In case you’re not a golf fan, 59 year old golf legend, Tom Watson, captivated even the mildest of sprts fans over the weekend with a great performance in the British Open, golf’s oldest major. The likeable Watson missed an 8 foot putt that would have given him the title (and made him the oldest golfer to win a major) and went on to finish 2nd after a 4 hole playoff. What was almost as remarkable as Watson’s performance was the irony of a recent decision by the Royal and Ancient club (the British Open governing body) to lower the age restriction for tournament players from 65 to 60. It seems, in the interests of competitiveness, the R&A calculated that a 60 year old would be too old to make an impact on the tournament so the slot should be reserved for someone better able to compete.
The tournament ended and with Monday morning, the news cycle began again with Sotomayor, Obama administration apologies, and health care “reform.” The Obama health care bill includes a provision to cut costs by counseling seniors on how to die more efficiently. How can government healthcare justify spending taxpayer dollars to treat older patients who may die soon anyway?
Perhaps now that the R&A has seen Tom Watson’s story, they’ll reconsider their position that a golfer over 60 isn’t worth a spot in the British Open. In that case, perhaps this story might bring the grand pooba’s deciding how Americans will avail themselves of medical treatment to reconsider their cold cost-cutting calculations. My grandfather is 96 years old and in great health for his age. He requires a doctor’s attention from time to time but he has lived and continues to live a rich life.
He called me a few weeks back looking for the phone number for the pizza place because he was planning on putting on a movie and throwing a pizza party for some octogenarian wipper-snappers in his assisted living community. I’m glad that our two daughters are able to know their great-grandfather. Our 1 year old recognizes him but isn’t old enough to understand her relationship to grandpa or how much he has sacrificed during his life for his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. Last weekend, just after Watson’s amazing tournament ended, we were visiting with grandpa. Little Annie came into the room, her head immediately turned to the sofa were her great grandfather likes to sit, she toddled a beeline to him, climbed onto the sofa, and gave him as big a hug as a 1 year old could muster. I don’t think this will weigh into Obama’s calculation when he is pursuing health care efficiencies. Nor will grandpa’s service to this country in our epic struggle against naziism, fascism, and totalitarianism. Empathy is helpful when it allows you to ignore the rule of law, but not as an insight into the fundamental value and dignity of every human being.
You see, all golf fans would have missed a real thrill if the R&A had decided that Watson was already too old to have an impact on the Open. We all will lose much much more if theObama administration and his Congressional lackeys decide that the elderly are an inconvenient and inefficient waste of healthcare expenditures.