Alabama Gazette - The people's voice of reason

Silver Haired Legislator Remembers

 


One of your writer's most enjoyable and invigorating experiences happened during the years spent as a member of the Alabama Silver-Haired Legislature.

We operated much the same as the Sate's House of Representatives, in that each of us prepared and submitted resolutions that urged legislation the regular legislature should enact. They addressed matters that were of particular concern to the State's senior citizens.

Each representative researched and wrote legislative proposals that addressed needs or shortcomings that directly impacted upon our aging population. The growth and severity of this problem increases exponentially. In 1965, for example, the percentage of Alabamians 65 years of age and older was 13 percent. By the year 2010, this number had increased to 13.8 percent, and the projection for the year 2025, would reach 19.6 percent. Along with an increase in age, we find that the degree of particular needs that Alabama's aging population faces are also increasing; as are the instances and severity of elder abuse.

And, we see from research into the significance of this matter, that the number of jackals abusing and taking advantage of those we were brought up to respect and protect are on the rise.

Among the resolutions with which your writer had a direct interest were resolutions calling for vigorous elder abuse legislation, since it was incumbent upon that body to look after the well being of those they served.

As each year passed in the process of seeking action to protect our seniors from a host of abuses, the number of abuses and methods of abusing the senior population increased exponentially.

In Ephesians 6:12, those believing in a Supreme power are told to be strong and to take a stand against the devil's schemes. This caution has increased in importance with time—a surge of such a shameful degree that we can no longer ignore it.

Unfortunately, the data suggests to us that the devil's schemers, and the variety of their schemes are increasing to a staggering degree. Therefore, the need for a strong law designed to protect seniors from these Machiavellian plotters and intriguers who plague our senior population with growing intensity. They pester us with telephone calls that offer all means of delightful sounding schemes; and usually the caller has a foreign accent. They send us mail that promises us all manner of benefits to be derived from our sharing with them our credit card numbers. They approach us on the street with “get rich quick” schemes, and with other scenarios that promise us immediate wealth, but would end up leaving us impoverished.

And, worst of all, supposed friends, helpers, and even close kin, come up with “too good to be true” schemes purported to be to our advantage, but which end up separating us from our savings.

As the Bible commands, seniors must be strong and stand their ground “against the powers of this dark world. . .”

To assist seniors in this protective effort, the Central Alabama Aging Consortium has prepared, and will share with seniors, information that specifically focuses on this problem, and which offers a wealth of useful information designed to protect and help our senior population. Such is the charge of the Consortium, who will be willing to talk with seniors about this serious failure in our society. Help is at hand; all one has to do is ask for it. Give the Consortium a call at 240-4666. You'll be glad you did.

Will We Ever Learn?

One would think that with more than five centuries of trying, mankind would by now have learned how to create an educational product of some degree of uniformity; one that was capable of producing a product of some semblance of excellence. But one would be wrong.

The Babylonians thought they were on to something back in 3100 BC when they launched the first educational endeavor. Learned men in a community were called upon to share their knowledge and wisdom with the youth of the village. Bureaucrats had not yet entered the picture, so the process was somewhat simpler; and more effective.

They dealt primarily with rote learning, although there were some notable exceptions; Aristotle and Plato as examples. The early classroom employed memorization and a liberal application of the rod as its means of educating the youngsters, as revealed in a clay tablet uncovered in Egypt, on which a student had written: “Thou didst beat me and knowledge entered my head.” In today's society, the rigorous use of the rod is frowned upon, resulting often in a rather shoddy end result.

By the first century AD the Jews had perfected the educational product somewhat. Housed usually in Synagogues local young lads learned the laws of society and religion, and learned to read and to write. And in other societies they learned from local wise men who shared with them the knowledge and wisdom they had acquired through their studies and travel.

In all, these early societies took great stock in the educational process, but by the 21st Century, especially in the United States, it all started to unravel.

Initially, education was not a universal endeavor; rather it was the domain of the ruling elite. They had the means to either hire or require that scholars be hired, or required, to tutor emperors and their families, and the education endeavor grew from there.

At about the same time, heads of households became aware that once their crops had been harvested and until planting time began in the springtime, their sons had time on their hands; and idle hands often did the devils work. So, heads of households quickly decided that something had to be put into place that would keep their sons busy during this idle time between harvest and planting; and teaching their sons to read and cipher was a suitable endeavor.

And thus, public education was born.

But, in the centuries that followed, community leaders lost sight of their goals and bureaucrats entered the picture; and something quite different began to take over education.

And now, the process is in the hands of bureaucrats and unions, and educators place a greater interest on vacations and holidays, salaries, sick days, attractive bulletin boards, and a host of other elements and tasks that distract from the process of teaching and learning; and today we're close to being back where we started in centuries past.

It seems downright incongruous that those professing to be educators would permit their calling to fall into such a state of disrepair.

CURIOSITY

Curiosity about who had been born or expired on March 11, your humble scribe's birthday, piqued an brought about a search of those whose lives involved that date, which four births and seven deaths of folks of some degree of significance, revealed only a few, which will now be shared with our readers.

In the births ledger there appeared Band Leader Lawrence Welk, who was born in 1903; Rupert Murdoch, Australian-American who was born in 1931; fellow journalist Sam Donaldson, born in 1934, and Antonin Scalia, Supreme Court Justice.

Among those who expired on this date were: Oscar Meyer, in 1955; Admiral Richard Byrd, explorer of note; a favorite writer, Erle Stanley Gardner; John J. McCloy, who died in 1989, and actor Vince Edwards, who died in 1996. Also expiring on this date were Betty Hutton, who died in 2007; and fellow Utahan, Merlin Olsen, of both professional football, and movie and TV fame, who was born in the same city from whence your writer's parents emerged, Logan. Merlin played for the Los Angeles Rams, and was inducted into both the Pro Football, and the College Football Halls of Fame.

And for those readers who may wonder why this information is provided; there's not a clue.

 

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