In 1964, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for combating racial inequality through non-violence. What would Dr. King think of the world today when even once safe havens like schools, are invaded by killers, often a student out for revenge? Would he not be shocked by the entertainment industry’s obsession with fictional killings, maimings, betrayals, sexual lust, and again, revenge? And would he think there must to be a connection?
And King might wonder why no protests are raised by the old men and old women who grew up with G-rated entertainment and with only a limited amount of it. Indeed, a generally G-rated culture shaped the majority views, regardless of racial, ethnic or economic background.
But elders need a leader to encourage speaking out, and one who believes that today’s unchallenged inequality and bias can also be age-related, and today’s degregation is also by age group. Even in families.
As for families, King would rejoice to see a grandmother in the White House, but be angry that so few people know it, or that the young need all the responsible adults possible in their lives. It’s so obvious a need, and to prevent abuse and neglect, as in the recent horrific fatal abuse of four year-old Myls Dobson by his jailed father’s girlfriend. But only failed child protection agencies are blamed, not the breakdown of the family, especially the extended kind whose presence can prevent all manner of problems, including domestic violence and the peer bullying epidemic.
And the need for intergenerational connections is vital for elders and also the middle generation. Elders are often too much alone, and regarded as burdens when their systems break down. But again, the family system must not break down. It needs all-out support, not just the hired or social services kind, but from the community – neighbors, and faith, civic and other philanthropic group members.
Now, this is a lot about elder needs and rights because even when, for example, over 60’s are victims of traffic tragedies, there’s little media coverage or legislative outcry. But what a terrible dereliction of government duty that it takes the death of a child, like recently, 9 year-old Cooper Stock, to prompt a long-overdue crackdown on what I call crimes of traffic. But there’s still no official all-out indictment of just this one particularly deadly-to-pedestrians traffic crime, which killed young Cooper.
And although Rep Carolyn Maloney honored me in the 2006 Congressional Record “for perhaps being the leading Big Apple champion for enhancing pedestrian safety,” my voice demanding, above all, for drivers to yield when turning into a crosswalk, is not being heard.
Why? Age could be a factor, but even more that, according to another tribute, I was the first one to call, and repeatedly call, for zero tolerance for scofflaw bicycling. But now that many City Hall mama’s and papa’s seem so gung-ho for two-wheeling, they don’t want strict enforcement, or any other “restrictions.”
Ah, dear Dr. King, your beliefs, struggles and ultimate sacrifice to bring about seemingly impossible dreams for civil rights and racial justice – they give hope and strength to not give up on dreams that are countercultural and politically incorrect.
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