Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Age = Wisdom...Not Always!, March 11, 2006

Age = Wisdom…Not Always

There’s an old adage that age equals wisdom. As we get older, our accumulated life experiences make us wiser and smarter. I remember learning from my mother and father that I should always respect my elders because they were older and had learned and experienced things that still hadn't learned or experienced yet. Earlier this week, I found myself once again reminding my youngest son of the concept. As I explained this to my son for what seemed like the umpteenth time, it occurred to me that not everyone gets wiser with age. In fact, with some people, exactly the opposite takes place. This especially holds true with politicians and people in the media. A couple of great examples of this would be Al Gore and Ted Turner.

Al Gore comes from what used to be a very influential political family in Tennessee that belonged to the Democrat Party. Make no mistakes though, it was not the same Democrat Party we see trying to undermine America today. We used to call them “Southern Democrats”…. moderate to liberal on social issues, but very conservative in matters of family, finance, and national security. The Gore family did many great things for the state of Tennessee over the years. As Al made his way into state and national arena, he carried the family “banner” with typical Gore Honor. He voted for pro-life legislation 27 times early in his career. He was also well known throughout the south as an advocate for gun ownership. He was a friend of military and many still remember the very public battles his wife Tipper waged with the music industry in an eventually successful campaign to get warning labels placed on music that was considered inappropriate for children. While this was Tipper’s pet project, Al made it well known that he strongly supported her in this effort to help America’s families.

What a difference a few years has made though. After a couple of failed presidential bids and 8 years as Bill Clinton’s VP, Al Gore seems to have done a total 180 on almost every issue that he once claimed as near and dear to his heart. Now he is “anti-everything” except abortion. At one point, he even had some less educated folks thinking he was responsible for the creation of the Internet. Judging from some of his recent speeches overseas, his attitudes border on seditious and at the least extremely anti-American. It also appears, at times, that he has a hard time telling the difference between fact and fantasy.

Another example would be media icon Ted Turner. From a business standpoint, Turner was probably one of the smartest people of his time. Turner was the consummate businessman, always the financial conservative but never afraid to take a chance if he was convinced he would win. On the rare occasion that he did lose, he wouldn’t view it as a loss. Instead he chose to view those rare occasions as educational opportunities on “how not to do it next time.” He was never afraid to criticize the mainstream media for their deceitful ways either. When his father committed suicide, he took his father's bankrupt billboard company and turned it into Turner Broadcasting System, the premiere broadcasting company of its day. You know the names…. CNN, Headline News, TBS, TNT, Turner Classic Movies, and The Cartoon Network, plus The Atlanta Braves from Major League Baseball and the Atlanta Hawks of the NBA, just to name a few. Several years after becoming a millionaire, the man still drove a Volkswagen and cut his own hair. When asked about the latter, he would often joke, “Why pay someone else to do something I can do myself?”

However, during his later years, some of Turner wiser traits seem to have fallen by the wayside. A marriage to Jane Fonda, a multi-billion dollar donation to the United Nations, and the demise of his broadcasting empire as it was absorbed into the Time-Warner Corporation are just a few episodes that have left many people shaking their heads.

Al Gore and Ted Turner are just a couple of prominent examples of why age doesn’t always equal wisdom, even as we convince our children it does.

(originally posted 3-11-06 on Yahoo 360)
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