Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Old is not "Dead"

By Alan Caruba

The most troubling aspect of President Obama’s insistence on so-called healthcare reform is the way the proposed changes will harm the interests of those on Medicare or Medicaid, all 65 years and older.

In the interest of “reform” it is clear that healthcare for the elderly will be rationed in terms of what will be covered with age a factor in whether one’s life will be saved or not through medical procedures.

Americans are now living to an average age of 78 and, of course, many are living much longer. My Mother lived to 98 and my Father to 93. Both required medical procedures towards the end of their lives and, good Democrats that they were, both appreciated the protection and benefits offered by Medicare.

I am just shy of age 72 and quite healthy. Given the genes passed onto me by both parents, I expect to live at least another twenty years, but more importantly, I expect to be writing that long as well.

I got to thinking that many now officially considered “old” at 65 made considerable contributions, often based on the fact that age had equipped them with invaluable experience.

At age 65, Winston Churchill became Britain’s Prime Minister. He is credited with leading his nation to triumph through World War II.

Others at the same age made their mark. William Henry Seward, the U.S. Secretary of State, purchased Alaska from the Russian Czar for less than two cents an acre. William Jennings Bryan, a three-time candidate for the presidency represented Tennessee in the famed Scopes “Monkey Trial.” Defending Scopes, legendary attorney, Clarence Darrow, was age 68.

George Cukor directed the Broadway show “My Fair Lady” and Laura Ingalls Wilder published the first of her popular eight-volume series, “Little House on the Prairie”, both at age 65.

At age 66, Michaelangelo completed the “Last Judgment” fresco in the Sistine Chapel and Secretary of State George Marshall announced the post-WWII European Recovery Plan that saved Europe from Soviet ambitions.

Richard Wagner composed his opera, “Parsifal” at age 69 and Noah Webster published “An American Dictionary of the English Language” at age 69. He had worked on it for 22 years and it became one of the best-selling books of all time.

At 70, Golda Meir was elected the Prime Minister of Israel. Nicolaus Copernicus was 70 when he published the result of 30 years of research, “On the Revolution of the Celestial Spheres”, that changed astronomy thereafter.

Ronald Reagan, age 73, was reelected President of the United States and many of both political persuasions wish we had his wisdom and guidance these days. It was Reagan who said, “Government is not the solution, it’s the problem.”

At age 76, Thomas Jefferson began designing the buildings and curriculum of the University of Virginia. Giuseppi Verdi composed “Falstaff” at the age of 79. Actress Jessica Tandy won an Oscar at age 80 for her performance in “Driving Miss Daisy.”

I could cite many more examples, but I will close out by noting that Winston Churchill, at age 83, published the last of the four volumes of his “A History of the English-Speaking Peoples.”

Old is not “dead”, but the assault on America’s older citizens by the Obama administration will hopefully die in the chambers of Congress. If not, America’s “senior citizens”, Democrats, Republicans, and independents, will teach Obama the power of the vote in October 2010 and again in 2012.


Carolyn said...

I really like this post Mr. Caruba. All of the folks you mentioned are great examples, and I am sure that many of us have parents or grandparents who we look up to in their older years. To pass them off because they are past "contibution" age to society is a pile of you know what. So, maybe they may not be earning a wage and paying into broken systems anymore, but I know one feisty woman (my staunch democrat mother in law!) whom I would be so at a huge loss if I didn't have her around anymore! She and other of my elders I look up to and depend on for so much wisdom! God Bless you and them for all contributions past and now!

Always On Watch said...

Good stats used to marshal evidence for your thesis.

My family doesn't have your good genetics, but we do hold up quite well into our 70s and 80s.