Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s statement that grandparents were ready and willing to sacrifice their lives for the economy created an interesting image in my mind. I envisioned a Hollywood extravaganza of thousands of toga-wearing grandparents forming lines and chanting, “We who are about to die, salute you!”

Well, I am a grandparent of 10 and I am not quite ready to sacrifice my health and life just yet.

Perhaps the good lieutenant governor is unaware that millions of grandparents are already making sacrifices for their grandchildren and adult children. The 2000 U.S. Census reported that over 2.4 million grandparents have assumed the care and nurturing of their grandchildren. A 2018 AARP update has moved that number up to an estimated 3 million grandparents.

These are grandparents who have stepped forward because there is a crisis in their family that is class and color blind. Some grandparents are in the middle-class; one-fifth have incomes that fall below the poverty line. But for all there is little financial or emotional support.

In Maine alone around 14,628 children under the age of 18 live with a grandparent. Those grandparents have discovered that child-care costs are much higher than when they were parents the first-time around. And there are greater demands on energy levels.

If grandparents sacrifice themselves so that others can get back to work, who will be the caregivers for their grandchildren? Are we really so valueless to this country? An additional drain on the economy? Are we now in a place where we, a generation who have worked hard, sacrificed, and raised children and continue to nurture a new generation, are considered disposable trash?

That might not be what Patrick meant to suggest, but it sure seems that way to me. What arrogant ignorance!

Linda Kristan


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