It’s getting embarrassing to be an old white person. One of my Facebook friends recently wrote:
Witnessed two 70-something white people, who did not previously know each other, celebrating the fact that Chicago was not selected to host the Olympics in a Wawa in South Jersey today. Their glee was directly related to Obama "failing" and and... one of them even threw in a very thinly veiled racist comment for good measure. What is currently happening in this country is disturbing and alarming.
When I went to a local mall this week end, there were all these white people in their sixties and seventies holding up signs with “Say no to Socialism!” And “Keep your hands off my Health care.” The closest thing we have to socialism in this country is Medicare, which these seniors want to save. And yet some of them carry signs saying that government should keep its hands off their Medicare. Huh?
Now of course there are many seniors—such as all my friends--who support extending the benefits they enjoy to the rest of the population. (See my September 5 post, "There are a lot of seniors out there who support health care reform")
But the reality is that much of the opposition comes from my demographic. Of course it’s not just old people who march around brandishing pictures of Obama with a Hitler mustache or portrayed as a witch doctor, but old people are clearly over-represented.
The selfishness of some of these seniors is probably going to increase ageism among the young. How could it not?
I’ve tried to understand their fears and maybe muster some sympathy. These are people who see the world changing in ways they could never have imagined. And it’s not just having an African-American president. It’s seeing states (maybe their own state) legalizing gay marriage. And it’s seeing their children and grand children embracing a multi-cultural America and voting for Barack Obama.
I’ve tried to understand the fears underlying all this, but the ugliness and mean spiritedness makes it really hard.