Am I the only person in America who recalls the nightly news coverage when Senior Citizens rocked the Speaker of the House’s car? Escalating their jeers and boos and showing off their rock hard power?
The year was 1989, over 25 years ago, but I was impressionable and clearly recall the anger my father expressed when Medicare was first enacted, begrudging his father’s immediate receipt of benefits after paying in a mere quarter, while my dad had a lifetime of encumbered wages ahead of him prior to payout.
The memory has been evoked by recent rancor and riots, uncomfortably close to our back yard, and we are weeks away from a national election, foreshadowed by an uncanny climate of unkind. Our country is in an un-united state.
In 1989, as now, health care dilemmas loomed large. Rosty’d left a meeting where the crowd asserted their views about Catastrophic Health Care coverage and the portended tax increases. He didn’t incite, but he didn’t calm; he left the people’s cares behind. His official photo body language says it all.
The law expanded Medicare by providing coverage for extended illness costs. The law was assailed by elderly constituents because the expanded coverage was financed by a surtax, paid by about 40 percent of Medicare beneficiaries: $22.50 for every $150 of income tax liability up to a maximum of $800/year.
What – pay their own way?
Dear Boomer peers, have you looked at your Medicare deduction lately? Or, if this a future event for you, what it’s projected to be? Do you know someone who benefitted from catastrophic coverage or someone who declared bankruptcy when not, before Affordable Care became law?
But I digress. Dan Rostenkowski walked out, walled himself in his aide-driven care, and rocketed away.
But the Seniors were as fleet with their feet as they were with their words, later their fists.
They followed him when he exited. The throng rocked the car as vigorously as Watts rioters or the uncorraled thugs that followed Rodney King’s much-covered beating, nationally televised just a few years later. Perhaps the Seniors even threw a rock or two, casting stones as well as dispersions on Rosty’s mother.
While this Youtube doesn’t show what I recall, it will give you the gist. This happened in August, 1989. Not some Trump rally of today.
There’s some symmetry between Rodney King and Rostenkowski – beyond the angry citizens whose rancor cause them to shout, “Liar!” and other unprintable words, in part because of their perception that he considered himself above them: as Speaker of the House of Representatives, he was a king.
(we all know that Elvis was King; Michael Jackson laid claim, James Cameron, too. Jesus, for pure sure.)
Think about it, Constant Reader. Use Google or Siri, if you please. I’ll wait.
- four o’clock rock
Both went to jail. No one is above the law. Yet another example that pride isn’t power, not then, not now. https://www.pjcolando.com/pride-isnt-power/
I wasn’t worried about my country then, but I am now. Pride isn’t power, bombast isn’t grace, maligning allies-and-others swaggers as bully, not the consensus builder needed for our race. The world is smaller, with more countries nuclear armed.
In the era described in this post, we worried about workers ‘going postal’. In our era, it’s ‘going nuclear’, blasted to smithereens, into small bits in outer space. Pray to the King.