ELDER MUSIC: Classical Whatnot 2
A TGB READER STORY: Marilyn of My Young Dreams

What It's Really Like to Get Old

That headline is the subtitle of this blog. It always has been and that's not going to change. It says quite nicely what Time Goes By is about.

A TGB reader who signs his comments John and is a Trump supporter has been complaining of late about politics in TGB posts:

”What does politics have to do with what it is really like to be old?” he wrote last Thursday. “Sure, it comes into play with certain legislation like social security and medicare, or even, to a degree, the government response to Covid-19, but it should not consume a large chuck (sic) - seems like over half - of the Alex and Ronni Show and it also frequently bleads (sic) into the daily blog posts.”

This is not the first time John has complained about politics at TGB and now the repetition has come to irritate me. I spent more time over this past weekend thinking about John's comment than I care to admit.

Part of it could be that all Trumpers are at best annoying and further, apparently do not object, for example, to ripping small children from parents' arms and disappearing them. That alone, to me, disqualifies someone from membership in the human race.

But ignoring that atrocity (not to mention others) is so common among Trumpers that it can't be all the reason John's complaint kept interrupting my weekend.

I finally realized that my objection lies closer to the topic of this blog than I originally imagined. It is the ageism in what John complains about – the implication that politics is better left to younger people, that it has nothing to do with growing old.

That's just balderdash. Let me explain.

The word “ageism” was coined in 1969 by the late Robert N. Butler, a physician and gerontologist who won the Pulitzer Prize in 1976 for his first book, Why Survive? Being Old in America.

Butler's definition of ageism includes prejudicial attitudes toward old people and old age in general; discriminatory practices against old people; and institutional practices and policies that perpetuate stereotypes of old people.

That's way too dry but what it means in practice is people, often as young as 40 or 45, not being hired due to their age (it's happened to me and to plenty of you who are reading this). It also means medical care being denied and it means being excluded from drug trials, among other shameful acts.

And it means dismissing or ignoring old people's opinions and points of view just because they are old which brings us back John's objection to politics at Time Goes By.

As is said so often now, we are living in an unprecedented time. There is hardly anyone alive who recalls the 1918 pandemic and now the world is living through our own 2020 Coronavirus pandemic with a uniquely unqualified leader.

A leader who politicizes everything, even the health care of stricken people by granting or withholding life-saving equipment to hospitals depending on the level of fealty to him personally of the people making the request.

This is not the United States I grew up in, studied in school and have believed in all my life. It is the behavior, instead, of a tinhorn, wannabe dictator who does not appear to mind 21,000-plus deaths so far of Americans as long he can crow about how perfect he is.

God help us, but on Sunday, he actually tweeted this:

He apparently believes that being the only president in history to declare a disaster in each and every state is a win for him.

This while tens of thousands of U.S. citizens have died and are continuing to die. Even the caregivers are dying due to the president's policies. Some who hang out at this blog or people we know and love may die due to this man's inability to think beyond the next television camera pointed in his direction.

Is this dire virus situation political? You betcha it's political. A president's number one responsibility is to keep the people of the United States safe. That's it. Everything else is secondary. But the president has not done that, is not doing that. And that makes this political.

John has said he doesn't like politics being talked about at a blog whose slogan is “What it's really like to get old.” Does he mean that old people should back off from the political scene – maybe even from voting?

How is politics not as much about what it is really like to get old as anything – and everything - else?

Maybe there is a hint in another part of John 's comment, the part where he castigates the Democrats for going with Joe Biden as their nominee for president this year:

”I am shocked,” writes John, “that the democrats (sic) are trying to unload an arguably nearly senile individual as their apparent candidate.”

No. What IS shocking is John's statement. It is the definition of ageist. The word senile is kin to the N-word and has no place in civil society. It is descriptive of nothing and is meant only to be insulting to old people. That is not allowed at this blog.


Ronni... it is YOUR blog. You can write or talk about whatever you want. I or John can read it or not. We can agree with what you say or think you are off your rocker. It is yours to pontificate about whatever is on your mind. If it is offensive or irrelevant to John, he should stop reading it. I think he's trying to get a rise from you or from your readers. Little boys do that to little girls all the time.

John should go elsewhere!

Trudi said it all in the first sentence of her comment. I ask people to stay away from politics in comments on my own blog; but, Ronni can do whatever she wishes - and - she does it thoughtfully.

BTW: My husband has always claimed to be slightly to the right of Attila the Hun, and even he is anguished by the stupidity displayed by our current administration. The mention of the president's name sets off fireworks in my husband's head (and mine).

Good morning, Ronni.
I'm a little surprised that you let John get under your skin like that. Throwing out a lot of radar chaff is kind of what they do, but the attacks on reason are tiresome.
I was wondering why I was seeing all the posts on China covering up COVID-19 when it obviously had little or nothing to do with the here and now when it occurred to me that there is $2.2 trillion dollars on the table with #45 and Mnuchin minding the store. Dr. Fauci is on borrowed time in the White House.

An excellent piece, and much appreciated. I’ve always appreciated TGB not just for the posts, but the feedback you receive. And of course I realize we’re not all bound to agree on everything, but the first time I read politics was better left to younger people, politicians aren’t interested in older people’s opinions, I was flabbergasted. MY voice, my vote is just as important as anyone else and always will be! I began to suspect this person either wasn’t as old as most of the other readers here, or didn’t have a very high opinion of himself.

(That “senile” comment about Joe Biden last week... I just assumed it was an angry Trumper’s lashing out since the deck is becoming increasingly stacked against him.) Sticks & stones...

Ronni I just wanted to say thank you for the political discussions that DO take place here. Yours is a voice I want to hear, as is many of your readers. But I admit I will never understand the thinking that goes on in these Trumpers. I’m a moderate Democrat, but before Trump & his minions wrecked the GOP, I listened. When Mitt Romney ran against Obama, I listened. But wow... no more!

I have tried to stay away from politicizing my own blog.  But the current administration and Republicans have taken dead aim at seniors as never before. From Trump’s admission that he’s looking at cutting benefits (after saying he wouldn’t) to the Lt. Governor of Texas who thinks old people should sacrifice themselves for the good of the economy, these people have demonstrated their disdain for older Americans.  
Any blog, publication, social media outlet, or online magazine that has a mature audience and declines to discuss the current political climate in our country, is doing a disservice to their readers.

Thanks Ronni for your comments and the support and statements already made here by followers of your blog. I agree with them all.

Ronni, hope you don't mind, but I shared your post on my FB page with this comment:

So well stated, Ronni Bennett. John's so common attitude and the gas lighting being spewed from the right is enough to choke ten black holes in the universe.

I don’t understand the John’s of this country. Are they under informed? Are they incapable of seeing the mental illness and outright constant lying of this President. Don’t they know that now he actually is responsible for many many deaths? As far as growing old is concerned....are the Johns not aware that if Trump wins again...our social security and Medicare are at great risk?? Do the Johns not care about and not even remember that there are so many children still locked up and still separated from their parents? What? Why? Who are they? What is wrong with them? When someone is a trumper....it says A LOT about them...and NONE OF IT IS GOOD.

Hear, hear, and Amen!

Thank you Ronni. This is a great blog in my humble opinion. The diversity, helpful information, and humanity shown is excellent . I never miss it.

I've never understood people who want to put "politics" in some separate category away from "real life". Politics affects all areas of real life from speed limits to how and when you can vote. Politics is where the rules for your life are done. It's never "just politics". People go off to war and are injured or die because of the decisions made by politicians; today we can clearly see that thousands of people have gotten sick or died because of the decisions of politicians; people out of work now are suffering due to political decisions. It's not a separate category of life like video games.
RE: the word "senile" I really don't think the word "senile" is equivalent to the "N" word or other similar words. Senility describes a real medical condition and the fact that some ignorant people use the word a descriptor for all old people does not mean it should be banished.

Ronni I wish I could express myself as you do. You are right on the button and John and his ilk can as we said at one time "go fly a kite".

Ronni your blog is wonderful. Everything we do and think is political and always has been. How we behave towards ourselves and others can be defined, if you want to, as left or right wing.
BTW I heard a good, although enraging example of ageism today on the radio:
“During this lockdown I can hear my neighbours in the flat above me having sex. For goodness sake! They’re in their sixties!!”

Agree with every single word of your blog post! John is wrong. Part of what growing old is about is contributing our wisdom to our communities and society and yes a conduit for that is politics.

Once again Ronni, thanks for the thought provoking post.

Well put.


Ronni, I too am offended by the inhumane and intentionally divisive remarks you refer to. I appreciate your honesty in admitting that it gets to you—you are strong in your vulnerability and integrity.

Inciters of prejudice and exclusion have to take the consequences of their behaviors. If you were to post your own views on a hard right forum, you would be demonized, possibly personally harassed, and run out of town.

I respect and support however you decide to handle this challenge. Your written statement is powerful, and your last paragraph is unforgettable.

Thank you for today's blog ~~ what you said. I have been deeply hurt and depressed after having been discarded by two women I thought of as friends since moving to this state in 2001. They were always known to worship Trump but we'd enjoy laughter during happy lunches together over the years ~~ political differences rarely voiced.
A month or so ago, one of the gals suggested she did not know what to think these days. She intimated that she felt the pandemic might somehow be a hoax. I suggested she and her close friend switch channels and watch (gulp) MSNBC for maybe 2 full weekdays. That's when the nasty, cutting words were flung back at me with the suggestion that I .....well, never mind.
My head is spinning with fear that the final election "count" will leave us with 4 more years of what we've lived with to date.

I agree, it's your blog and you can and probably should reflect and lead the views of your audience. But in general I think we should not attack the people we disagree with, but try to understand them, where they're coming from, and why they think the way they do. I'm no Trump supporter, believe me, but my eyes were opened a bit when we took a drive cross country last year. We met a lot of gun-owning Republicans in Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, Idaho and Oregon (eastern Oregon), and for the most part they were really nice, helpful people who were friendly and welcoming even though it was obvious we were urban East Coast liberals. We even got into a few semi-political discussions, and we didn't get into any fights. For the most part we agreed to disagree, but we also gained a greater appreciation of fellow Americans who ... well, they kind of live in a different world where neighbors are far away and they are forced to be more self-sufficient and family and church matter more. Oops, sorry if I'm preaching here. Just preaching tolerance.

I agree with what you wrote and am glad you wrote it.

Ronni, Agreed and Amen!!

Thank you Ronni. I'm of the opinion most things are political in one way or another. John's a blinded whiner. I have a friend who is a middle of the road Democrat who told me she thought the Covid-19 couldn't be as bad as they say. I was speechless and sent her some NYT articles and a link to that has what they call a "Coronavirus Dashboard." The stats, especially for the USA are shocking.

Why John doesn't just take a pass on this blog is beyond me. Maybe there's something in it for him..........yes, John? Anyway, as we all know, some of us to our chagrin, the personal is the political. I remind myself and all that we need to keep up with signing petitions, calling our senators and congresswomen, and, if we can, donating to causes that are important to us. We've got to shift this thing. And Biden is not senile, and Trump is, at the very least, a sociopath.


you have thoughtfully ( and with remarkable restraint ) told the Johns of the world why politics matter. I echo many other readers to tell John--Don't like Ronni's views? Don't read them! John is worried about Mr. Biden being senile, but appears to be unmoved by Mr. Trump's narcissistic, volatile, lying, denying behavior. He acts like a short tempered 4 year old having one tantrum after another. He has alienated our allies and cozied up to Putin. I saw a bumper sticker recently ( back before this lockdown) that read "And Sane Functioning Adult in -2020. That would automatically eliminate Trump. He was a disaster before the Covid-19 and now he has doomed many to their deaths with his "policies." America , we can do better.

It has long been distressing to me that so many people seem to think that politics is something that happens "over there." They seem to believe it has nothing to do with them. I hear them say that they don't pay attention to politics, that they hate politics. It's frustrating to me that they don't want to understand that politics determines how power is distributed, and that how this power is distributed has real consequences in their lives and in the lives of their children, relatives and friends. When my fellow Americans refuse to be involved in political discussions, political actions, then they open the way for opportunists to step into the gap and take the power that affects us all, old, young, or in between. Keep talking about politics, Ronnie.

Your blog, your agenda. If the John's of the world don't like political posts they can skip reading them or skip your blog all together. I personally like seeing informed people like you speaking out about what's going on in our political world. What goes on in D.C. does effect people of all ages, if not seniors directly it effects our families. The current administration is eroding America beyond recognition. We elders, who've seen many presidents in action in our lifetime, have a responsibility to speak up before it's to late to turn things around.

Ronni - -
While adding my note of agreement to those of all your other readers, I'd like to suggest a different ploy:
Using your carefully-deployed choices of whom to print and whom to quote, - - such as today's 'John', I'd suggest: From time to time, replicate it with the occasional decently-considered and not abusive letter from a Trumpian.
Why? It obviously reminds you and your readers that: "They are out there!, and that they vote". Just look at the volume and tone of today's Comments. Keep us stirred-up!

I looked up the definition of "politics"; one is "the activities associated with the governance of a country or other area". Governance is implemented via legislation, the creation of laws that formalize the requirements for state and citizens—and the processes for implementing those laws.

So damn straight I am concerned about politics, because that system determines how the state will treat me, and what it •requires• me to do. If one doesn't want to be concerned about that, an authoritarian government will suit and those who rule will be very pleased by that person's apathy.

You go, Ronni, keep talking about politics!

Thank you and hang in there Ronni, we need to keep reading your blog and stand up to the John's etc. One thing I'd like to recommend if anyone can catch Netflix's series about Pandemic, (that's the name) done last year, it's about five hour broadcasts, about what we have and haven't been doing, and can be interesting, as they show teams of people preparing and looking for monies to protect us with vaccines and warnings etc. Even showing one woman who goes to Congress to try and prepare, love to you, and all the readers...

I read his comment and quickly dismissed it. I'm sorry you were unable to do the same, but being your blog, I can see how you would take those comments to heart.

It is YOUR BLOG, and you can say anything you want. Those of us who appreciate your thoughts, ability to write, and outgoing nature, love your blog and will keep reading. Those who don't appreciate all of this should just move along and find those more to their liking.

As for me, I love what you write and will continue to read and post comments at various times. Most of the time, I read, smile, nod, and move on. But sometimes, like today, I feel compelled to add my two cents' worth.

Rubbish. Can dish it out but cannot take it. Typical liberal seeking comfort of the choir

Ronni - Ignore John. He's just trying to get a rise out of you ... and some attention for himself.
If he is a constant reader of your wonderful blog, then he should have figured out by now that politics affects EVERYONE, and that now -- more than ever -- it needs to be something we all get involved with.
And if he objects to what you write, then he can just stop reading it.

I, like others, am amazed at your restraint. I will confess that for some time now I have been looking to see who wrote a comment before reading it. “Cop Car,” “Bruce Cooper,” “Salinda Dahl,” and on and on. I’m happy to read their comments. But if I see “John” I just skip it — nothing for me to be learned there and, frankly, I don’t need the aggravation.

But your willingness with today’s post to be so thoughtful about the “Johns” out there, to actually make (and, in my opinion, make conclusively) the case in refutation of his complaints, is why you, o brilliant Ronni, are one in a million.

Keep up the GOOD work Ronni.

What really concerns me is the number of 'Johns' out there who seem to be immune to the facts available to them.

Ronni, thank you for this post. Although I live in the UK, what happens in the USA affects us too. Trump threatening to withdraw from the WHO affects the world - suspect John would say that is a political statement. Thank heavens Governors of the states took the actions they did while Trump was still stating that Covid 19 was a Democrat hoax. As someone in her 70's I know I'm more at risk and have made sure to keep myself self isolated ; I also know that, if I were to catch Covid 19, my age would put me at the back of a queue for a ventilator and I suspect the same is true in the USA - the personal is political as someone once said. Keep up the good work, your blog makes a difference.

Just the other day, I come across a blog that was so intelligent and thoughtful. The name is bedlam farm. A gentleman who lives somewhere in rural NY state and the date of that particular blog was April 5 or April 6, it was about the similarities between the three prominent characters in the Greek Tragedies and the three prominent individuals we are watching on the media these days. Trump. Dr Fauci and Gov .Cuomo. I recommend it to all of your readers.
Along the same lines as previous commentators. John need not follow you, and if he continues to do so, perhaps he will be enlightened.
Cheers from a Canadian follower.

Brava, Ronni. Not that you need my approval, but I completely agree with you.

I wonder if John saw the news that came out the other day that Trump proposed letting the coronavirus “wash over the country“ and had to be talked out of it by Dr. Fauci pointing out how many lives would be lost. Of course, the virus affects older people more, so letting it “wash over the country” would have resulted in probably millions of older people’s deaths. I hope all of his mainly older supporters saw that story.

Y-a-a-y, Ronni. I vote to give John the sendoff he deserves--permanent consignment to Fox "News" (which is where he probably gets his information anyway). I simply do not understand how anyone can defend tRump's response to COVID-19. He squandered precious time with "happy talk" early in the pandemic; I don't think anyone can deny that! He is threatening to repeat that egregious error by not listening to medical advice about when/how to reopen the country.

His alienation of other nations, and in some cases tariffs, have contributed to the unavailability of medical supplies we now desperately need. His policies have emphasized and clearly shown the fault lines in our society. No, he wasn't responsible for COVID-19, but we likely wouldn't be in the unprecedented situation that confronts us now had there been a coordinated federal response early on, including a much faster ramping up of TESTING. Other countries have tested many more of their residents per capita than the U.S. How the h*** can we reopen the country without some idea of who's infected and where they are?

tRump is indeed "uniquely UNqualified" for the position he (unfortunately) holds. We can only hope he holds it temporarily and will be resoundingly defeated in November--or whenever the country is able to hold the election without causing many more infections and deaths. I agree with Elissa: tRump was at least initially receptive to "riding" the virus regardless of how many (mostly-old) people would have died. Is John ready to die for this guy? He needs to ask himself that question.

The trolls are attempting to infiltrate everywhere. The hate-filled beings have been emboldened to emerge from under their rocks to spew their ugliness. With much restraint: "ignorance is fixable; stupidity is not."

Dear John,

You say liberals "can dish it out but cannot take it." That, sir, is a perfect description of your man Trump. He goes around insulting everyone in sight, gives them silly nicknames, calls them "nasty," but if anyone criticizes him even a little bit, he flies into a rage, sticks his lower lip out and hollers "You're fired!" He apparently thinks that no one who works in government should ever disagree with him. What a stupid, pig-headed attitude.

Why doesn't John just get his own blog?

Patty-in-New-York -- How kind of you! Thank you.

John -- Unlike some others of Ronni's readers, I encourage you to continue to drop by "Time Goes By". I, myself, make it a habit to visit blogs of various persuasions in order (hopefully) to prevent my becoming one-sided, lacking information from other points of view. I not only watch MSNBC, but also Fox. I cannot say that I enjoy them, equally, or that I spend equal time with them, but I do want to hear different points of view.

Even when I was young, I valued having opposition to whatever I was doing. (Among other activities, I have served in a local, non-partisan elective office.) How else could I learn of my errors and inadequacies to which I have become "tone deaf"? I learn from the opposition much as I learn from making mistakes. I have always, however, appreciated being able to carry on conversations with the opposition in a courteous and fair manner. I am most disappointed in myself when I fail to live up to that standard, myself.

After more than 15 years, it would be difficult for me to kick the Ronni habit. Sail on, Ronni!

A major portion of my friends live from one Social Security deposit to the next and the worry about lack of money is in their heads most of the time. He must be one of the lucky ones not be affected by politics every day of his life. Or maybe John is a Russian troll.

thank you for calling John to the reality of life. When Trump indicating that he doesn't know the difference between bacteria and virus was reminded again of how ignorant he is. Thank you for being the person you are.

The Trump bashing does get old. I cringe every time there is a post. This is not why I subscribed to this blog. I think Ronni has some interesting insights on ageing (How I found the blog, in the 1st place) - but not on political viewpoints. It just sounds like more of the "same" rant- nothing new there. However, I HAVE enjoyed the posts on your medical/cancer journey. This is your "strength" and true "voice" in my opinion. I've been tempted to unsubscribe, because of the rhetoric; However, in the meantime, I will continue to read your posts. I don't watch the videos.

I fear I did not stay on topic when I posted earlier. I spoke from today's pain after being essentially discardeds as worthless by former friends, proud Republicans (who prior to their seething angry emails currently) had professed their belief that Democrats were "bad".

John is entitled to his opinion and I respect you for letting him be able to voice it. Even when it’s a view you don’t agree with. Your column is well said. Thank you.

I doubt if "John" is a real person. Just another Republican contrivance to get under the skin of Democrats.

I'm afraid it works. This whole blog today is devoted to "John."

Please don't encourage "John" to stop reading Ronni's posts - you never know he might learn something! I did smile at first when he spoke about age - after all think about most of the leaders of the world - but then of course "senility" a whole other ball game - does he think Trump is in the bloom of youth?
My sympathy is with you all in your beautiful country of America just now - because of the virus of course and because of having the leader you have. I realise how lucky I am to live in a very well protected well lead Western Australia - stay well - and hope for a massive change of mind before November.

Why on earth is John reading a blog about aging if he doesn't care about aging?
Politics is about power. In a democracy, all adult people have a say about who is in power.

I love your blog, and today's wonderful phrase was Beautifully put.

"ripping small children from parents' arms and disappearing them ... disqualifies someone from membership in the human race."

was removed from my post, maybe because it was between quote marks. I'll try again

Bravo Ronni!! 👏👏👏Thank you for stating the obvious. Our health and safety is being destroyed by the incompetence of this administration and the arrogant, revengeful, hostile behavior of the man, who is unfit to be president, leading it.

Older adults are the Americans who vote most consistently and politics is our business.

Well written Ronni.....Sad, Trump is everything that is wrong with this world...I believe, Trump just doesn't know he doesn't know. For how can he be so lacking in knowledge, caring, kindness and understanding....??

Lucy, I so agree - politices IS life (unfortunately, at the moment). We cannot set it aside in a separate little box. It affects absolutely everyone and everything, including the very survival of our planet.

Loved everything you had to say today, Ronni. Thanks.

Very well said, Ronni! Love reading your thoughtful blog!

Is it racism, religious extremism, financial priorities over the public’s well being, disdain for people who are not as fortunate in life, arrogance, lack of empathy or a real need to be a bully, but having to do it vicariously through trump.

We will never know what drives the Johns and Janes of this world, but we do know what doesn’t...kindness, rational thought, critical thinking, intelligence and empathy to name a few.

A few months ago I reached my tolerance level with trumpers. They are toxic and I have nothing to do with them. Keeps me happy and my blood pressure down and my head doesn’t explode.

And Pat, don’t waste a minute feeling hurt about your two so called friends. These are simply not nice people..pure and simple.

I guess with the “Johns” of the world, much like their cult leader, they attack those whose views don’t align with theirs — perhaps unable to effectively defend issues, they instead attack others just as their leader does all the time. Sometimes they do this to distract others in order to keep from having to discuss issues. Stirring up conflict and chaos is all they’re capable of doing — just like their leader.

Their complaints about what somebody else writes on a person’s personal blog doesn’t interest me in reading so I soon dismiss the comment. I enjoy reading whatever triggers the topics that appear here ‘cause as a decidedly aging person I’m interested in everything and most assuredly that includes politics.

I think there’s a non-zero chance that "John" is either a Russian troll or a Republican operative. His comments were slickly and slyly worded, and crafted to be divisive to the diverse readers of this excellent blog. Whatever "he" is it’s not benign, but rather quite malignant. Folks, don’t bite.

Continue to get people you know to register to vote. Vote early (or by mail, if you can). Fill out your census form and encourage family and friends to do likewise (literally five minutes on line). Donate to your local candidates. If you cannot give money, make phone calls (since going door to door is off the table). Write and call your representatives. Often.

Politics is about your life. Why, in heaven’s name should you ever allow anyone else to decide about your life? If you don’t get active and noisy, be assured "they’ will take control of it.

And Ronni? Rock on!

As the son of immigrants whose father was career Army, fought in the Battle of Bataan, and survived the Death March, I was taught that EVERYONE has a civic responsibility in a participatory, representative democracy. We need everyone to be an informed voter, especially now.

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