Discover more from Stephen's People
Let's have gray riots
(No. 133) Older people could be a powerful force for change
I love doing Stephen’s People. But I appreciate new subscribers even more. To support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber
Every day, 10,000 Americans turn 60. (That suggests I’m not as special as I thought.) What the hell are all these people gonna do with themselves?
How about save the world?
Third Act is a rebel movement for oldsters founded by aging rabble rouser Bill McKibben. He’s the guy who in 1989 wrote a New Yorker article titled “The End of Nature,” one of the earliest discussions of the potentially devastating impact of climate change. In response, people wrung their hands and said “Technology will take care of it.” (I, too, believe in the tech solution back then; I no longer have that faith.)
Here’s the Third Act statement of purpose:
“We are building a community of Americans over the age of sixty determined to change the world for the better. Together, we use our life experience, skills, and resources to build a better tomorrow.”
The local “working groups” that are springing up under the Third Act banner educate people about climate change, protest against banks and other places they think are messing with our planet’s future, and volunteer to help younger people do their thing around preventing climate change. Judging from the photos of the working groups, I suspect they also offer older people a chance to connect and socialize in ways they might otherwise miss.
I have a lot of respect for Third Act. But I’d also like to see more grey haired (or pink and blue haired) oldsters rioting in the streets to protest proposed cuts to Medicare, ageism in the workplace, exploitation by big (and little) pharma, housing discrimination and more. It would be great if a movement would arise to make it illegal for Apple Store employees to give old people the side-eye when they ask why iPhones don’t just have a dial, like the TV used to have. Plus, you know, get justice and social equality for old people.
We will call it the SLA, in honor of Tania, who turned 69 this year. She was a pivotal meme figure for late stage boomers. In our case, SLA stands for the Silver Liberation Front. We just need to finalize our demands. Leave your thoughts in the comments section, please.
Guns don’t kill people. Seniors do.
In the past month several older men shot younger people who came onto their property. This made me wonder how many seniors are strapped. Turns out that about 35 percent of people over 60 own guns, and about 50 percent live in households with guns. Yet oldsters are about 16 times less likely to be victims of any crime, let alone murder. Why the guns? Why are there so many frightened old people in America? In the recent shootings, it seemed that the men were almost waiting for strangers to cross onto their property so they’d get a chance to shoot someone. Given all this, I’m not surprised that gun makers have designed pistols for older people with arthritis.