Friday, February 5th, 2016
The Prisoner of Stratton Street South
What now appears to be a yearly occurrence here at the Asylum, the residents of the Westchester Center are experiencing a limited quarantine due to an outbreak of an undisclosed intestinal virus that causes nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Simply put, this means that all group activities are canceled, including meals served in our dining room.
A memo distributed to residents late last night, informed us that all meals and medications will be brought to our room's. While this sounds like a good thing, in reality, this is the worse thing that could happen. Illness aside, the limitation of the daily activities imposes an immeasurable hardship on residents who depend on mealtimes as part of their recreation.
Normally, I would take the management of this facility to task, but this is one time that they are not to blame. Due to the Big Brother attitude taken by the New York State Department of Health, the facility must impose these drastic measures when the number of reported cases extends past 5.
While we hope that this imposition on our freedom will end soon, from previous experience I know that we can expect to be compromised for at least the next 3 days and most likely longer.
Meanwhile, we have a beautiful snowfall to look at while we ponder our fate.
In Iowa, Seniors didn’t “Feel the Bern”
It’s not that I was surprised by the outpouring of support for Bernie Sanders by young voters in Monday’s Iowa caucus’, what I was surprised at was the overwhelming numbers of these voters that felt that Bernie Sanders had more to say to them that the Clinton camp. The Washington Post was just as amazed...
“The most amazing stat coming out of the Iowa Democratic caucuses is this one: Among voters between the ages of 17 and 29, Bernie Sanders won 84 percent of the vote to Hillary Clinton's 14 percent.”
So what’s the attraction that a 74-year-old man has for the 17-29 set. Perhaps it’s his firm stand on a $15 minimum wage or the specter of Medicare for all that appeals to young voters. Or, as the N.Y. Time states...
“Mr. Sanders’s call for revolution against a political and financial system rigged against the middle class...”
“For his young fans, the unchanging nature of his pitch has deepened their connection to him. His rallies feel like a combination revival meeting and rock music festival, down to the funky vendors hawking rainbow-hued “Feel the Bern” merchandise.”
If anything, this bolsters my faith in the youth of America. Being an old 1960’s radical myself, who would think nothing of staging a sit-in at the Dean’s Office, I’m glad to see that the incendiary spirit, if not burns, at least smolders a bit. The numbers, however, belie the real story of the youthful support for Mr. Sanders. Unfortunately, that 17 to 29 age group makes up the smallest group of voters, not only in Iowa, but in the nation as well. This means that Bernie cannot depend on this demographic to carry him to victory. But who are the majority of people that vote? In Iowa, at least, the age of the majority of people who vote skews a little older with 45 to 65 year-olds making up 36% and those 65 plus an additional 28%.
Now, if my calculations are correct, that 65 plus
According to a 2011 post on the Robin Report by writer Robin Lewis, this is what happened...
“The American Dream that many so-called “hippies” of the 1960s counterculture movement embraced, chanting their mantra of “Peace and Love,” became something very different once the 1970s, which Tom Wolfe named “the Me decade,” came along. Somewhere along their free-loving, pot smoking, corporation bashing, military and government hating, revolutionary “road,” the hippies (or a majority of them) took the wrong fork and created a very different dream.
This 1970s dream embraced a nirvana scenario which included a bunch of stuff, accumulating more of it, and better yet, bigger stuff. Money and power, of course, were basic ingredients in this recipe. So, what’s the new American dream? Well, while we were busy worrying about unemployment, the stock market, and the housing crisis, at a time when these things are harder to come by than ever before in our lives, the descendants of the old dream-makers have created a new American Dream. And in many ways, the new dream is better than the old one!”
The problem is that it’s tough being a radical. You have to deprive yourself of so many things you really want. As you get older, the railroad flat in the East Village no longer appeals to you. The VW bus has morphed into an SUV and free love has succumbed to STD’s, HIV and family. Simply put, we grew up. Sad, but true. But just because we are older, does that mean that our social responsibility should be any less viable. Of course not. In fact, senior citizens have historically made up the largest voting block.
“Some 61 percent of citizens age 65 and older voted in the November 2010 election, the best turnout of any age group. More than half (54 percent)
those ages 55 to 64 also cast a ballot. People under age 45 are much less likely to vote. Just 37 percent of 25- to 44-year-olds made it to the polls in November 2010. And not even a quarter (21 percent) of the youngest citizens—ages 18 to 24—entered a voting booth in 2010. Here's a look at some of the reasons senior citizens are more likely to vote than younger people.” of
A fact that has not escaped the Sanders campaign. In a recent statement to Politico.com, Mr. Sanders said...
"There is nobody in the Senate who has fought harder for seniors," he continued. "Secretary Clinton and I disagree on a very important issue—I want to expand Social Security benefits, she doesn't. And I want to do it by lifting the ban on taxable income. I have taken on the pharmaceutical industry, year after year, who are ripping off the American people, charging us the highest prices in the world, hurting many, many seniors."
This seems to fit in to what Julian Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University and author of Governing America: The Revival of Political History had to say...
“Senior citizens have a vested interest in protecting the valuable benefits they receive from the federal government. "A lot of the benefits of our government go to older people
...If you look at the major domestic benefit programs, from Medicare to Social Security to Medicaid, the older people just have a greater interest in voting than younger people who don't see the same benefits."
All of this boils down to one thing. Bernie will have to make his case to his fellow senior citizens if he is to expect to maintain any kind of political momentum. The campaigns now move on to a more Sanders friendly environment, New Hampshire. It will be interesting to see if he can capture some older hearts and minds.
I know it seems impossible, but every once and a while this blogger needs a little assistance writing the editorial portion of the blog. Therefore, I am asking for your help. I need you to do either one of two things. I would love to be able to publish your guest editorials. I would even keep it anonymous if you so desired. You could write about anything as long as it pertains to the general subject of this blog which is seniors and senior concerns. Or, if you don’t feel confident in your writing abilities, perhaps you could suggest a topic or topics for me or someone else to write about. You can send your opinions, suggestions, and editorials to
Being politic phobic
©2016 B.W. Cooper
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Catch the Next Blog Post on Sunday, Feb. 7th, 2016