50 might seem young to call one a "senior", but remember the purpose of the company is to push products, and 50 is a number they can use to widen the customer base. Under certain circumstances, an IRS rule lets you retire early, at age 50, so the number isn't wholly made up.
Back to Walt and Cindy. Their letter to AARP is an answer to a (another!) promotional letter, reminding them they didn't renew their membership. That turns out to have been deliberate. Part of the letter follows. Please read the entire letter at Snopes.com - which also posts trusted authentication, showing that the letter was indeed written by Walt and Cindy, and was sent to AARP.
Dear Mr. Rand,
Recently you sent us a letter encouraging us to renew our lapsed membership in AARP by the requested date. . . Our gap in coverage is merely a microscopic symptom of the real problem, a deepening lack of faith.
While we have proudly maintained our membership for several years . . ., we can no longer endorse it's abdication of our values. Your letter specifically stated that we can count on AARP to speak up for our rights, yet the voice we hear is not ours. Your offer of being kept up to date on important issues through DIVIDED WE FAIL presents neither an impartial view nor the one we have come to embrace. . .
Once upon a time, we looked forward to being part of the senior demographic. We also looked to AARP to provide certain benefits and give our voice a power we could not possibly hope to achieve on our own. AARP gave us a sense of belonging which we no longer enjoy. The Socialist politics practiced by the Obama administration and empowered by AARP [emphasis added] serves only to raise the blood pressure my medical insurance strives to contain. Clearly a conflict of interest there!
We do not understand the AARP posture, feel greatly betrayed . . . and leave your ranks with a great sense of regret. We mitigate that disappointment with the relief of knowing that we are not contributing to the problem anymore [emphasis added] by renewing our membership. . .
This Presidential Administration scares the living daylights out of us. Not just for ourselves, but for our proud and bloodstained heritage,but even more importantly for our children and grandchildren. . . . Perhaps I became American by a great stroke of luck . . ., but in my adulthood I CHOOSE to embrace it and nurture the freedoms it represents as well as the responsibilities it requires.
. . .
We travel for a living... Walt hauls horses all over this great country, averaging over 10,000 miles a month when he is out there. He meets more people than a politician on caffeine overdose. Of all the many good folks he enjoyed on this last 10,000 miles, this trip yielded only ONE supporter of the current administration.. One of us is out of touch with mainstream America. Since our poll is conducted without funding, I have more faith in it than one which is power driven.
. . . I am disappointed as hell.
I am scared as hell.
I am MAD as hell, and I'm NOT gonna take it
Walt & Cyndy
Interestingly, Barry Rand responds to the loss of members that disagree with AARP's positions. The August blog post date is either about the time of Walt and Cindy's letter, or a month prior (August 2009).
Since July 1st, when we started seeing a rise in phone calls and emails here at AARP as a result of the health care debate, we have lost approximately 50,000-60,000 members. While we are encouraged that almost 1.8 million people have either joined AARP or renewed their memberships over that same time span, we take the loss of any member seriously. We don't want to see you, our members, leave for any reason, and understand that even when we all have the facts reasonable people may agree to disagree on the proposals being put forth by Congress.
Earlier in his post, Mr. Rand mentions the 40 million members of AARP. 50,000 would be something like 0.13% (.0013 of 40,000,000) of the members. Not a lot, really. Just a wiggle in the membership rolls, really. But how many organizations dare watch 50,000 to 60,000 people seemingly individually act in concert - and against the organization?
AARP did *nothing* to dispel the hate-mongering used during the Bush years, to besmirch and disrespect our then-President. I recall my mother, and the bitter hatred she expressed over trivia, and without cause. Someone made a *bunch* of money energizing seniors and other population segments to that level of passion.
To my mind most of the excesses and wrongs of the Bush years, including refusal to audit and correct Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, were the doings of the Democrat-led Congress who tied our President's hands. To be sure, President Bush was not without his faults. I do not believe that much of the enmity waged against President Bush was politically, and especially money, driven, and not criticism over legality of his actions - such as should be leveled against his predecessor and increasingly against his successor.
My sympathy to Walt and Cindy. And my thanks for getting their statement of opposition to supporters of Socialist B. Hussein Obama published.