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Senior Lives Matter Too

January 19, 2018

This is an update to my June 3, 2016 blog post:

Many of us have been around long enough to have seen the rotation of special attention focused on various members of our society. They have all been worthy concerns and extra amplification of the problems of some certain groups of our citizenry is to be applauded. We have dealt with the plight of the Native-Americans, African-Americans, American war veterans, Hispanics, Dreamers and illegal immigrants. Their lives and concerns definitely matter. The attention has been merited. The black lives matter movement has been countered with blue lives matter. Everyone is right; no one is wrong. Everyone matters.

Over the years we have also given special attention to teenagers with depression, homosexuals, obese people and those with every imaginable difference, disease, problem or affliction. These also have been worthy of some extra governmental help. There is only one group of our population which has not received any recognition or help: senior citizens of America. Why?

Before anyone goes there, yes there was briefly a gray panther movement and yes there is an organization named AARP. Both have done next to zero to promote the respect and well-being of almost 15 percent of our population. What has the rest of the country done for its older citizens? The answer in one word is squat. This large percentage of America’s citizenry is, on the whole, totally ignored. Seniors are most often expected to stay quiet and simply go away. (They all do eventually.) Even our government appears like the three monkeys on the subject of seniors.

This year was not unusual. Social Security beneficiaries were told they would finally have a coast of living allowance (COLA) of two percent. It was certainly better than the zero percent from prior years but wait a minute. After the bureaucrats jacked-up Medicare premiums (which are deducted from Social Security payments), most seniors were left with a zero increase or slightly less. Even a four-year-old could do the math to make the numbers wash and screw seniors. Yet at the same time more money was appropriated by our government for programs for the underprivileged, illegal immigrants, and virtually every other special interest group living in this nation. Why? Because being a senior citizen does not include you in a special interest group. You are just plain old and no one really gives a damn. The news media certainly doesn’t care. There has been a great deal of flap over the Dreamers as of late but not one single word from the main stream media about the plight of older Americans: Not one word about the millions of senior citizens who built a country where you could even consider having a conversation about “dreamers.”

A demographic consisting of 15 percent of the entire population deserves better. Contrary to popular myth, very few seniors are wealthy. Most live on their meager Social Security checks. Some in rare cases have even been reported to have eaten dog food just to stay alive. Have you seen any media outlet wailing about seniors eating dog food? Of course not. We should at least throw seniors a bone (pun intended) and maybe even help that group as much as we help other groups. Wouldn’t that simply be fair?

The greatest misconception about seniors is that they are living off the government dole in the same way as welfare recipients. Wrong! Older Americans are receiving a pittance of what they put into the Social Security system and it’s being refunded without interest in minuscule amounts as the government sees fit. In fact, most Americans will not live long enough to recover anything near a large percentage of their Social Security contributions. This is especially true of self-employed individuals who pay both the employer and employee portions of Social Security contributions. Government lackeys moan that the Social Security system is bankrupt. It is bankrupt but not at the hands of older Americans but rather by greedy politicians who have “borrowed” from the system to pay for everything from welfare to wars.

The recent fanfare over lower tax rates, increased minimum wages and bonuses paid by large corporations did not enter into the equation for most seniors, save the wealthy. It was a good thing for America but did any Social Security recipient receive a bonus? Of course not! A thousand dollar “bonus” would have gone a long way with any senior but it sure wouldn’t have made sensational evening news. There’s not much sizzle in a story about old people.

Seniors in this country tend to be a little docile, which is a shame. Imagine if all seniors went on strike for a month and didn’t buy anything: No cars, no houses, no televisions, no stocks, no nothing. The national economy would actually collapse in a month. Other groups would happily take to the streets in riot and boycott businesses at the drop of a hat if they didn’t get their way. Seniors just sit at home and patiently hope that things will change for the better. (They don’t!)

It is way past time that Americans recognize their senior citizenry for who they are: The backbone of a great society that was built by their very sweat and blood. They deserve a better treatment from their government and fellow citizens alike and not just concerning monetary issues. But why not a COLA adjustment commensurate with increases given other groups? Again, it is actually their own money after all. It is not a gift from the government coffers. At the same time they don’t deserve to be mocked and taken advantage of just because they have patiently grown older. We all grow older eventually. The next time you see a senior member of your community, you might want to actually thank him or her the same way you would thank someone in our military. They deserve the thanks for making this country great and would be happy to hear so once in a while. Even a smile would be a nice non-cash bonus for most of them.

At the end of the day, just like you, me, us and them…. senior lives matter too!

These are some of my thoughts on the subject of seniors and why senior lives matter. Let’s hear yours.

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3 Comments
  1. Olive Blankenship permalink

    Well said.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. KiM permalink

    All lives matter. Just a thought – what if you were the one who started the change you want to see? I mean one person CAN do so much. I have zero hope of seeing all we’ve paid into SS from both sides being self-employed. Really zero expectation that the money has been handled in such a way that we will see any of it. With the mess our insurance and medical is in though I’m guessing there will be a lot fewer people living as long. I expect the average age someone lives to actually decline if it hasn’t already. Boy, don’t I sound like the pessimist/realist this morning.

    Liked by 1 person

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