Out of the Darkness

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Many issues need to see the light of day, despite the media's persistence in not covering them

"Until you stop hiding things, you're hiding things, and hiding things is not healthy," Council Speaker and mayoral candidate Christine Quinn told the New York Times last week. "I just want people to know you can get through stuff."

Quinn was speaking about her past struggles with alcoholism and bulimia, but her statement on getting things out in the open could be applied to many areas of life. We all need to stop hiding things. Only then can they possibly be overcome. Unlike Quinn, I believe A.A. should not be so anonymous, and stories of intervention, which First Lady Betty Ford so blessedly brought out of the closet, should also really "get out there."

Instead of the photos and stories of those who commit terrible crimes, we should see more photos and stories of their innocent victims and those who mourn them, and tell about life-changing injuries inflicted, for example, by the ruthless killers at the Boston marathon. Those victims' stories are needed - so we can help, but also as a deterrent to criminal deeds.

Old people in general, must stop being hidden and invisible, especially when ill or disabled, especially by customs- and views-shaping mediums. Now 84-year-old Barbara Walters is retiring from The View, which for better or worse, gets top ratings.

While the 80-plus population is the fastest growing age-group, it's still the least represented in those influential mediums. So these often age-related problems aren't adequately addressed or researched ? and worse, don't get the caring and empathic attention they need.

There were so many to salute in the recent City and Suburban Homes 100th birthday event, planned by indomitable civic leader, Betty Cooper Wallerstein and held at Shaaray Tefila Temple. But why had I not heard that one of the honored guests, former state senator Roy Goodman, was now confined to a wheel chair and unable to speak? In the mid 1980s, he was a tireless supporter in saving the City and Suburban Homes complex from becoming four gigantic up-scale high-rise apartment houses. Hundreds of affordable homes were saved along with a number of small businesses. Of course, it's a city-wide problem, including now saving City and Suburban Homes York Avenue Estates.

Again, this column needs to address how few knew that this senator of 30 plus years had become disabled. And how he loved to sing in the complex's annual Christmas Carol event, Singing is so good for our health. and to lose the ability is no minor loss. Infinitely more must "get out there" about all these commonplace major and minor losses. Senator Goodman reportedly has Parkinson's disease. Disabled persons must become very very visible and included whenever possible.

Wallerstein also knows that many of us need to sit down at these occasions. The population is aging, and incidentally, outdoors, my cane should really be replaced with a walker. But my walk home at 8:30 p.m. that night should not have been threatened at every crossing and on the sidewalk by food delivery bikes breaking every law on the books. May 19th is the 29th birthday of my New York Times op-ed piece. "New York Bikers - Too Free-Wheeling, And a Public Menace!"

As I've said countless times before, I'd vote for anyone who would address this public problem once and for all.


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