For seven years on this blog, I have worked my ass off to defend elders against ageism and discrimination, to lobby for our inclusion in the mainstream and stand up against those who would deny us those rights. But it's becoming harder every day to feel good about what I do.
I am deeply embarrassed when I repeatedly see the oceans of gray hair at the love Glenn Beck/hate President Obama and Tea Party rallies.
When the signs they carry aren't spouting ignorance of the definitions of socialism and Communism, they are filled with blind hatred, comparing the president to Hitler. If not that, they say stupendously stupid things like, “Take your government hands off my Medicare.” And some of them wear teeshirts warning they are prepared for armed revolution.
Then there are the signs supporting repeal of what they call Obamacare, the modest reform package that, in time, will help millions (if not all) younger people who cannot otherwise afford it to buy health coverage. How dumb – or mean – do you have to be to not want to extend the kind of care you have to everyone in the United States?
Does it really come down to, “I've got mine and screw you, my child”?
At this point in writing today's post, news of a new poll dropped in my inbox showing that 58 percent of Americans, including 42 percent of those 65 and older, support proposals to allow “younger workers to invest some of their Social Security tax dollars in private retirement accounts, including stocks and mutual funds.”
Does that mean nearly half of Social Security recipients can't remember 2008 when elders collectively lost an estimated $2 trillion of our savings – mostly from stocks and mutual funds? And that they would inflict that on their adult children and grandchildren?
It is (almost) understandable that 70 percent of 20-somethings in the poll support privatization of Social Security (although you have to wonder if they know anything at all about how their grandparents live). But those 42 percent of elders don't have the excuse of youthful stupidity which the kids, at least, have time to outgrow.
Here are some examples from the 9/12 rally last Sunday that set me off on this rant. All three are copyright by ninetwelvephotos at Flickr.
I said above I am embarrassed by these elders, but it is worse than that: I am ashamed. And I am in a very bad mood.
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Jerry Rasmussen: Proud Poppa