Sidewinder: Free to have my own opinion

My attitude about age and aging isn’t the only thing that has changed in my approach to life.

Sidewinder: Free to have my own opinion

When I was quite young (more than half a century ago), I contemplated the possibility that I might actually live until the year 2000 and would thereby see the turn of the century.

At the time, I wondered who wants to be 60 years old? It seemed like dinosaur years to me, but now that I have celebrated my 76th birthday, my attitude has dramatically changed.

Nowadays I look hopefully towards completing a century here on Earth before being placed in the terra firma of the planet.

My attitude about age and aging isn’t the only thing that has changed in my approach to life.

As many readers over the years will attest, I have grown crustier and less understanding of those with whom I disagree or share divergent viewpoints.

Myself, I don’t think I’ve changed that much, but some of you folks must suffer from a diminished mental capacity as your arguments seem to lack the clarity and pure logic of my own stated outlook on various subjects.

One thing about me that hasn’t changed is my small ‘c’ conservative approach to politics, which I believe to be the natural inclination of most intelligent Canadians. Before you left-leaning tree-hugging socialists and liberals start your very predictable rant, let me emphasize that I said small ‘c’ conservative.

I haven’t held a membership in any political party for many years other than a very brief foray into the ranks of the British Columbia Conservative Party.

What a silly bunch their leaders have been over the years. Prior to the last provincial election, I attended an annual meeting of the local BCCP constituency association, where a quorum of 10 members was required to make the meeting official. Only seven members had attended, and I, at age 70, was the youngest in attendance.

To say that the leadership of the British Columbia Conservative Party lacks charisma or political savoir faire is a huge understatement.

The Rhinoceros Party of several decades ago had more energy and probably more members.

As an  added indication of the moribund nature of the party, it took almost three years of steady prodding on my part to get my name struck from their membership rolls and mailing list.

Local politics also leave me cold, as so many well meaning but inept candidates are elected. Even though some intelligent folks are also successful, unfortunately their politically inferior colleagues outnumber them.

Then there is the hate factor, which is present in almost every major public issue. A good case in point is the Facebook hate sites, which supposedly exist to ‘protect’ Maple Ridge. A few of the members of these groups are good hearted and sincere, but too many of them can offer only hateful rants without offering any real solutions to the social problems plaguing our community.

At one time, I was probably one of the loudest negative ranters amongst these folks, but they’ve now drawn lines which members of the group can’t cross without risk of being thrown out of the group. They can’t stand criticism from within the ranks because that somehow or other threatens their own sense of superiority and infallibility.

Now that I’m definitely on the fringes, I can freely state that I no longer care because I know, deep down in my heart, that hate never solved anything.

Now that I’m almost as old as dirt, it doesn’t much matter to me if people approve or disapprove of my stated opinions. After all, if they really don’t like it, why are they reading this stuff and what sanctions can they impose on me? I guess they always take away my privileges.


– Sandy Macdougall is a retired journalist and former city councillor.


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