Intolerance towards senior citizens is alive in the ‘Loops

Armchair Mayor
By Mel Rothenburger
November 29, 2017 - 5:35am Updated: November 29, 2017 - 4:11pm

KAMLOOPS — I seem to have hit a sore spot with my thoughts on the friendliness, or unfriendliness, of cashiers.

The reaction has been quite interesting — a lot of people seem to think the fault is with the customers. They reason that it’s a tough job being a cashier, and if one is having a bad day, he or she shouldn’t have to engage in pleasantries with customers.

This is an interesting approach to customer service, one that’s debatable, but a few of the comments have included a much more unsettling edge.

Some have expressed the view that I should be ignored because I’m of a senior age, and therefore presumably can have no relevant thoughts or opinions worth listening to, and should go pound sand.

I can take it. I’ve long ago come to accept that not everyone will agree with what I have to say, and that those bereft of any cogent counter-point will answer instead with insults.

What’s disturbing, though, is that some people — a minority, I’m convinced, but they’re around — harbor a nasty mean streak against seniors.

When they call someone old, they intend it as an insult, based strictly on how long you’ve lived.

All my life, I’ve championed the strength of diversity, and advocated not just for tolerance but for inclusion and celebration those different from ourselves.

When I criticize, I do my best to do so based on actions and evidence. I’m not perfect, but those are my values.

The ‘isms’ of intolerance, I’ve always believed, have no place in Canada. That includes ageism, which is as unacceptable as any other form of discrimination or prejudice. Those who belittle someone in their 60s, or 70s, or 80s or up, are disrespecting our senior citizens, and very possibly their own parents and grandparents.

Anyone who judges others based on their advancing age, rather than on their character, is no better than the average racist or bigot.

I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.