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I’m getting tired of people who think they can speak for me or other senior citizens regarding the coronavirus, as if we were doddering old fools who needed to be represented by the younger set. (Well, some of us might be doddering, but most of us know just what is going on.) The issue of saving the economy or at-risk citizens has been presented as a black and white, either/or decision, and that is an enormously simplistic and stupid viewpoint.
On National Senior Citizens Day, August 21, 2019, the President issued this proclamation :
Throughout our history, older people have achieved much for our families, our communities, and our country. That remains true today, and gives us ample reason this year to reserve a special day in honor of the senior citizens who mean so much to our land.
With improved health care and more years of productivity, older citizens are reinforcing their historical roles as leaders and as links with our patrimony and sense of purpose as individuals and as a Nation. Many older people are embarking on second careers, giving younger Americans a fine example of responsibility, resourcefulness, competence, and determination. And more than 4.5 million senior citizens are serving as volunteers in various programs and projects that benefit every sector of society. Wherever the need exists, older people are making their presence felt—for their own good and that of others.
If you’ve missed my point, let me make it clear: we senior citizens are active, engaged and competent. We are perfectly able to give our opinions about choices that will need to be made regarding the economy and the health of our citizens over the coming weeks.
Assuming that anyone really wants to know.
If you give a selfless point of view on this subject, and especially if you are a conservative, you will be lambasted by the media. That’s what Lt. Gov. of Texas Dan Patrick discovered. This is what he said :
‘My message: let’s get back to work, let’s get back to living, let’s be smart about it, and those of us who are 70-plus, we’ll take care of ourselves,’ Lt Gov Dan Patrick, a 69-year-old Republican, told Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Monday night.
‘Don’t sacrifice the country,’ Patrick said. ‘Don’t do that.’
Patrick said he feared that public health restrictions to prevent coronavirus could end American life as he knows it, and that he is willing to risk death to protect the economy for his grandchildren.
‘You know, Tucker, no one reached out to me and said, ‘As a senior citizen, are you willing to take a chance on your survival in exchange for keeping the America that all America loves for your children and grandchildren?’ Patrick said. ‘And if that’s the exchange, I’m all in.’
Naturally, the media went crazy, saying that Patrick was speaking for all grandparents. Instead, he clearly said that he thought other grandparents (not all) would agree with him, and that he was all in for risking death to protect the economy for his grandchildren.
I am not a grandparent. But I am willing to take some risks to save not just the economy, but effectively to save this country.
The points that are being ignored by most people who are distorting our current situation are few, but are extremely important:
- Decisions can be made to save the economy and save our most at-risk citizens. This is not an either/or choice.
- Senior citizens are the most at-risk population, but we are only one group that might be consulted in making these decisions. We are just under 15% of the population and many more people, like people who need to work simply for their financial survival and their families, are valued citizens, too.
- Decisions will be complex and have a multitude of factors that will need to be considered. Milestones will need to be established for checking results, and for shifting gears if results are not matching up with goals.
So before the media decides whether or not seniors or the at-risk population is prepared to take some risks, maybe they should ask us.
We’ll be glad to share our thoughts.Published in