- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 7, 2006

We seniors (yes, we’re both in that club) have in our later years any number of things to be concerned about that go to the welfare and happiness of our children and grandkids, prevention of identity theft, power outages due to natural phenomena like hurricanes or floods, whether there will ever be a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, sales scams via telemarketing or online fraud, home security and the like.

What we don’t need in our advanced years are phony worries or political hocus pocus, like what is happening all over the media these days as the 2006 midterm elections have come, thankfully, to a conclusion.

The oldest tactic is for one political party to scare seniors into the voting booth by falsely claiming the other party will “take away your Social Security” — despicable but employed every election. It’s time to stop using senior citizens as political footballs.

The reason these terrible tactics are used is simple: Senior citizens are more reliable voters than any other demographic, at or about the 25 percent mark of all voters for recent national elections. Furthermore, studies suggest senior citizens over age 65 are even more reliably likely to vote in nonpresidential year elections such as this one in November; younger voters are not as motivated unless the presidency also is in play.

So what are we to believe here — that the reward for citizenship, ideals and loyalty so many senior citizens possess is the very reason they’re hammered with so many lies and so much deceit come election time? We have to say from our personal viewpoints, seniors we know are getting plenty sick and tired of this false drumbeat.

For example, Jim Martin just returned from a 12-state tour where he presented our Guardian of Seniors’ Rights award as well as our Benjamin Franklin award (to abolish the “death” tax) to incumbents, challengers and candidates for elected office who are “senior friendly” in their legislative outlook. For the 60 Plus Association, that means nonpartisan, free-market, limited-government and lower taxes. That means officeholders who will pledge to protect Social Security and to strengthen the system for future generations, as well as vote for permanent repeal of the onerous, confiscatory estate or “death” tax.

Jim happened upon senior after senior who bristled over the negative tone of campaign advertisements. And they were especially peeved over how they could be dismissed as easy targets for slanderous come-ons. “We ain’t stupid,” declared one disgruntled gentleman in Montana. And he continued, “I’m just sick to death of it.”

The 60 Plus Association is today, as it has been for 15 years, an advocate for senior citizens and a nonpartisan organization that strives for honest, fair and open debate of the issues. From time to time, we believe it’s important to step into the fray whenever senior citizens are used as political pawns, This opinion piece is just such an occasion.

As clearly as it can be stressed, no politician — Democrat or Republican — will take away anyone’s Social Security. But that malicious and phony charge has been dressed up and trotted out wherever and whenever votes are counted, and simply calling a spade a spade, it has been the Democrats’ modus operandi more often than not.

We’re reminded that New York’s late liberal Democratic Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, asked why Democrats always make these false Social Security claims in every election cycle, replied “because, unfortunately, it garners votes.”

Sleazy politics and false messages by politicians and their boosters may be shameless but we “seasoned citizens” will no longer allow ourselves to be scared into the voting booth. Stop the hypocrisy.

Pat Boone is national spokesman and Jim Martin is president of the 60 Plus Association, a conservative senior citizens advocacy group. Readers may write to Pat or Jim at 60 Plus,1600 Wilson Blvd., Suite 960, Arlington, Va. 22209.

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