Does America Hate The Elderly?

One thing that will always stick with me about the COVID crisis is the cavalier attitude toward death that was on display not just by the crazy right, but among some centrists as well.

The flat-out refusal to act like we are in a society was at first a tendency among the far-right, who were loudly declaring they were not going to wear any masks or do social distancing, or anything at all regarding preventive measures. This idea seemed to spread, as more and more people began to fight masking and vaccines and anything else to protect themselves and their fellow Americans.

The most common excuse for not caring for others was simple: the virus was mainly killing elderly people, old people are old, and they were going to die anyway. This passage in a September 2020 CNN article, for example:

Ann and Marvin Robinson, a married couple in Casper, Wyoming, got the virus almost three months ago. Marvin, 73, still has shortness of breath, and both are battling fatigue.

“We have friends who still believe it’s a hoax. They think that it’s going to go away on Election Day,” Ann, 72, told CNN’s Brianna Keilar on Tuesday.

“It’s trying to convince people that the 200,000 people who have died were important,” Ann said of her efforts to assure people of the reality of the virus.

Their friends “kind of discount the fact that older people get it that have underlying conditions, that they were going to die anyway,” Ann said. “Well, I’m an older person and I have underlying conditions, and I intend to live for a lot more years.”

Yikes! I mean, if I am a 72-year-old who hears that, it would be a long-ass time before I have those “friends” over for a dinner party.

This is not really an isolated line of thinking. Do a Google search on “going to die anyway” and you will find thousands of references to this awful phrase during the pandemic’s darkest days. As someone of Native descent raised by a father who taught me a lot about Native ways of thinking, this is a shock to me. In Native culture, elders are revered, and in exchange for that reverence, our elders are expected to act in a way deserving of that respect. But a general “screw ’em, they had one foot in the grave anyway” would be considered (rightfully) as a reprehensible view of the elderly.

The thing is this general attitude toward the elderly predates COVID. Professional Awful Human Rick Santorum described America’s seniors on Social Security and Medicare as “drug addicts needing a dime bag.” In 2009, a Village Voice writer pondered why “we hate old people.

Then there is this wacko:

Click on that to get Zeke’s full dissertation on why, once you reach 75, you are worthless and should be wormfood. “By the time we reach 75, creativity, originality, & productivity are beginning to wane for the majority of us. There are exceptions to the rule, but too many ‘American immortals’ assume that they’ll be the anomaly.”

His words, not mine. Also, “Death is a loss but living too long is also a loss. It leaves most of us debilitated and unable to contribute to society. We are no longer remembered as being vibrant and engaged, but instead as feeble and ineffectual.”

This guy is not some frequent Sean Hannity or Tucker Carlson guest, but a former Obama advisor. Fortunately, he has received some pushback on this.

It should be of no surprise that this guy is also the older brother of Professional Awful Human Rahm Emanuel, who often shows all the empathy towards others of a parasitic worm.

Myself? I am 55 years old. I hope to survive on this stupid rock for a while longer. I might be a “burden” like Emanuel claims all seniors are, but I really don’t give a shit what he or others like him think. But it would be good if we were better to our elders, and not view them as problems that we hope will die soon.

The last word goes to, appropriately enough, Old and In the Way:

2 thoughts on “Does America Hate The Elderly?

  1. I feel like I should make a reminder so that it in 10 years I can start bugging this guy and asking why he hasn’t offed himself yet.

    1. “I can start bugging this guy and asking why he hasn’t offed himself yet.”

      Don’t forget to offer to help.
      It’s important to be helpful.

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