Where Have All The Elders Gone?

September 7, 2020

Where Have All The Elders Gone?

May 29, 2023

I’m in Texas’ capital city, Austin. A place where the state’s lieutenant governor, Dan Patrick, said on the eve of his 70th birthday six months ago, “As a senior citizen, are you willing to take a chance on your survival in exchange for keeping the America that America loves for its children and grandchildren? And if that is the exchange, I'm all in.”

He was basically saying older people should lay down their lives so we don’t have to shut down the economy due to public health protocols.

And, then, last week, former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said governments should be posing uncomfortable questions about the level of deaths we might have to live with. He said we should be approaching the pandemic as a health economist, not a trauma doctor.

It is true that about 70% of the nearly 200,000 who’ve died in the U.S. are 70 or older. As a guy who will be turning 60 next month, it feels a little creepy to be entering an age class that is considered to be most vulnerable. Am I going to be sent to a senior citizen concentration camp? Will I be put out to pasture so the young can have a future? Tough questions to consider.

Pete Seeger penned the song, “Where have all the flowers gone?” that became a folk anthem for the anti-war movement of the 60’s. With apologies to Pete, here’s my 2020 version because Texas’ lieutenant governor suggested seniors should be our pandemic patriots, our modern day soldiers in the war against the virus.


Where have all the elders gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the elders gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the elders gone?
Politicians think that they’re all done.
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

Where have all the statesmen gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the statesmen gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the statesmen gone?
Pointing fingers at every one
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

Where have all the scientists gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the scientists gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the scientists gone?
Dr. Fauci, you’re no pawn
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

Where have all the grandpas gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the grandmas gone?
Long time ago
Where has all the wisdom gone?
Gone to graveyards every one
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

Where have all the graveyards gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the graveyards gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the graveyards gone?
Covered with flowers every one
When will we ever learn?
When will we ever learn?

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