I generally stay away from using first person. It’s a tricky form overall. It very often leads to lies, certainly to overstatement, and it woos users of it into bragging and overestimating themselves. For example, we have that “master politician” Nancy Pelosi. Need I say more?
First person, if one isn’t the bragging type, can lead to self-flagellation or public apology, and that’s a tough one too.
In one of the high-level lit courses I took in graduate school, I remember once being told that writers were notorious liars. That seemed about right to me since that’s what they do for a living, or at least what fiction writers do anyway. I think our politicians do it these days too, and certainly our would-be journalists are busy at it as I write this. Too bad so many people believe their lies as truths, believe our politicians’ lies as truths too.
So here we are. I generally don’t talk about myself per se. As it is, most people don’t know too much about themselves anyway. They have their notions and ideas about themselves, but it’s difficult to get a full and clear perspective of oneself. I know for a fact that since I was about fifteen all I ever wanted to do was write. After that, things get cloudy.
I believe I’ve mostly been strongly opinionated. I believe when I was younger I thought I knew better than my father, but as I’ve grown older, I’m sure now I’m not sure and probably didn’t. I know I was much more liberal back when I was younger, and I was sure those Beatles’ songs were right, you know, Imagine and All You Need Is Love. I think I really would like to be in an Octopus’ Garden. (Yes, I know Imagine is John Lennon’s.)
I’m in my late sixties now and I see all these young, pretty people all over the place giving opinions and leading things as if they actually know what they’re talking about, as if they know what they’re doing. But here’s a little secret. They don’t! The young ones lack perspective and context and the liberals who empower them only do it for their own self-serving purposes. In part, that explains the current state of our inner cities, our education system, and our national debt.
So I look back at my father’s perspective. His parents were legal immigrants. He spoke three languages. He lived through The Depression. He fought in World War II and spent three and a half years as a POW in Nazi Germany, in Stalag III B Furstenberg. He was a working-class stiff who worked all his life, a Jimmy Hoffa Teamster when Labor Unions were relevant and not self-serving political animals. The Government did not give him a disability and denied that his rheumatic heart was related to his war/POW experience.
He had it pretty rough.
Compared to our lives today, he had it really rough. Still, he maintained certain beliefs. He believed in America, in right or wrong, my country. He believed in hard work and in education. He scoffed at stupidity. The idea of hugging and coddling an enemy that would kill you without hesitation was anathema to him. He believed one should work for what he gets; he didn’t believe in freebies. He believed in helping people who needed help but not in entertaining or supporting scammers. He did not believe in a welfare state. He believed in marriage between a man and a woman, in two genders, not thirty-two. He believed in God up until his war experiences, then I think he doubted but believed his children should be brought up with God, with Judaism, and with his and their heritage.
That’s not all his beliefs, but it’s a good sense of them. He warned that our liberal government was crazy, that it was ruining our country by destroying work ethic and supporting freeloaders. He feared that being soft on enemies would destroy us. He understood a budget and the consequences of not living within your means.
My father’s beliefs were simple and straightforward. Sometimes, more often now, I think we should revisit some of them and consider that from his and many people’s perspectives we’ve gone way astray and should head back to simpler, more concrete approaches to our modern times. All that liberal, intellectual, smarter-than-thou, I-know-better hogwash is just that, hogwash.