Chronological age shouldn’t determine who is called ‘elderly’
I’ve often wondered why newspapers always print the age of a person they are reporting on. Not everyone wants the world to know exactly how old he or she is. It’s something I had to get used to while serving as an often-quoted elected official.
The other day, as I was watching the local TV news channel, the reporter announced, “Two elderly people died in a house fire early this morning.” Later on in the newscast, the reporter revealed the ages of that couple as 60.
Sixty? Elderly? Well, maybe to a young reporter, but certainly not to me. At 60, I was walking down the aisle with my new husband, and I was starting to build a new career.
Well, it got me thinking about how important chronological age is in America. We live in a society ruled by regulations, many of them based on one’s chronological age.
For example, our judicial system. Say three young boys get into trouble and are arrested. In New York, if two of them are age 15, they will probably be treated as juveniles. If the third one already had his 16th birthday, he could automatically be treated as an adult by the courts.
Let’s look at the bigger picture, numbers that affect us all. Legally, at age 16, if you can pass the tests, you are eligible to get a driver’s license, whether you are mature or not.
At the other end, you become a senior citizen at age 55, 60, 62 or 65, depending on who is writing the program. That, too, is not based on your maturity.
Now I realize that in an orderly society we need to establish specific guidelines for things previously mentioned, as well as indicating when you can start to receive your Social Security checks. But while discussing the age issue with my mother-in-law, who at age 92 still goes in to work five days a week, we agreed that the word “elderly” should not be applied to a specific chronological age.
We may be getting older, but please don’t call us elderly!
The writer is former chairwoman of the Schenectady County Legislature.
Nothing ‘frightening’ about Van Corlaer
In the fall of 2002 you printed my letter stating the precariousness of opening a school that’s designed to make a profit. It’s now five years and millions of dollars later, and the charter school is foundering. Yes, there remains a loyal following touting the charter school, but there are thousands of satisfied “customers” who have coursed the travails of the Schenectady City School District and have attended prestigious colleges.
The charter board president, Tracy Petersen, stated how “frightened” she was of sending her children back to Van Corlaer, but she doesn’t say why. I have worked at Van Corlaer for 20 years, and can say that there are a myriad of programs, special services, charitable parent and student organizations, extracurricular clubs (too numerous to mention), support services, superior grounds and maintenance crews, nutritional breakfast and lunch programs, reliable paraprofessionals who support the safety and academics of the children, social workers, psychologists, nurses, art, music, physical education, instrumentalists, and, lest we forget, teachers with advanced degrees licensed by the state, led by principals who are unflagging in their dedication to the welfare and education of our children.
Our hallways are quiet and orderly and the classrooms are abuzz with little learners. What’s to fear?
The writer is a fourth grade teacher at Van Corlaer.
China sets poor example of Olympics ethics
When the International Olympic Committee awarded Beijing the 2008 Olympics in 2001, it did so based on the regime’s pledge to adhere to the Olympic Charter and improve its human rights record. Instead, its human rights abuses have worsened.
China’s preparation for the games has actually brought about new violations, such as the eviction of residents for Olympic construction, appalling working conditions at the Games venue, and tighter controls on government critics. This is in addition to attempting to erase the cultures of Tibetans and Muslim Uighurs, imprisonment of millions of Falun Gong practitioners, democracy advocates, Christians, labor organizers and other innocent citizens in slave labor camps without trial and illegally harvesting organs for sale without consent from these prisoners of conscience. The Chinese government continues to deny or restrict its citizens’ fundamental rights.
The Chinese communist regime is guilty of murdering millions of its citizens through the years. Should such a government be allowed to host the Olympics? The Global Human Rights Torch Relay, www.humanrightstorchusa.org, is an international year-long event traveling to major cities around the world and is made up of nonprofit organizations, civic and professional groups, churches and individuals who are committed to universal human rights. Participants in the relay are dedicated to bringing awareness about these wrongdoings, helping to end human rights abuses in China, and preserving the Olympic spirit. They believe that the Olympic Games and crimes against humanity cannot coexist in China.
Others tolerate homeless, why not Schenectady?
Enough is enough. I’m sick and tired of how a few individuals can’t seem to understand that homelessness is not a lifestyle choice. The homeless are Vietnam vets, parents of young children and sick people who just need a little help. They have every right to walk the streets of downtown.
For those who think that moving Bethesda House up the hill will stop the homeless from walking Jay Street, rest assured they will be downtown, and it’s their right. Newbury Street, Rodeo Drive, Fifth Avenue, Piccadilly Circus, London, Georgetown’s M Street and even La Rue St. Catherine in Montreal, homes to the biggest names in the retail business (i.e. Armani, Hugo Boss, Cartier), have no problem with the homeless. Somehow Schenectady does. I have had the great pleasure to meet some of these people, who, by the way, will give you the shirt off their back. Some of them are decent and some are not. In general, they are harmless. To call these people beggars is shameful. I will accept a homeless person any day asking me for a quarter or a dollar, to which I can say yes or no.
The beggars I have a problem with are those who have asked Metroplex to bankroll their businesses. The majority of them don’t even need it in the first place. As one downtown business person told me, and I quote: “So long as they keep throwing money at me, I’ll take it. It’s no skin off my back.” But when a person asks for a quarter, it’s a crime. Let’s see a quarter per day time sevens times 52 equals — anyone? Anyone?
Americans need to wake up and wise up
How can you be so slow in this fast country? How many more students need to be killed before we wake up and control guns before they get into the hands of mental patients? Mental health issues have to be addressed.
Young ladies, wise up, you don’t have to drink to death on dates. Limit yourself to one or two drinks so that you won’t lose judgment — your life or someone else’s life — if you drive.
You might say you know all this, but show it by your actions that you do. Fathers, be role models — muscles alone are not that important; even cut down on meat so you won’t be too aggressive. Youngsters, don’t overspend on Visa cards only to be miserable later when paying off the debt.
A causal lifestyle is no better than the simple, honest life when you can’t afford it. Mothers, give love and care to babies in the formative years. Not too many toys or big houses, so they can become good citizens. No bullying at school, go to school to learn.
Take wherever or whatever is good in any culture or any country and close your eyes to evil and not emulate. Maintain individuality and principles and not be sheep, blindly following others. Be careful with your thoughts, words or deeds.
People are beautiful, intelligent and hard-working — most of them — but wisdom and discipline is needed in all matters.
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