As most who make a habit of reading monoblogue know, I post something pretty much every day. I call this website my hobby/obsession and I feel I owe it to readers to place up a fresh post on a daily basis. Yeah, sometimes I cheat and write a couple in advance but one thing that drives me crazy about visiting websites is seeing the same post for days or even weeks.
Like all writers do, at times I get writer’s block and sometimes I just get tired of writing about the same old things in the same old way. So on occasion I come across news stories that aren’t necessarily time-sensitive but are ones I can use to make a point about political philosophy. Tonight is one of those times, and even though the story’s about 10 days old, I thought it was amusing and was one I could write something clever and provocative about.
It’s a story out of Putnam County, New York. According to this AP article by Jim Fitzgerald, a number of senior citizens in that fair county were miffed about a donut stoppage. While officials claimed that the halt was due to an overwhelming supply of donuts and other bread products being donated to the point of spoilage, some seniors complained about not being consulted in the decision. I suppose this is a good problem to have in that people there are the generous sort.
Be that as it may, to me this story illustrated a larger point about the nanny state. Here we have a group of people who have worked all of their lives and gotten to a ripe old age, most likely downing hundreds of donuts and pastries in their lifetime. All of a sudden, some outside person decides they know what’s best for these seasoned citizens and cuts off the sweet supply. I happen to be on the obese side myself and I know that it didn’t happen overnight, it comes from 30 years or more of poor eating habits. Honestly, I don’t think eating a donut a day is going to do these senior citizens a whole lot of harm at this point considering overeating has a cumulative effect that would have likely killed them sooner had they persisted in eating too much on a regular basis.
Another point illustrated by this article is that these seniors have put themselves in a position to be dependent on the good graces of others. Although I’m sure a number of them go to senior centers primarily for companionship, many seniors go to get the free food because they may not have enough to make ends meet being on a fixed, mainly government-provided income (e.g. Social Security.) The gentleman quoted in the story from the Center for Science in the Public Interest does have a point in that the seniors can go out and buy their own donuts. (You may want to mark this date down, I’m in agreement with the CSPI on something. But you know next thing is they’ll try to pull the donuts out of the stores, too.)
If you ask me, this story is all about respect. There are people in that part of New York who want to do good by the elderly in their community and make their life a little nicer by donating sweet treats to the seniors’ places of gathering. And senior citizens mostly have learned about doing things in moderation, perhaps due to their upbringing during the era of the Great Depression. It’s the nanny staters who are showing the lack of respect to both parties by sticking their nose into a situation where they truly don’t belong. And I’m glad at least a few members of the Silent Generation decided not to be silent about their treatment.