Get it Together, the Elderly

I appreciate and want to associate with people who have empathy. This is why I have a low tolerance for intolerant, stupid or defiantly-ignorant people, particularly elderly people.

This lady gets it.
This lady gets it.

You stormed the beaches of Normandy, liberated two concentration camps, but can’t wrap your mind around a transgendered person? That means genocide makes more sense to you than someone who isn’t hurting anyone. You were around to lock up all Japanese Americans in internment camps, “Greatest Generation”, but can’t understand that persecuting an entire group for the actions of a few might be wrong-minded? Get it together, elderly. “You’re 80 and haven’t learned anything from multiple wars and civil rights movements? Yikes. Can we put you in one of those homes, away from the rest of us so you can wait to die without poisoning the well of people who would like to mentally evolve beyond the 1950’s?”

Imagine all of the amazing/horrifying/disturbing/life-changing things a person sees in 60+ years. Yet, to remain an old, crusty, bigot, that person had to spend that time not learning, crystalizing their beliefs in amber like the mosquito from Jurassic Park. If a person doesn’t learn over a lifetime that they don’t know anything and have the beautiful opportunity to continue learning, we have ourselves a bad old person.

The older I get, the less I know. By that I mean the less I am sure of. I view people with strong opinions on the big stuff with distrust. I don’t think we should have certain certainties on faith and politics; I think we should be open-minded.

Pam Ferris

Elderly people somehow get a pass for hate-speak and bigotry. “Oh, my racist/bigoted grandpa? Well, screw it, his thoughts and beliefs are too calcified.” So, you’ll teach Meemaw and Peepaw how to use email, but expecting them to adjust their language ever so slightly is too difficult?

They get it.
They get it.

There are communal organizations filled with the elderly supporting various civil rights causes, people of all ages involved in PFLAG, the media shames those who publicly use hate-speech, but elderly people get a pass, why, because they’re about to die and we shouldn’t bother? “Well, Gam-gam is 78, she only says the ‘n-word’ because that’s that’s the era she grew up in.” The last time the n-word was acceptable by anyone outside of the Wu-Tang Clan was well over five decades ago, you have a defective Gam-gam.

I think he gets it.
I think he gets it.

Elderly people, of all of us, should know that they have an infinite universe of nuanced thought has yet to come into their sphere of understanding. The more years you have on this earth, you should have developed enough knowledge and empathy to be able to adjust your thinking. If they’re not curious about the world or things that may be a bit confusing without turning to hate, that’s baffling to me. I am no longer going to give retirees the “benefit of experience” because, simply surviving for a long time shouldn’t give you a magical pass for being dumb. Expect more out of your old person. And if you are an old person, I implore you, use your experience to be an affective old person.

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15 Comments

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  1. I’m really glad you referred to the elderly as being 80, cause I’m not there yet! 😉 However, I have many around me who have very narrow minds. Many women my age have never worked outside the home and tend to miss opportunities to stretch and be young. They sit in groups of friends and talk about their latest doctor appointment, etc. But in their defense, we have to remember that experience dictates much of how a person in their 80s reacts to many things. Not right, but understandable to me. Good post! Love the pics.

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  2. They can be mean and ignorant for all I care, but I sure wish we’d invest in our infrastructure enough where we could give them their own roads.

    Or maybe we can build a big parking lot just for them and tell them it’s their own road.

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  3. Well, on the plus side, they will be dead soon, so we won’t have to put up with it for much longer?

    I love the common misconception that with age comes wisdom, which is why everyone in congress is approximately one million years old. Which is just f***ing fantastic when it comes to a bunch of 70-80 year old men arguing over a bill that would censor the “Google machine,” because they don’t even understand the concept of the Internet and haven’t even used a computer, yet are going to be in charge of regulating it.

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  4. When I worked in the nursing home, I said many times that I didn’t understand why America’s greatest generation was so mean. How come their kids insisted that Mom didn’t know the F word or any other curse? And it must have been my fault when Mom threw her bed alarm at me or slapped me because I wouldn’t let her go in someone else’s room at 3 a.m. And then there’s Dad, always grabbing my ass. Now that I didn’t mind.

    Love,
    Janie

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  5. I’ve always had mixed feelings about the Greatest Generation too. There’s no denying the sacrifices they had to make in the Depression and WW2 and their admirable heroics against Hitler and fascism but at the same time, remember when all the hippies and counter-culture were revolting against the values of The Establishment in the 1960s? Who were they rebelling against? The Greatest Generation.

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  6. Yes yes yes I so hear ya and I so get what you are saying the elderly get away with so bloody much simply because they are elderly and it is so bloody wrong

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  7. I completely agree! I can’t stand when someone excuses racist comments from an elderly person because ‘that’s how they grew up.’ So what! There’s no excuse for behavior like that.

    But what I do love about old people is that they take no crap. I was at a concert yesterday where these 4 old ladies took the president of the chamber music to task because he had moved them from the ballroom to the library and they did not appreciate that one single bit!! Poor guy didn’t know what hit him, ha ha.

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  8. Dude, telling old people to be more progressives is like old people telling us to get off the dang phone. It’s not going to happen just because we point out to them how stupid it is.

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  9. I have some experiences with “old rage pensioners” that were the height of contradiction. I’ve seen them having a go at some skateboarding kids who were minding their own business. Almost like they needed to be bitter and confrontational.

    Indeed, there is no excuse for bigotry our outdated attitudes from folks of any generation.

    Excellent post, my good friend.

    Gary aka klahanie

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  10. My mother is one of those bigots. I don’t see eye to eye with her. Never have. I was a flower child back in the 60’s and hated the way she talked about my friends in general. Elderly do not deserve special treatment when it comes to their bigotry. There is no excuse.

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  11. I never thought of it this way. You’re a smart Pickle, and you’re right – of course. There’s nothing stupider than a closed mind. Age only brings wisdom when a person chooses to smarten up and open their mind. And heart. Standing on a skateboard with cane in hand can help too, I imagine. I bet she’s a fun grandma. I wanna party with her.

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