The 10-million Geezer March

Ok, let’s cut the crap. While politicians posture over drug plans for seniors, millions of us need help immediately. We are already at the point of having to choose between food and medicine.

Right now, we can’t afford both.

And any plan proposed by Congress won’t begin until at least 2006.

How many thousands, perhaps millions, of us must have our lives cut short because we can’t afford the medicines we need? While Congress attempts to placate drug barons and HMOs, we’re dying out here.

Such desperation must have been in the hearts of those 600 Nigerian women who recently ended their 10-day peaceful occupation of an oil company facility in exchange for jobs for their sons and help in building clinics, schools, and farms.

For years, they’d tried everything to get the oil companies to share a bit of their wealth to help the surrounding community. Nothing worked. Then, in the best tradition nonviolent protest, the women, some in their 90s, marched unto the site and, when all else failed, threatened to strip naked.

They got everything they wanted.


Here at home, of the 40 million on Medicare, 13 million have no drug insurance. Of those, 10 million need help right now.

I propose a 10-Million Geezer March on Washington as soon as possible.

Imagine, millions of gray-hairs from across the country peacefully shuffling on Washington, protesting Congress’ inaction.

Aid from trade unions and city councils, doctors and other professionals who know first hand how urgent the need, neighbors and friends – everyone who cares about social justice in our country – would finance the thousands of buses, meals, Depends, and tents needed. (I’d like to include the folks at AARP, but I believe they’re too greedy to part with membership money just for the sake of a million desperate members.)

I can see it now. Two huge marching bands – The Frolicking Fossils and Sun City Brass – followed by 1,000 flatbed trucks, each with 100 grandmothers in rocking chairs, all rocking and shouting, “We rock against Congressional deadlock.”

Signs in the bunting read: “Congress, Help Your Grandma At Least As Much As You Help ConAgra.” “Why Are We The Only Developed Country Without Healthcare For All?” “Drug Company Greed Is Killing Us.”

Geezers by the thousands protest with great zeal in front of the Capitol, shouting, “Shame! Shame! Shame!” One old woman shakes her cane and yells, “If you were mine, I’d send you all to bed without supper!”

Suddenly Trivia: What is the ratio of Social Security payments for Congressmen to that of the average citizen? a. 1:1 b. 5:1 c. 11:1

Two septuagenarians on stilts, dressed as Uncle Sams, carry banners, one reading, “I Used To Be A Republican, But Gave It Up In The Interest Of Good Health.” The other says the same about Democrats.

A huge red, white and blue banner hangs from Washington Monument saying, “Congress: We Want The Same Health Care You Get. No HMO. No exclusions for preexisting conditions. No co-pays. No deductibles. No eligibility hassles.”

A 99-year-old lady wears a T-shirt that reads: “Stop Killing Us.” Another’s says, “Be Merciful, Senator. We’re Your Grandmothers.”


Marching WW II vets carry signs asking, “Did We Save Democracy Only To Die For Lack Of Medicine?” Others declare, “We Didn’t Fight Just So Congressional Hypocrites Could Jabber.” Further back, other vets trundling along with walkers, bellow, “USA. USA. We Need Medicine Today!”

Rolling down Pennsylvania Avenue toward the Mall, ten thousand wheelchair-bound coots have covered themselves with the largest American flag ever made.

On the Mall itself, a mock funeral procession honors the thousands who have died without medicine or because of HMO denials of care. Solemnly, each name is called off, one every five seconds, day and night.

And on the speakers’ platform by the Reflecting Pool – where Martin Luther King Jr. once stood – seniors like 91-year-old Granny D., who recently walked across the nation in the name of election finance reform, condemn Congress for its stalls, lies, and corporate ass kissing.

Everywhere, of course, TV cameras show US voters and the rest of the world what healthcare in this richest nation on earth has come to.

Finally, if all else fails to move Congress, we threaten to take off our clothes.

Suddenly Trivia answer: c. 11:1. According to the Libertarian Party, the average citizen receives Social Security payments of $9,180 annually while retired congressional representatives get $98,694.



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