a progressive, which in my mind means forward-thinking. As in Robert Kennedy’s declaration that “There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask why? I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?” You could also call me a democratic socialist, but the word “socialist” is so polluted in this country that one can hardly speak it aloud. Let’s stick with progressive.