To The Daily Sun,
I wrote this six months ago, not knowing if I should send it, but now seems to be the time.
It is time to look at some alarming facts and to understand the underlying threat to our way of life but remembering that it is NEVER too late to do something to change course.
While the center of this piece may reference seniors, it is not a piece just for seniors. It is used to show what is happening on this one level and how it is also spreading to all levels of society. Many of you are getting there soon. It is also for the unemployed and underemployed, and families struggling to survive.
I recently heard a supposed pundit declare on national TV that the "greatest generation" was a load of crap and they should come out of the 50s and get with the program. Times have changed he charged. No kidding! Maybe everyone should go back to those times when values and morals still prevailed. The new way of doing business doesn't seem to be working out too well.
Today's seniors grew up in a time when the words Republican and Democrats were not dirty words or an insult. Most of us had nothing but it didn't make us jealous or hateful of those who did. It made us strive harder for that better life. We went to school each and every day and learned from dedicated teachers the history of our country, the basic tenets of reading, writing, and arithmetic. We knew when we graduated from high school, that we could go out into the world armed with the tools needed to succeed or at least make a decent living. And we did. We can't say that today.
We survived the Great Depression. Bad as that was, it was a character builder. We went without a lot of things but we still had a good life with friends and family as we were all in the same boat. We were brought up to listen and obey our parents, teachers and other role models. We were taught to respect and enjoy each other. We learned to fend for ourselves. If you wanted something grand like going to a movie, you worked for that dime. I shoveled sidewalks and driveways to get that dime and a nickel for candy at the movies. Brothers cut grass in the neighborhood and we all walked over a mile to get to that movie and that walk was fun too. We walked to school a half mile further. Our diet was simple, no fast-food places, but there was a bakery on the way and often it got my lunch money for a donut or cream puff.
We endured World War II, built the biggest manufacturing structure in the world during the war, lost hundreds of thousands of our young brothers, fathers, sons, and loved ones. All, so we could not only survive but be able to build upon it to become a better place and enrich our lives. So, remember that today's seniors are yesterday's engineers, doctors, lawyers, teachers, machinists, councilors, senators, bankers, and on and on. Many are still functioning and their knowledge and wisdom shouldn't be tossed aside as being out of the main stream. The main stream today is pretty deplorable. Think of them as having paid their dues, contributed to the world and are still here with a world of knowledge and willing to do what they can. They are a vast majority of volunteer workers.
We should think about them when we cut programs in medicine and budgets and realize their leadership, their paying into the system for more years than most have lived. We are always funding programs for the kids, welfare recipients, prevention and rehabilitation programs, but the first place to get those funds from seems to be cutting senior programs or not having programs, at the city, state and federal levels. Don't forget seniors were not paid cost of living increases for two years in a row to help with revenue problems at federal level, and at the same time paid increased Medicare and supplemental insurance rates. Seniors are not against sacrificing for the good of all, but ALL should be sacrificing.
There is a movement in D.C. now for "chained CPI" which will cut COLA payments to seniors, and the longer you have been receiving Social Security, the more you will be cut. Saving money on the backs of seniors to support new entitlements for those who do not contribute is not right or fair.
Changes have to be made in our entitlement programs but they should not be the only source of securing revenue. All programs must be overhauled, especially the tax code. Funny, when they mention entitlement programs, they say, Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid but they don't mention Obamacare which is fast becoming the biggest entitlement program and costing higher insurance rates and jobs, as well as hurting the quality of medical care.
As a result of natural exercise and playing outside each and every day, summer and winter, our bodies and minds were strong. Without gadgets you did what came naturally and that made you healthy, bodily and mentally.
Then, came World War II and our friends, brothers, sweethearts went off to war and rationing entered our lives as well. Those at home did their part but it was the young men who fought this Great War that paid the ultimate price and those who came home had a lot to deal with.
That period while it seemed to be best of all things was in fact the beginning of what has happened to society and our way of life.
All those years of going without and then the war, made us more determined to get our share and get ahead. Education was more available due to GI Act and women were now working and raising children and keeping the house as well. Now, we could give OUR kids things we never had, and let loose of the parental reins a bit more because we had so much on our plates. It wasn't as noticeable at first what we were doing, but by that time the kids were living in the 60s and in the rock and roll world. We all know what happened and their generation really turned things around. Rebellion was the word of the day, not respect or following the golden rules. They were not brought up with the parent in charge. They were in charge. There was no accountability for their actions. No punishment.
You have probably heard enough but what it comes down to is, we ALL have to start working together again for the sake of our children and grandchildren, and for our country. One person or two can't do all the lifting or influencing our decisions. Lately, I do notice more opinions being expressed through the Letters to the Editor columns and that is good. We need more of that, but be positive. Most importantly, turn out to vote in EVERY election, not just the presidential one. In November 2012, Laconia had 92 percent percent turn out and vote. Two years ago at the city elections, my ward got 3 percent of registered voters at that time. I want to see that 92 percent percent turn out you gave to the presidential election, which will show who and what you want in your local government. Local government affects you right here immediately. When city government does something wrong, it is too late to complain after it has been done. Your voice is heard at the election booth.
Get involved with your government. Volunteer for positions on the Planning Board, Park Commission, Library Trustees, Zoning Board, etc. and run for elective office. Attend Council Meetings. Write to the papers and express your opinions on every subject that comes along. You will gain from it personally, not spend too much time, and help bring about change to the things you want changed, and new ideas to help your city.
Councilor Brenda Baer
Ward 4 - Laconia