When old ladies get arrested

It was senior year of high school and I was in current events class. My teacher, Ms. Ivanovich, was giving examples of civil disobedience when she mentioned the elderly being dragged out of congress a few years earlier. My head perked up. I remembered that. Raising my hand, I announced: “That was my Aunt”. And, it was.

“What are you afraid of?” yelled Theresa McKenna of the Virginia branch of the National Council of Senior Citizens. “Why won’t you let us speak?”

She and 14 others protesting changes to medicare without hearing were hauled from congress.  They didn’t go quietly.  Some of them had to be wheeled out.   They were not charged, as the chairperson did not want the (bad) press.  I mean, what do people think when you start arresting old ladies?  “I believe the senior citizens involved were being used, and nobody’s interests will be served by forcing these persons to spend a day in jail,” Chairman Thomas Bliley, R-Va., said in a statement released by his office.

The truth is, no one was “using” my Aunt Teresa.  She was a spitfire to the very end.  Passionate, not afraid of politics, and willing to put her beliefs out there.  In her family, my mother’s family, she was one of the few liberals.  Both my sister and I spent time at her house.  My mother, I believe, always looked up to her.  She will be missed.

Her funeral is tomorrow.  In lieu of flowers, Aunt Theresa requested donations to Amnesty International and Doctors Without Borders.  True to her beliefs and her politics til the end.

Rest in peace.


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