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Silent No More

| October 19, 2011

In this article, George Cappannelli, co-founder of AgeNation and author of I Dream of A New America explores some of the challenges we face in America today and invites those of us the world calls Boomers, Elders and older GenXers to get up on our hind legs and bay at the moon of new possibilities. Civic engagement, active participation in determining our political future, using the power of our wisdom and experience to keep the democratic process strong and vibrant, these are some of the things he explores. This is also an essential part of the AgeNation mission and one of the reasons so many Boomers, Elders and older GenXers are choosing to become members of the AgeNation Community.

silent majority are not happy and protestBy George Cappannelli

Clearly the Arab countries are not the only place in the world where people who have been silent too long are waking up. Here in America citizens who share common concerns about the well-being of our democracy and about the abuses that are currently being perpetrated by the few against the many are beginning to find their voice. And frankly it is none too soon!

Spring and Summer saw significant outcries In Ohio and Wisconsin when their governors tried to turn the clock back on voter rights, union bargaining rights and more. Quieter but specific public reactions also occured in NY and California when the governors of those states proposed Medicaid cut impacting the elderly, the poor and disadvantaged children. Now the 99% movement is gaining momentun in cities and towns all across the country.

Amazing, isn’t it? Do you ever look out at the political mess that is unfolding in American and wonder how we got to this place when right and left appear to be permanently divided and far too many on both sides appear to have forgotten about right and wrong, about common decency and compassion, about fairness and justice for all? Do you also ever ask yourself why more of us have not been getting the message that there are some very serious folks out there who are intent on taking apart the last vestiges of the commons and reversing many of the most important advances in health care, social security, public broadcasting and other essential services (called the commons) that some among us have spent the last few hundred years putting in place?

Of course, these serious folks claim they are doing all this in the name of fiscal accountability. And, of course, who can object to the fiscal accountability? But a closer look discloses some serious contradictions in their motives. Of course, we are all in favor of fiscal accountability, but why is it that most of the major budget cuts being recommended by a very consevative miniority focus on programs this group has been trying to eliminate for decades: social security, Medicare and Medicaid, health care, planned parenthood, public broadcasting and more? And why, if they are really committed to fiscal accountability are we not seeing at least equally major cuts being proposed in defense spending, corporate subsidies, high income tax breaks or even, for that matter, in the operating budget for the House itself? Why have none among these serious folks called for a drastic reduction in the salaries and benefits of members of Congress, at least as drastic as those they want Federal and State workers to accept?

You see, there is something fishy about all of this! Having granted and now defended billions in unnecessary tax cuts to the rich, bloated tax incentives and subsidies for corporations who ship jobs and profits overseas and who do not pay their fair share of taxes, and having authorized billions for the conduct of unjustified wars, these same serious folks are now saying we don’t have the money to support the needs of our own citizens. And by the way, they are also saying we should eliminate collective bargaining and turn the social security fund into a bonus pool for those on Wall Street who have already proven they can’t be trusted.

As if this wasn’t already enough to ruin even a modest church social, these same individuals are also beginning to actually say there are simply too many old people in America and, if we don’t cut back on services to them now, they will bankrupt the system. Strange, isn’t it? Researchers have been warning us for decades that eventually more than 50% of our people will be over 50 years of age, just as they have been warning us about climate change, the dangers of our dependence on foreign oil and the wholesale pollution of our air and water, but these serious folks have obviously been too occupied having dinner with lobbyists and too busy watching their stock portfolios to notice?

So what are they really saying? Are they proposing that we euthanize these ‘too many older Americans’ so the wealthiest 5% can keep tax breaks they don’t need, corporations can continue to pay little or no taxes and Wall Street can run away with the rest of the store?

Give me a break! Or maybe that’s what all this is about? Maybe these serious people are trying to break our collective will so they can grab a larger share of the pie. Well, I say it’s time, in fact long past time, for those of us who have been sitting on the sidelines to get up on our hind legs and send a really clear message to those who would destroy this democracy. Let’s tell them that this is still America and that our America is about freedom and justice for all, not just for the privileged few! What do you say? Are you ready to get involved?

There are rallies going on around the country that could use our support. There are emails and calls that can be made to our elected representatives, especially to those who appear to believe they have a mandate to do whatever they want. There are op-ed pieces and letters to the editor of local newspapers that can be written. There are emails we can send and phone calls we can make to friends inviting them to pay attention and get involved.

Please remember, this is not about defending positions being advanced by the right or the left, this is about doing what is right. This is about continuing to keep the dream of America and democracy alive and well.

George Cappannelli - Founder of AgeNationGeorge Cappannelli is co-Founder of AgeNation and President and CEO of The Information and Training Company. He is an world-class consultant, author and expert on change. Over the last 25 years he has worked with hundreds of leading organizations, the people who run them and hundreds of thousands of individuals in the public sector. He books include: Say Yes To Change, Authenticity, It’s About Time, I Dream of A New America and the soon to be released, Do Not Go Quietly, A Guide To Conscious Living and Wise Aging in the 21st Century. For more information on consulting and coaching services visit www.agenation.com/consulting or www.georgecappannelli.com.

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Category: Civic Engagement

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