Political Alzheimer’s

thinkingI grew up with my father telling me voting is a privilege that is earned and if I care about this country I will vote. He never told me how to vote, only that it’s a civic duty and that if don’t vote I had no right to complain about the way the elections turned out if I didn’t like it. And if it didn’t turn out the way I voted I needed to accept the results.  Furthermore, he taught me to keep my political views and how I vote private, it’s nobodies business but mine.

My dad is a Korean war vet and retired from a business he started with his father and brothers more than 50 years ago. My dad always taught me and my brothers to treat people with dignity and respect and not to use harsh words. He taught us to be strong and tough skinned. He taught us “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me.” We stuck up for ourselves but it was up to us if we let our feelings be hurt by words and we learned to “blow it off” in a very healthy way. We were never politically correct, that term did not exist. We were however taught common decency founded in our faith and family values.

There were certain things, words and behaviors, we knew were over the line. For instance, we never used the word “retarded”, a very derogatory and insulting term used for someone that has a disability. Saying “that’s retarded”, or “you’re retarded” was just wrong, period. I struggled for a time with my own kids to not use such words, it took time but they got it and it had nothing to do with political correctness, it’s a matter of the heart. I taught my kids that the words that slip off our tongues reflect our hearts and who we are. For us it is who we are in Christ. I reminded them what the bible says in James 3:1-12. Of course they would roll their eyes at me and I would get complaints about always bringing up Jesus. I always stood and continue to stand on that foundation. My kids are in their twenties now and they get it and I can see the results of that foundation in their lives.

There was and continues to be a lot of vile and vociferous language on social media and TV by the entire bandwidth of the political spectrum.  This brings me to a phrase I’ve been introduced to during this presidential election. A phrase to speak in a new derogatory way about the “other” candidate, “….political Alzheimer’s”.  This phrase was used in lieu of describing a candidate or politician that was “out of touch”, “didn’t know what they doing”, “had forgotten”, or used to suggest a candidate was unqualified, etc.

Now I remind you I have thick skin but I think the following needs to be said. As a 52 year old voting man living with Early-Stage Alzheimer’s, fighting every day for my life, I can’t help to think that the phrase “political Alzheimer’s” is offensive. It’s obvious that people who use this phrase have absolutely no idea what it’s like for a person living with Alzheimer’s. For some it is a living hell. Firstly, knowing it is a fatal and incurable disease and secondly and more horrific it can rob the individual of all their memories. This, not to mention what it does to the family as they see their loved ones slowly fade into oblivion sounds harsh, right? It is. It’s a harsh reality myself and 5.4 million other Americans face each day. So when you hear or before you use the phrase “political Alzheimer’s” remember me, I’m fighting for my life to remember you.

I remain joyful and rejoice, love continues…

Jeff Borghoff
Phili 4:4-9

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