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Let’s Refuse To Be Invisible

“The deceivers started with self-deception…No matter how large the tissue of falsehood that an experienced liar has to offer it will never be large enough…to cover the immensity of factuality.”    

Hannah Arendt


This coming Friday morning at 10:00 am, please join us online for a free showing of the documentary Olympia. With salty language, guest appearances and an intimate connection with Olympia Dukakis, this next edition of the Wabi Sabi Film Festival is thoroughly entertaining.

Following the film, director Harry Mavromichalis will join us for a Q+A session, and he will stick around for the discussion. Get your free ticket at          The Wabi Sabi Film Festival (WSFF) is a presentation of A Tribe Called Aging and Growing Community Media. We started the WSFF one year ago with the screening of On Golden Pond at the Lake Theater.

Anybody remember going to the Lake Theater? Even with the roll-out of a vaccine in the next few months, it will probably be a while before I go back to a movie theater. And I say that with remorse, because I am a big supporter of the Lake Theater. I’m also a supporter of our local businesses, as are most of us older people. We have work to do to help out our local economy.

The spending of Americans ages 50 and up in 2015 accounted for nearly $8 trillion worth of economic activity. But that’s because of the baby boom – there’s just more and more of us aging. The truth of the matter is that we are on the front end of hard times for the exploding older population. One example is that by 2029, 54% of middle-income older people will not be able to afford ‘senior living’. That’s middle-income older people, not poor older people, and that’s in less than 10 years. The poorest of older people are already feeling the pinch. By the year 2030, one in every five Americans will be over the age of 60. What are we going to do when the number of older people has doubled from 2016 to 2060? We can barely keep up now.

So, as I’ve written here before, we are all behind this curve – individuals and institutions.

In announcing the creation of a Presidential Climate Envoy and naming John Kerry to that post, President-Elect Biden’s transition team stated “The climate crisis demands nothing less than all hands on deck.” That is true, and I support that decision. But what about the aging demographic crisis? We need all hands on deck for that right now. The recent presidential campaign was virtually silent on this issue. It’s time for a Presidential Aging Envoy.

I am relieved and I am celebrating that Joe Biden won the election. And we are all still behind that aging curve.

President-Elect Biden named all kinds of doctors to his coronavirus task force – experts in public health, surgery, infectious disease, oncology, tuberculosis, cancer, there’s even a pediatrician - but no geriatrician, no medical expert in aging. And this, despite the fact we olders are most susceptible to suffer fatal repercussions from COVID-19.

And having no geriatrician is bad enough, but Biden named bioethicist Dr. Ezekiel Emmanuel (Rahm’s brother) to his Coronavirus task force. This is the guy who wrote a few years ago that he wants to die at age 75 — younger than Joe Biden is today — and he thinks we all should want that too. In the October, 2014 issue of the Atlantic magazine, Ezekiel Emanuel wrote:     Here is a simple truth that many of us seem to resist: living too long is also a loss. It renders many of us, if not disabled, then faltering and declining, a state that may not be worse than death but is nonetheless deprived. It robs us of our creativity and ability to contribute to work, society, the world. It transforms how people experience us, relate to us, and, most important, remember us. We are no longer remembered as vibrant and engaged but as feeble, ineffectual, even pathetic.

This is ageism to the core - it broad-brushes all older people as “feeble, ineffectual, even pathetic” and judges us olders to be less important than younger people.

How about we older people make an early New Year’s resolution – let’s refuse to be invisible.


laughing man

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