90-year-old Ron hosts a blog called Ron Rants and Raves, where he documents what he learns about today’s youth by answering their questions on Reddit. A World War II veteran and a retired educator, he recently opened up an “Ask Me Anything” thread on Reddit to learn more about younger generations.
Before delving into questions, he gave users a brief backstory of his life, taking them from his birth is San Antonio, TX to his service in the Marine Corps in 1943. He also talked about his three college degrees and love of education, before explaining the only true trauma in his life was losing his wife after 43 years of marriage.
Younger generations don’t often get the chance to sit and speak with someone who has been through so much in life and seen so many things. This was a great opportunity to make a generational connection, and for Ron to answer some fascinating questions to eager listeners.
Reddit user jdoe01 posed a political question to Ron, asking, “My question, since you brought up the polarization of the country, is that is the polarization much worse than at any time before in your life? As someone who grew up in the late 80s and 90s, it feels horrifically bad at the moment – but every now and then a news story will pop up that makes it seem as though it’s been this bad before.”
Ron feels like the hostility between politicians is higher now than at any other time in his life. “However in what I consider modern times, especially in my lifetime, I cannot recall it being so virulent,” he explains. “My own hunch is that it extends from the disparity in income and fear of enemies that for the first time seem like a threat to our contiguous United States.”
Another Reddit user named irate hedgehog asked Ron about what makes a good home a “good home.” He asked “is it building something with your partner, having family near, having the free culture of DC close by or does it not matter so much if you have rewarding work that you spend your time on?
Ron admits that it’s indeed a great question and shares why each place he ever lived meant something important to him at that time in his life. He sums it up by saying, “Being open to the culture of one’s environment, having meaningful relationships with other people and family and satisfaction and adequate compensation in my work gave my life meaning wherever I was.”
One user asked Ron a particularly fun question about what he thought the worst fashion trend of all time was. Ron responds, “The zoot suit. We even had a great song about it in the 40’s. But I also feel a BAD trend was the plainness of men’s clothes most of my life. Today we begin to burst out of that fashion with better looking stuff – think of the variety of men’s shoes today.”
One person asked Ron a pretty deep question: “Was the atomic bomb necessary to end the Pacific War?” His response was, “Of course not. But did it save my life and at what cost to others/or lesser casualties – I don’t know,” he says. “I do think THE BOMB has caused the world to look more reasonably at the horror of war and the need to agree to controls. In my own life it has been a part of my DNA to support anything/everything i possibly can to bring peace and understanding in the world.
These are just a handful of the hundreds of people who asked Ron questions. On his blog, Ron says that his “Ask Me Anything” session “appeared to be a last chance for an old man to see if he had anything more to share with the younger generation.” As it turns out, he certainly did.
You can read the whole AMA thread with Ron over on Reddit.