Shackling the Young to Free the Old
Garrison Keillor wrote a moving article called America Eats Its Young and his words are especially sharp today on Labor Day in the United States where we celebrate the working person before the real work of the Fall takes us over:
I keep running into retirees in their mid-50s, free to
collect seashells and write bad poetry and shoot video of the Grand
Canyon, and goody for them, but they’re not the future. My college kids
are graduating with a 20-pound ball of debt chained to their ankles.
That’s not right and you know it.
This country is squashing its young. We’re sending them to die
in a war we don’t believe in anymore. We’re cheating them so we can
offer tax relief to the rich. And we’re stealing from them so that old
gaffers like me, who want to live forever, can go in for an MRI if we
have a headache.
A society that pays for MRIs for headaches and can’t pay teachers a
decent wage has made a dreadful choice. But healthcare costs are
ballooning, eating away at the economy.
boomers are getting to an age where their knees need replacing and
their hearts need a quadruple bypass — which they feel entitled to —
but our children aren’t entitled to a damn thing. Any goombah with a
Ph.D. in education can strip away French and German, music, art, dumb
down the social sciences, offer Britney Spears instead of Shakespeare,
and there is nothing the kid can do except hang out in the library,
which is being cut back too.
This week we mark the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and the Current
Occupant’s line “You’re doing a heckuva job,” which already is in
common usage, a joke, a euphemism for utter ineptitude. It’s sure to
wind up in Bartlett’s Quotations, a summation of his occupancy. Annual
interest on the national debt now exceeds all government welfare
be in Iraq for years to come. Hard choices need to be made, and given
the situation we’re in, I think we must bite the bullet and say no more
healthcare for card-carrying Republicans. It just doesn’t make sense to
invest in longevity for people who don’t believe in the future. Let
them try faith-based medicine, let them pray for their arteries to be
reamed and their hips to be restored, and leave science to the rest of
Why do we eat our young — those we expect to pay for and take care of
the world in their ripe time — by punishing them in the dawn of their
promise with the sins of our dark wants and charging them with the
burden of our entitled predilections for immortality?