Sunday, August 21, 2011
We think we live in such an advanced, enlightened society. We can say and do just about anything and get away with it. We tolerate every imaginable behavior because we do not want to be judgmental.
However, that open mindedness ends when it comes to old people. They can be healthy and productive but the fact that they are "old" makes them fair game for ridicule and derision.
Let's be honest—our less than enlightened society does not like old people who are often described and treated as senile, costly, demanding nuisances. They take up space and use dwindling resources, and worse, they exhale carbon dioxide that Al Gore says is killing the planet. Old people be gone!
A major "problem" with old people is that they rely on the health care system waasaaay
too much and that costs a lot. (Politicians throw tax dollars at foreign countries that don't even like us, but that's another story.) Until recently old people thought they had the right to live as long as God allowed them to live but in our enlightened society that is changing. The new Medicare law, if not struck down by the Supreme Court, will see to it that medical care is rationed based on -- you guessed it – age. In an enlightened society spending scarce money to keep expendable old people alive is not progressive.
Yeah, old people are expensive, demanding nuisances; they just take up space and gobble up resources and pollute the environment, and not only that – worst of all -- they are incompetent!
A perfect example of "old age incompetence" is 75-yer old Myrtle Rose who piloted her plane into restricted airspace during a presidential visit. She did not have her radio on to hear incoming messages and was surprised by fighter planes chasing her. Her failure to turn on her radio unleashed the old people haters. Here are just a few nasty remarks made about her on one blog: ….she is too STUPID to fly again. After that she is too elderly it seems to know how to operate in the skies.
Granted she is a very wealthy Republican, but even they have to abide by the rules of air traffic safety
(I did not know that political affiliation and financial status determine competence.) . . . this old troubled woman and her antics in the skies. .
. (She must be "troubled" because she is "old.")
Even an old person chimed in with an "I'm holier and so much smarter than thou" condemnation: I am an 80-year-old woman and a licensed pilot and this stupid woman gives a bad name to women and older people in general. Who cares how much money she has or if she thought the F-16 pilots thought her plane was cute. She should have her license suspended and be fined as well. I would never think of flying without checking NOTAMS. Unbelievable!
Yes, it's unbelievable. An old woman calling another old woman "stupid" to make herself feel better. That's really enlightened.
Myrtle was not pleased that her age was made public, and I don't blame her, because now she is suffering the slings and arrows of illiberal enlightenment -- the failure to let go of outdated stereotypical ideas about the competence of those of advanced chronological age.
But here's the all-important question: If a much younger male pilot had made the same mistake that Myrtle made, would the pilot's age, political affiliation, financial status or mental condition be newsworthy and subject to ridicule? Perhaps, but just for two seconds.
Here's the good news: Myrtle Rose does not allow awareness of her chronological age to determine how she lives her life. She is competent to fly a plane, so she does on a regular basis. You may not fly a plane – most of us don't – but we all can enjoy life more fully when we have the courage to do what we are able do – and not worry about what is considered permissible in a society that plays at being enlightened but is stuck in the dark ages when it comes to honoring and respecting what is possible at an advanced chronological age. Watch Myrtle Rose talk about the "incident."
Note: Thanks to Erskine, host of "Erskine Overnight
" for bringing the Myrtle Rose story to my attention.
Barbara Morris, R. Ph.