I believe absolutely in the Constitutional guarantees of the Second Amendment, and the First. I believe in our right to keep and bear arms, and to speak our minds without fear of censorship. I believe in a free press and broadcast media and free expression of opinions--all opinions, and everybody's opinions--in print, on the air, or in private conversation. I may disagree with your opinion, I may loathe it, but will support your right to express it because countless good people have given their lives to protect that right.
I've been a fisherman for almost seventy years, and was a hunter until my health and age made me stop. I own guns. I've carried concealed since shortly after it became legal in Kentucky around sixteen years ago.
I'm 75 years old. I have memories of World War II, the one Studs Terkel called "the good war" in his fine oral history by that title. It bothers me a lot that veterans of the Korean War didn't get more respect and appreciation from a war-weary country.
I was brought up in a traditional home with traditional values in the '30's, '40's and '50's. I was raised to be a gentleman: to say "yes ma'am, no ma'am, thank you ma'am, please", to respect my elders, to care for the aged and sick, and to open doors for others. I don't use obscene language in the presence of ladies or children, and not in the company of most men.
I believe in working for a living, and worked for fifty-four years before ill health forced me to retire when I was almost 71. My father retired four times, the last time when he was eighty. I live on Social Security and a very small pension, but I paid into them in order to have that as my only income now.
I believe that voting is not a privilege but an obligation. It's how we pay our dues for living in what is an imperfect democracy, but is a democracy. If you don't vote, don't complain to me about the government.
I've been lucky enough to observe seventy-five years of the most fascinating and complex history of all time, and I've watched it pretty closely and studied it. As a result I'm pessimistic about institutions and organizations--people in organized groups do tend to screw things up--but I'm pretty optimistic about individuals. I think most people, not all but most, are basically good. I've seen too much to be a real conspiracy theorist.
I'm alarmed by the lack of training in basic courtesy and citizenship kids are getting today, and I'm proud that my middle-aged children are bucking that trend and raising theirs right.
I do not have horns, cloven hooves or a tail.
I am a life-long Democrat. I really don't like being suspected of being a Communist on that account. And sometimes I don't feel very welcome here.
Flame if you must. I'm too old, and too comfortable with who I am today, to worry about it much. Just don't accuse me of not loving my country.