The Dilemma of Choices

Because this blog focuses on the lives of American elder women in the last quarter of our lives I will not try to be overtly intersectional in specifically mentioning people of color, of poverty, with physical challenges, and who seek gender equality, because, in truth, “elder women in the last quarter of our lives” is intended to include all marginalized women in that age bracket. So, when I speak here, I speak from my own – somewhat privileged – experience. After all, I am white with a limited retirement income that I should be able to live within (with, granted, limited but livable choices).

Access to unlimited funds pretty much gives you unlimited choices because it eliminates one of the prime restrictions to making a choice: the money to pay for it and whatever consequences result. For 98% of us, that’s a crucial restriction, and we try to live within our means. That means we live with limited choices.

The Equal Rights Amendment did not get approved because it was not ratified by ¾ of the states. That Amendment to the Constitution would have benefited all kinds of people, but because of the options it would open for women, it remains controversial, with religious conservatives opposing it because of their pro-life stance. They continue to work toward limiting many women’s choices by demanding that we restrict ourselves to their choices.

While women, in total, make up more than half of American citizens, it is mostly men who are in power to make the laws that limit our choices. Take, for example the (thankfully unsuccessful) effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act. A wonderful recent piece by (of all things) the United Church of Christ blog covers this issue beautifully, ending with

All this new-found talk of “choices” is a mockery, a betrayal of Christian values, a scheme designed to lull the most vulnerable into supporting a health care law resulting in worse coverage for them, at greater personal expense, to the benefit of the wealthy who will continue to enjoy Cadillac care for less.

Again, this is an example of our predominantly male (and conservative) lawmakers giving us “choices” that do not really give us much choice.

Somewhere between oligarachic patriarchy and total anarchy there has to be a system that will minimize the limits of our lawful choices. “Lawful” is the key word, here. From wearing a hijab (or not) to getting an abortion (or not), these are choices we women should be able to lawfully make for ourselves. And the folks making our laws do not understand the meaning, the importance, and the social structure necessary in making choices that minimize negative personal consequences.

I am a democratic socialist, which means that I would like to see America evolve into a system of a modified form of socialism, achieved by a gradual transition by and under democratic political processes. There are responsibilities to its citizens that every democratic government has. The piece on this page written by Alok Pandey, a young man from India, says it better than anything else I came across.

He ends with this. And so will I.

If it isn’t for people, what good is it for anyway? Now when I say for people, it doesn’t necessarily means doling out freebies to poor and giving a carte blanche to the rich. Any method is good if it is consensual and is in the better interest of the people. A democratic government must seek the approval of the common masses and later should be ready to receive the feedback for its acts.

4 thoughts on “The Dilemma of Choices

  1. Activities that elevate the majority of the population, elevate us all. Access to education for all, health care for all can only provide a more durable and informed democracy. Educated people do not elect un-informed clowns whose primary goal is to further their own well being at the expense of the less fortunate. There is a message to be learned from the loss of the Democratic party, they were also out of touch with the realities of those who suffer in this country. These visits to the unfortunate, living in the areas of poverty and loss, and water pollution were used as photo ops and underestimated the desperation that these people live in. The lesson here is, we are no better than those who need help, we are just more fortunate. One of our choices is to remember that.

  2. Way to go Elaine. Just keep in mind that there are a lot of us “American Elder Men” out there that are in the same fix as older women.
    There is no doubt that we (seniors) have been neglected for a long time and, if Washington continues on the path it has been following lately, it’s not going to get better.
    I wake up everyday and think about how much better the world would be today if only Bernie would have been elected.

  3. It’s true, Elaine, the current administration (or WH, as some call it), does not have older women’s best interests at heart. We don’t even make the starting line. So I’m glad you are renewing your blog to include this new focus. I followed you on Kalilily, but couldn’t find you recently. Glad you are back!

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