Wow. The response from Time Goes By readers since the announcement of Elders For Health Care Reform Day on 20 August – tomorrow - is fantastic. Many have already posted stories and have been doing so repeatedly since this debate began. Many questions about 20 August have arrived by email. Elders in European countries will be joining in too.
Jan Adams of Happening Here, who is a career political activist, has posted stories at other points around the web about 20 August drawing interest in tomorrow's project from outside the elder blogosphere – which, of course, is the point.
As I noted in my post announcing the project, I am personally embarrassed by the high number of ignorant, uninformed elders at town hall meetings with their fact-free screechings. The now infamous statement of one - “Keep your government hands off my Medicare” - amused me at first. I don't find it funny anymore; it's pathetic and worse, allows anyone who wants to, to believe old people are idiots.
That attitude leads to increased granny bashing as in an Op-Ed in Monday's New York Times in which someone named Richard Dooling denies supporting euthanasia while calling for a cutoff of all ICU treatment at age 85. As if no one should live a day longer.
Tomorrow, I will take on one small area of reform – the public plan, which seems to be losing ground. Without it, reform will be meaningless.
But my main job tomorrow will be to collect, collate and promote all the other posts from elders supporting health care reform. Here is what you need to do:
- Post your story on your blog
- Navigate here to Time Goes By and click on “Contact” link in the upper left corner of the page
- In the email form, send me the following information:
• The name you want to appear as author
• The title of your story
• The name of your blog
• The link to your story
Give your story a specific title that tells readers what it is about. Remember to check your facts and link to your sources. Avoid scare tactics and name-calling. Raise the questions and concerns you have about the draft reform bills from Congress and the commentary from legislators, pundits and the public without rancor or hostility. We are not the town hall nitwits.
And don't shy away from personal health care stories – those are often the most powerful. Plus, elders have the experience of having lived with private coverage and Medicare for comparison that younger people don't yet have.
Throughout the day as the emails arrive, I will add links to all your posts within my post. Keep them coming all day; this project will live beyond Thursday.
Now. Many readers of Time Goes By and other elderblogs do not themselves keep blogs. If that is so, you can participate too by leaving your stories, opinions and thoughts in support of health care reform in the comments below the main story tomorrow. Do not be concerned with length – that's an advantage the internet has over print: space is limitless.
It has already become a kneejerk reaction for reporters on television, the internet and in print to preface their reports on town hall meetings and other reform events by noting that participants are mostly old people. Their references are sometimes snide and dismissive as they point out the ignorance on display and the raucous nature of the gatherings.
I want to believe those elders are a tiny minority. Let's show the internet world tomorrow why we believe all citizens should have coverage at least as good as the Medicare we enjoy.
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Florence J. Anrud: Providence