Posted by: Mary W. Farkas | July 31, 2010

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There is a great deal of variety in political thought and writing in the USA today. This nation has its range of pundits from the near-socialist or traditional Marxist-Leninist communism, to the far, far right-wing who are barely indistinguishable from the far left.

This author is a liberal. I am liberal by birth, child of two survivors of the Great Depression and World War II and the fight to save civilization as we know it; they were survivors of McCarthyism, Vietnam, Watergate, and California governor Ronald Reagan. I am the product of the good outcomes of the New Deal, the GI bill and its companion law, of the traditional Democratic Party, union or guild member, left coast progressives.

However, events in my adult life have made me cautious and somewhat conservative financially. It was my good fortune to marry someone who was very, very careful with his money, and always thought of the long stretch: he saved most of his income, even when his income was small. We have been fortunate in that there was a long period where we saved and invested. When misfortune hit: a long illness, loss of employment, and disability, we have been able to depend on returns on investments and my spouse’s entitlement payments. It is true that in our 50’s we are renters, but homeownership eluded us.

There was also a mingling of political attitudes when we merged our lives. I met, and collided against Republican and Libertarian values and ethics. Yes, Republicans have ethics. This is the old-fashioned republicanism of Goldwater, Rockefeller, and small businessmen. This isn’t the Republican extreme we have met in this century, this is a mid-twentieth century fiscal conservative, small government Republican who some can recall from Middle America and the membership of Rotary, Optimists, and Elks. The Vietnam War acceleration by Democratic presidents made him a Republican: they said they had a secret plan to end the war. By the time we met in college, the Libertarians had caught his attention and his vote.

I have examined my attitude towards governmental largesse. It seemed a far-off and unforeseeable possible future that then  became reality in 2007 when my husband had the first of four strokes. I was aware of Social Security as a retirement and disability. I knew that most of us contributed toward this program and I knew recipients of same.

When the fourth stroke hit, and left my spouse without much use in his left arm, leg, and a reduced field of vision, I became aware of how rapidly financial stability can become insecure. He not only had to retire from his profession, but his company went out of business due to a long series of circumstances not relevant to this essay.


  1. You are one smart cookie who had the good fortune to marry someone who some common sense. Silly me is all full of “If only…”

  2. A woman of substance, an interesting writer, and a life full of humanity, thanks for letting us read about it.

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