Driving County Roads

An on line journal sharing my views. The content reflects my background as a rural person employed in agriculture and as a retired elected official of local government.

Friday, July 10, 2009

ARE WE LETTING DOWN THE GREATEST GENERATION?

We visited the Minnesota Historical Society’s newest exhibit called the “Greatest Generation”. It was truly impressive. Perhaps it was meaningful to us because we are the offspring of that generation and it brought back many childhood memories. The exhibit educated us on the traits and values of these people. In some ways it seems those traits and values are lost to us today. Examples: “we took pride in our work. Yes, the pay was important, but our work was meaningful.” “We were glad to have a job and we did our best to hang onto it.” The attitude of that generation was born out of the experience of the depression. “Civic engagement was a big part of our lives.” The people were active in PTA, other civic groups, and fraternal organizations.
Many of these members of the greatest generation have passed on; but you will find many of them in our care facilities and assisted living centers. These are the people we owe much to, but we as citizens have failed to demand that our leaders adequately fund the programs that see to their well being. In November 2008, the voters said yes to increasing taxes for clean water, trails, and arts. But the people who helped build our economy to the point which enables us to have discretionary money and time are neglected.

Phil, a nursing home administrator from the central part of our state says it best. “In my 36 years of long term care, we have always struggled to provide more for less. When is Minnesota going to take care of those least able to take care of themselves? Today’s frail and ill elderly are of the Greatest Generation who put us where we are today. Now the DNR and the arts rank above the Greatest Generation and above those who provide their care. It is a sad commentary. This week we received a letter explaining that the state’s cut to the county would result in a cut to their suppliers, the nursing homes who provide day care and other services. I wonder if we could use the same letter and contact our suppliers such as Xcel Energy, Sysco Foods, Elim Services to see if our costs will be reduced.”

The possibility of our economy improving quickly is not good. Jay Keidrowski, senior fellow at the Humphrey Institute states that “the world economy has to “reset” at a lower level because it will not have easy and cheap loans for businesses and individuals.” This is an indication that Minnesotans must demand our elected leaders to “do what it takes” to protect our elderly and our young people. end

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