Monday, April 20, 2009

Lost in the Vegetable Isle (the aging politics of Oakland)

Mom: Mommy, when you get older you and daddy are going to wear diapers.
Mom: Emma who told you that?
Emma: Marcos
Mommy: Really, Emma did Marcos tell you that you would have to change mommy’s diapers?

My daughter along with the rest of the county lives in willful denial of the huge care giving crisis moving toward them like a Tsunami toward a Cruz Ship. The boys at the East Bay Express and “Chip” Johnson (the San Francisco Chronicle’s affirmative action hire) have made great sport of Ms. Dellums constant presence and influence at Oakland’s City Hall. As a healthcare provider I feel the need to defend and clarify the increasing important role that caregivers have come to play in medicating, escorting, and bathing and moisturizing aging statesmen and politicians.

Jerry Brown, another aging politician also required a personal attendant at most; if not all times to insure that Mayor Moon Beam got to meetings, remembered memos and didn’t get lost between appointments. Jacques, Brown’s Boy Friday, was given a number of well paid positions at Oakland’s City Hall to justify and fund his constant presence as Brown’s personal attendant. Now, Jerry took a more alternative lifestyle approach to meeting his care needs: he surrounded himself with an entourage to assist him with everything from shopping to governing. The local men of the media have shown more tolerance toward Brown’s caregivers than they have to Ms. Dellums; perhaps because Brown tended to have male escorts and courtiers.

Like most men their age, our local journalists lack personal experience and professional understanding of care giving. Care giving remains a predominantly female chore, responsibility and profession and so it is sad but not shocking that “Chip” and the white boys at the Express remain ignorant of one of the fastest growing job markets in the country and unaware of the already dominant role that caregivers play in local and national politics. For the record caregivers keep our government going, aging politicians govern better if they take their medications, and have helpers who know their limitations and assist them to compensate. While Ms. Dellums meddling in Oakland’s affairs clearly vexes and frustrates our local media, medical professionals like myself find Attorney General Brown’s inability to find his way to meetings or even select his own vegetables without an attendant far more worrisome.


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