Don't Vote?

Like so many Americans grudgingly facing the inevitability of my fifth decade, some years ago I opened the envelope from AARP, informing me that I was entitled to membership in their organization, with much less than enthusiasm. Over the ensuing years, receiving their monthly publications and experiencing their constant assaults on my mailbox with offers of supposedly low—cost health, life and automobile insurance, not to mention discount drugs, diagnostic devices and dubious dietetic supplements my enthusiasm for this goliath of geriatric marketing declined with every advancing year of my own seniority.

For many of those early years, the publications and solicitations from AARP had all the slick sophistication of a 1960's Readers Digest, a matter of some homey comfort to an aging Vietnam veteran who was definitely not on the cutting edge of the Information Age. However, in learning to use a computer, I became aware of two things about AARP: they were in it for the money and they were becoming increasingly liberal. Now, being in it for the money I can understand with no problem; we seniors are supposed to be the ones who hold the gold as the general wisdom goes: we got the real estate, we got the pensions and we got the savings. But, becoming liberal, with your subscribers being the one demographic in America that could almost be guaranteed to be conservatively inclined, the nation's staunchest supporters of traditional values and status quo? What was up?

Then it began: the stuffy old monthly periodicals in my mailbox suddenly took on a new glitz and glamour with the focus turning away from subject matter such as dealing with a problem prostate to retiring in Rio, complete with slick photos of all these seductive septuagenarians, physically fit, magnificently tanned and obviously savvy investors, enjoying the very good life in exotic places. No more were there stories of Herman and Helen in Hoboken; nope now it was all about Ziggy and Zelda in  Zihuatenejo. AARP had stepped into the information age, gone glamorous and the result in this corner was no less than expected. I grumbled to my wife, 'AARP's been hijacked by a bunch of smart—ass kids who don't have a clue about the realities of growing old.'

Worse, AARP wasn't just hijacked by air—headed twenty—something's wanting to show seniors a sure way to live out their lives with pizzazz rather than delivered pizza, it was hijacked politically by a seriously left—wing cadre that had clear, if undeclared, loyalty to all causes liberal. For example, they did their level best to scare the hell out of seniors about Bush's Social Security reform when anyone with an ounce of investing knowledge knew the President was onto something there. May I interject here that I think I may have been a bit more aware of many aging topics than most seniors as I spent many years as my rural county's representative on the senior advisory committee to a large multi—county, regional council of governments.

When it finally came to the point that I could no longer bear reading the AARP publications' constant onslaught of Democrat Party talking points, not so cleverly disguised as informative articles, I said 'Enough!' When my annual renewal form came in the mail, I didn't just ignore it; nope, I used it as a little man's soapbox and let them know that I no longer could support an organization that had become so supportive of political positions that I and many other seniors find totally repugnant. I think I may have told them they were seniorously out of tune with their readership. I know, I know, it's hokey, but at the time it sounded, well, profound. Whatever pimple—faced kid opened the envelope probably flipped me a mental bird and classified me as just another grumpy old fart.

Tonight, with elections approaching, like all the rest of you I'm watching the unending stream of despicably negative political ads interspersed with brief glimpses of what TV producers call content, when suddenly the AARP appears with an ad admonishing voters, 'Don't Vote,' with the suggestion that to vote uninformed is the gravest of civil transgressions. The ad directs you to the AARP website, which, in fact, does contain a large amount of information to better inform voters. Now, please understand that, as a conservative, who believes that informed voters tend to vote conservatively, and that uninformed voters, ignorant of the issues, usually vote Democrat, I'm all for educating the electorate. But, 'Don't Vote?'

I'm just wondering how many of the seniors who retain their membership in AARP because they aren't quite sharp enough to pick up on the fact that their supposed benefactor is a tool of the liberal wing of the Democrat party, are now sharp enough to pick up on the subtle message offered here. Me, I'm just cynical enough to think that AARP, in its ongoing collaboration with the Democrats is hoping that the retained message in the minds of all those potentially conservative, voting seniors is, quite clearly, 'Don't Vote,' period, nada más, Señors. Knowing full well that seniors, for the most part, are not computer savvy and likely will never access their website, has AARP, under the guise of being a good citizen and civic organization, embarked on an ad campaign that it hopes will keep conservative—voting seniors away from the polls on election day? Are they sneakily hoping that all those old gray heads out there will simply remember their single, bold admonition, 'Don't Vote?'

If that is indeed the case then this has to be one of the most despicable, election day, dirty tricks schemes ever dreamed up by any political party. But coming from a now all but avowedly, left—wing organization, another complicit arm of the Democrats like AARP, why should we be surprised? And we trust their advice on insurance, drugs and investments?

Russ Vaughn is Poet Laureate of American Thinker.

Like so many Americans grudgingly facing the inevitability of my fifth decade, some years ago I opened the envelope from AARP, informing me that I was entitled to membership in their organization, with much less than enthusiasm. Over the ensuing years, receiving their monthly publications and experiencing their constant assaults on my mailbox with offers of supposedly low—cost health, life and automobile insurance, not to mention discount drugs, diagnostic devices and dubious dietetic supplements my enthusiasm for this goliath of geriatric marketing declined with every advancing year of my own seniority.

For many of those early years, the publications and solicitations from AARP had all the slick sophistication of a 1960's Readers Digest, a matter of some homey comfort to an aging Vietnam veteran who was definitely not on the cutting edge of the Information Age. However, in learning to use a computer, I became aware of two things about AARP: they were in it for the money and they were becoming increasingly liberal. Now, being in it for the money I can understand with no problem; we seniors are supposed to be the ones who hold the gold as the general wisdom goes: we got the real estate, we got the pensions and we got the savings. But, becoming liberal, with your subscribers being the one demographic in America that could almost be guaranteed to be conservatively inclined, the nation's staunchest supporters of traditional values and status quo? What was up?

Then it began: the stuffy old monthly periodicals in my mailbox suddenly took on a new glitz and glamour with the focus turning away from subject matter such as dealing with a problem prostate to retiring in Rio, complete with slick photos of all these seductive septuagenarians, physically fit, magnificently tanned and obviously savvy investors, enjoying the very good life in exotic places. No more were there stories of Herman and Helen in Hoboken; nope now it was all about Ziggy and Zelda in  Zihuatenejo. AARP had stepped into the information age, gone glamorous and the result in this corner was no less than expected. I grumbled to my wife, 'AARP's been hijacked by a bunch of smart—ass kids who don't have a clue about the realities of growing old.'

Worse, AARP wasn't just hijacked by air—headed twenty—something's wanting to show seniors a sure way to live out their lives with pizzazz rather than delivered pizza, it was hijacked politically by a seriously left—wing cadre that had clear, if undeclared, loyalty to all causes liberal. For example, they did their level best to scare the hell out of seniors about Bush's Social Security reform when anyone with an ounce of investing knowledge knew the President was onto something there. May I interject here that I think I may have been a bit more aware of many aging topics than most seniors as I spent many years as my rural county's representative on the senior advisory committee to a large multi—county, regional council of governments.

When it finally came to the point that I could no longer bear reading the AARP publications' constant onslaught of Democrat Party talking points, not so cleverly disguised as informative articles, I said 'Enough!' When my annual renewal form came in the mail, I didn't just ignore it; nope, I used it as a little man's soapbox and let them know that I no longer could support an organization that had become so supportive of political positions that I and many other seniors find totally repugnant. I think I may have told them they were seniorously out of tune with their readership. I know, I know, it's hokey, but at the time it sounded, well, profound. Whatever pimple—faced kid opened the envelope probably flipped me a mental bird and classified me as just another grumpy old fart.

Tonight, with elections approaching, like all the rest of you I'm watching the unending stream of despicably negative political ads interspersed with brief glimpses of what TV producers call content, when suddenly the AARP appears with an ad admonishing voters, 'Don't Vote,' with the suggestion that to vote uninformed is the gravest of civil transgressions. The ad directs you to the AARP website, which, in fact, does contain a large amount of information to better inform voters. Now, please understand that, as a conservative, who believes that informed voters tend to vote conservatively, and that uninformed voters, ignorant of the issues, usually vote Democrat, I'm all for educating the electorate. But, 'Don't Vote?'

I'm just wondering how many of the seniors who retain their membership in AARP because they aren't quite sharp enough to pick up on the fact that their supposed benefactor is a tool of the liberal wing of the Democrat party, are now sharp enough to pick up on the subtle message offered here. Me, I'm just cynical enough to think that AARP, in its ongoing collaboration with the Democrats is hoping that the retained message in the minds of all those potentially conservative, voting seniors is, quite clearly, 'Don't Vote,' period, nada más, Señors. Knowing full well that seniors, for the most part, are not computer savvy and likely will never access their website, has AARP, under the guise of being a good citizen and civic organization, embarked on an ad campaign that it hopes will keep conservative—voting seniors away from the polls on election day? Are they sneakily hoping that all those old gray heads out there will simply remember their single, bold admonition, 'Don't Vote?'

If that is indeed the case then this has to be one of the most despicable, election day, dirty tricks schemes ever dreamed up by any political party. But coming from a now all but avowedly, left—wing organization, another complicit arm of the Democrats like AARP, why should we be surprised? And we trust their advice on insurance, drugs and investments?

Russ Vaughn is Poet Laureate of American Thinker.