Curmudgeons or guardians of society

Think for Yourself


 This article is being revised at 1:16 p.m., on Thursday the 17th, because I can’t let Troy Smith’s article today go completely unanswered. Let me accurately summarize his 650-word article like this: Trump bad, Republicans almost as bad, yeah Democratic Party, go team!

Republicans took the house and continued to gain favor with minority voters. Most close races that went Democrat were decided by the youth vote, citing student loan forgiveness as their motivation. I called it a stunt when Biden announced it, and I have been proven right. Troy says he worried about secretary of state races. In Arizona, the Democratic Party candidate for governor refused to step aside while running for office. The very same thing I remember a certain Democratic party supporter call for Kemp to do in Georgia four years ago. I disagree with most Democratic Party positions, but I call balls and strikes the same for both teams.

Back to my original article. This is dedicated to Andy Rooney, in particular, but it is for curmudgeons everywhere. I remember Andy swooning over his typewriter on “60 Minutes,” while complaining about his computer. He “had one typewriter for 50 years, but he bought seven computers in six years.” I heard a funny old man complaining about technology that he didn’t understand, while praising a relic of the past. I didn’t see the bigger picture. I believed Andy Rooney was a comedy act to laugh at. I never saw his segment as anything else. On November 4th, I heard mentioned on the radio that it had been 11 years since Andy Rooney died. Remembering the beloved curmudgeon, I started researching. Besides being a veteran, a civil rights activist, an accomplished author, and award-winning journalist, he was a genuinely impressive person. I was amazed at how similar his writing was to another hero of mine, Ben Franklin. This led to revelation. These weathered and tested individuals weren’t unjustifiably mean individuals howling at the wind. They weren’t just curmudgeons. They were also sages spewing wisdom disguised as absurd anger.

Even though I still don’t agree with some of the opinions that Andy Rooney expressed, I admire and respect the way he presented his arguments. They are subtle until you examine them closely. Then the overarching themes crash into you like tsunami waves! Like Franklin, Rooney understood that empires are diminished at the edges. Andy Rooney explained that it is often the miniscule changes in society that eventually have the greatest impact. Andy wasn’t complaining about a technology that he couldn’t grasp. He was making statements about bigger issues like reliability, consumerism, and change coming too quickly to be practical. Curmudgeons stand against the seemingly trivial because they realize it is the small nibbles at the edges of the cake that lead to it eventually being devoured. Curmudgeons complain about the tiny nibbles because society will always rail against attempted mouthfuls from the center of the cake. Liberty, freedom, independence, responsibility, accountability, and morality aren’t defeated by great bites to the center. The people will always stand in defiance to the threats they recognize. These things are corrupted by the numerous unnoticed nibbles at the edges. They are defeated by the subtle changes that the people overlook. It is most often the slippery slope that causes the fall.

Andy Rooney, Ben Franklin, and curmudgeons throughout history have stood stalwart against the unfettered march of change. Too often we ignore the wisdom of our elders by dismissing them as curmudgeons. We often mistake the desperate calls for reinforcements from the front lines as senility. Almost every great battle is fought at the edges, and these individuals are in the trenches fighting to hold their ground. Sometimes they fall on the wrong side of an issue, but often they are the only voices calling for thoughtful consideration. Maybe I am just a curmudgeon, too. Curmudgeons or guardians of society? Think for yourself.            


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  • TroySmith

    Hey, that was a remarkably accurate summary! :-)

    I always wanted to hear a debate between Andy Rooney and Paul Harvey.

    Wednesday, November 23, 2022 Report this