Be an Active Senior!

unnamed-5.jpgI participated in the Women’s March that happened in my home town. It was a wonderful, loving, empowering day. It only happened a month ago, but it was a very long month. Since then, I have been much busier than I have been in  many years. I decided to form a small group of Trump “resisters” at the senior apartment complex where I live. I have been keeping in touch on line, holding meetings where I live, and attending meetings of community groups. I have more contact and connection with my neighbors than I ever had in the six years I have lived here. I have regained a sense of purpose. In short, Donald Trump has been good for me. If we are successful in our efforts to prevent our democracy and our planet from being destroyed, what is happening now may prove to be good for our country, as well. A devious effort to divide us may end up pulling us together.

Unlike some people, I don’t think we are out of danger yet. I think it is up to every one of us to do what we can to resist the arrogance of a man holding the office of president who believes he is beyond the rule of law and the irresponsibility of representatives who won’t stand up to him. Our constitutional rights and protection by the government are being undermined. The constitutional restraints on the presidency have been ignored. Those of us who love democracy have good reason to be alarmed. It is our right and our responsibility to do something about it. As retired people, we have a wonderful resource not available to those who are still working and raising families: Time.

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Another resource we have is experience. Hey, we’re the baby boomers! We were the ones who protested the Vietnam war. Many of us marched for civil rights and nuclear disarmament. We worked for women’s rights. We were the youth movement of the sixties and seventies, and many of us have been politically active right up to the present. I admit I am one who has not. I got involved in raising a child, going to graduate school, developing a career, caring for parents, and so on. There are a lot of people like me out there. Now is the time for us to get involved again, if only in our own self interest. We seniors rely on Social Security and Medicare. Many rely, as I do, on affordable senior housing. Programs like this may be and probably are at risk along with the Affordable Care Act. There are new young activists who bring their energy, intelligence, tech savvy, and sense of the future. Together we can do this!

Some time during the intervening years I found myself sitting in a hot tub in a small coastal town with a group of artists. I think it was the early 1990’s. Sounds like it, doesn’t it? We got to reminiscing about the ’60’s and ’70’s. I remember saying, “We think that the shift in consciousness at that time was about a youth culture, but that wasn’t it at all. It was planting the seeds for us to grow into wise elders for the coming hard times.” I didn’t actually know what I was talking about, but I clearly remember saying it. My own words stuck with me. I can tell you we are those – hopefully – wise elders. The time is now.

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3 thoughts on “Be an Active Senior!

  1. I was treated to an interesting perspective today when I went with my daughter-in-law and grandson to a Resistance event in Santa Monica focused on writing post cards to political officials. It was held by members of the entertainment industry and I was close to double the age of anyone else there. Great spirit tho and superb organization to help us use our time as wisely as possible. A man attended whose name I didn’t catch, but he was a lawyer and had been part of the campaign staffs of several prominent politicians, including John Kerry. Currently he wrote speeches for Elizabeth Warren and sometimes Bernie Sanders. On the side, he worked on Hollywood productions with a political theme.

    He zeroed in on me right away as the only one there old enough to remember the early powerful resistance movement of the 60’s and 70’s and who had experienced a truly effective and Liberal Supreme Court which participated responsibly in a system of checks and balances.

    His surprising take was that there was a way to see some redemptive benefit in Trump’s presidency. Before your jaw hits the floor, he pointed out that, had Hillary won, we would have felt comfortably secure and gone back to apathy about the state of our national political reality. Trump has woken us up and the horrifying truth is that our nation has been under assault by the likes of the Koch Brothers and their cadre of robber baron billionaires for 30 years and we’ve only muttered a feeble protest while they’ve largely worked in the shadows–gerrymandering, buying politicians, recruiting allies, and securing influence on state and local governments throughout the nation. They are fighting for completely unfettered corporate control of government (with an absence of concern for individuals, health care, the environment, equal opportunity, education, etc. etc.etc.) –and their goal is not to run the state more effectively, but to prevent the state from interfering with their right to amass fortunes. They currently already control a frightening percentage of state and local governments, but, till now, there has been no organized resistance to their ruthless takeover of the political process. It’s taken Trump’s ascendance to wake people up to the necessity to actively and unceasingly protect our democracy–and the fact that our membership spans generations, geography, social status, etc. is a boon, because a united front is what is needed.

    Of course, much has been lost already while we were complacently going about our lives, but, at least, so many citizens are finally shouting NO MORE and fighting back. He said that the Supreme Court was the most important fight we were waging and that we must actually try to align with Republicans of integrity who ALSO have much to lose if it becomes a tool of the likes of Trump. He asked us to seek out Republicans to write to who might be persuaded to put the nation above party in the interests of preserving our Democracy, and he reminded us that the crisis posed by Trump MIGHT be sufficient to win Conservative allies.

    An interesting perspective which led me to write a sincere letter to Senator McCain as a start and ask for his help in saving the nation. Maybe, instead of polarizing us, the current crisis could possibly bring patriots together? Maybe the days when corporate think tanks can assault our institutions in secrecy are over? Maybe it’s time for mobilization across class, idealogical, geographical, economic barriers. And across age differences too. We Boomers who have been gracefully fading from the public scene have a history that can inform and strengthen the efforts of today. And, yes, we’ve got the TIME!

    Would we be gearing up like this without Trump? Probably not. Was there a cancer eating away at the fabric of our nation without being addressed? Yeah, I have to say probably so. So maybe we should gird up and eschew the despair that has been dogging me and many others since November, and fight back. Maybe we’ll find that we have some power after all, now that we’re hell bent on finding it.

    If not, God help us all.

    1. Lia, Thank you, well said. I agree with you all the way through. I just edited your piece in very minor ways. Interesting – I have been thinking about writing to McCain. I agree that the Supreme Court is one very important issue. The systematic elimination of departments like the EPA, the Department of Education, the Food and Drug Administration, and others is very discouraging. If Hillary had won, they could not have done this. It’s a double punch with the White House appointing, as they say, the fox to guard the hen house, firing employees and not replacing them, and imposing gag orders; then in the meanwhile congress introduces bills to defund the program the president just gutted. On the other hand, as you say, with Hillary as president we would be complacent as they more gradually move in the same direction. I would encourage you to start a group where you live, or join the large Berkeley Indivisible group.

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