A Modest Proposal: Now That We Are Talking About Revising Health Care, How About Making Provisions for Our Aged and Infirm Politicians?
It is noteworthy that during the darkest hours of the Civil War (1861-1865), Abraham Lincoln frequently road out to spend time at the Old Soldiers’ Home, located in today’s Petworth and Park View Neighborhoods of Washington, D.C.
Mounted on a good-sized gray horse, the 16th President of the United States often traveled to this location for the purpose of finding a reprieve from the cares of the raging national conflict, as well as general relief from the burdens of the Presidency and Washington officialdom.
In fact, Lincoln resided on the grounds in Anderson Cottage from June until November, from 1862 until 1864. It was, in effect, the summer White House, and a place where the naturally convivial Lincoln was able to relax and share yarns with the retired veterans who resided within. Its therapeutic value for Lincoln was inestimable and, no doubt provided a much needed boost to a man prone to feelings of depression and sadness.
Presently, as the nation is once again embroiled in a discussion about health care, perhaps we might pause to consider the nature of how we as a nation are making provisions for our aging and mentally taxed politicians. Let’s face it, by the time a man or woman has served ten or fifteen terms in the House, and five or more terms in the Senate, their cognitive abilities must be about on the same par as a mature cantaloupe. The prodigious mental dexterity involved in lying, deceiving, obfuscating, double-talking, double-dealing, exaggerating, misleading and yes, moralizing, takes a profound toll on the best of them. It seems only proper that those who have had lengthy political careers should have, at the end of their days, recourse to the kind of quiet and serene setting that perhaps America’s greatest President found so much solace in.
Take Nancy Pelosi for example. A victim of incurable A.I.I. Disease, (Acute Insufferable Idiocy), she is a prime candidate for a long rest in an Old Soldier’s type of home. While medical research has yet to produce an effective cure for this dread condition, doctors are almost universal in their recommending bed rest and silence within the confines of a bucolic setting, as this poses the best chance for continuation of a normal, active life.
Also quickly coming to mind is Joe Biden, and as a former Vice President, he is at the top of the waiting list for admission to the Aging and Infirm Politician’s Residence Program. While afflicted by chronic Foot-in-Mouth Syndrome for years, his condition is treatable with lots of fresh air, sunshine and comradeship. Can you imagine what a scream old Uncle Joe would be sitting in a circle of fellow former politicians telling them about how Americans turned their television sets on back in 1933 to watch Franklin D. Roosevelt be inaugurated – a pretty amazing feat considering the technology didn’t yet exist, let alone that millions of Depression Era Americans were barely scrounging out an existence, no less contemplating the purchase of a futuristic television set. Research however in Biden’s case is far advanced and “comradeship” therapy is promising, as empathetic Americans always liked Joe’s bucket of soap suds routine and antics.
Chuck Schumer’s descent into bouts of blue and being “troubled” by everything, especially when he doesn’t agree with the opposition, makes him an ideal candidate for a summer night’s marsh mellow roast under the stars.
There are many more old politician candidates that come to mind for this revolutionary idea in care. Unfortunately, the names would take up too many pages, but suffice to say that it is an idea come of age. Americans must be reminded of the tremendous burden we place on our elected representatives. We must remember that once we elect them, they understand the absolute imperative of remaining in office as long as humanly possible, not for the benefit of those that elected them, but for their own aggrandizement. By the time they have finished careers of enhancing their own self-interest, and not the American people, we would do well to formally acknowledge their contribution and show them some love.
The thought of all our beloved elderly political leaders sitting in wicker wheelchairs in circular fashion is appealing to the soft spot in all of our hearts. We should even require an individual mandate to the policy calling for a substantial penalty for any politician who refuses to purchase this kind of coverage. It is hard to imagine how any person in public life would not only want to support this kind of proposal, but ultimately, be a beneficiary of it.
Lastly, we can put our heads down at night knowing how wonderful is our society that rewards the few in service to the many, or rather, rewards the few who not only forget the service aspect toward the many, but just forget the many. Given that we are dealing with faculties equivalent to mature cantaloupes, we cannot be too harsh.