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Debt ceiling 'political games' draw ire of seniors

You don't have to look far in Rock Hill or anywhere else to find a senior citizen who depends on a Social Security check or some other federal dollars to keep the lights on every month.

Listen to them, and hear a bunch of people who are way past upset over whatever this debt ceiling impasse is.

These people who worked all their lives are understandably angry at politicians of both parties from all places.

At the Rock Hill senior center, lunch of country fried steak, mashed potatoes, succotash and a roll costs $1.50.

That money comes from a fixed income and is as prized as gold.

If the politicians don't cut out their baloney and make this deal on the debt ceiling - whatever it is - these people will not forget.

Personal debt ceiling

"Debt ceiling" means nothing to many of these people.

The ability to pay the light bill and buy groceries is what matters.

Their debt ceiling is the amount they receive, and it will never go up.

If their personal debt ceiling falls, straight on their heads, there is nobody there to raise the roof.

If money is cut anywhere, people who depend on it the most might see a hiatus, or a cut, or a stoppage in benefits or checks.

Try telling the power company, "Sir, I can't pay you this month because the Republicans and the Democrats are acting like a bunch of spoiled brats."

"I resent the political games these people are playing," said John Neely, age 70. "They could hurt people with this.

"People depend on that money. People like me."

Across the table, Shadrick Jackson, 69, told the truth that no politician will say.

"They have billions for wars," Jackson said. "And they say they need to borrow more?

"It is like they don't care about the real people in this country anymore."

Both men said the politicians are acting like children.

And what happens to children when they act out?

A roomful of grandparents all said the same thing: "You discipline them," said Jackson.

Yet, since these politicians can't discipline themselves, Pete West, age 81, who sat among friends all his age, put it this way: "They need to cut it out or clean house. All of them - go."

'Playing with people'

West's wife, Vivian, spoke for millions when she piped in that all this debt ceiling stuff leaves America's seniors, its disabled, its poor, waiting for rich politicians to decide something they should have decided weeks or months or years ago.

"They are playing politics with people, not money, and that bothers me," Vivian West said.

At another table sat a woman named Thelma Childers, age 89, who started picking cotton and milking cows from the time she could help in the fields and worked forever afterward in jobs that required the labor of her back.

"They are trying to scare us," said Childers, who is so tough and wonderful that no politician could ever scare her.

"I wonder what would happen if we marched on Washington. Bunch of old people marching. We would see who would be scared - them."

Yet still, these politicians duel with each other hoping to come out on top politically while ladies such as Janice Hamright, age 73, stretches her money to live.

Hamright worked in hospitals and nursing homes for more than 40 years. She did the dirty work, real work, nights and weekends and holidays while politicians hold dueling news conferences to blame the other side.

"I am praying that this works out," Hamright said.

But ladies such as Hamright deserve more than prayer.

They deserve action.

Not looking out for us

At the center, about 85 people ate lunch Thursday. All were asked to raise a hand if they thought the politicians deciding this debt ceiling were looking out for them.

These proud people who worked so long and so hard for their country, and fought in its wars or in the factories and textile mills during wars, looked at each other.

Their faces were lined and drawn and creased. A lifetime of proud, productive, meaningful work does that to real people.

Not a single hand went up.