Seniors: No Money to Leave Your Kids?
11.14.2006 04:38 | DISPATCHES
No problem. Just leave them a better world then. Post-election momentum provides the perfect opportunity for a new approach to activism.
In this day and age it's harder than ever for old folks to bequeath their children an inheritance. They start off on the road to retirement with the best of intentions, but obstacles soon spring up at every turn.
Rising costs, especially health care and prescription drugs, are bad enough. But during the tech boom many -- no thanks to their brokers -- had their money tied up in investments much too aggressive for older people at the time of the tech-boom crash.
The ensuing crash not only pulled the rug out from under their dreams of a posh retirement, but of giving their children a leg up on life. Their scaled-down goal is just to stretch their funds out until they die.
Elders' inability to leave their children an estate -- which is paralleled by children's frustration at their inability to help their parents financially -- gnaws at them. No need to despair though. They can leave their children something more valuable: a better world.
What better time to begin than now when post-election momentum can give them a running start? At their age, they need all the help they can get.
The rest of us -- youth, adult, and middle-aged -- need all the help we can get too. Especially if we're progressives who are frustrated we can't devote more time and energy to activism. Many of us just can't take time from our jobs and families to, say, demonstrate or organize. Least of all can we afford -- cost- or career-wise -- to be jailed.
Here then is an avenue that the progressive elderly can take to expiate the shame (however undeserved) they experience over their inability to leave their children as large an estate as they'd hoped.
Seniors have proven effective in defending federal and state programs benefiting their peers from cutbacks. Also, they're usually well-represented at demonstrations. Why not step up, then, if you're a senior with some spring still left in your step, and take the initiative? (We hereby anticipate readers' comments reporting on existing efforts by the progressive elderly.)
For instance, beef up vigils outside military recruiting offices. Or sit in outside the offices of congressman. Pick an issue, any issue.
A hundred old folks, preferably dressed in jackets and ties, and dresses, are guaranteed to draw attention. (Incurring arrests may be reserved for those whose nest egg is comparatively intact.)
The progressive elderly can supply the numbers -- not to mention the distinguished presence -- which those of us with jobs and families can't. Also, they can take pride they've done their part to try to make the world a better place for their grandchildren.