2009
11.21

FiSDOP: Financially Secure Disconnected Older Person

An FiSDOP is an older resident, generally 55 or above, who has reached a point where their financial needs are taken care of regardless of their current employment. Their status in life has caused them to develop a disconnect from reality that warps perspective on things that lie beyond their own neighborhoods and families.

While many of LaFayette’s FiSDOP’s are retired, quite a few still work – many in jobs where they only have to show up a few hours each day and then have plenty of time left over for hobbies like golf, fishing, gardening, traveling, historical preservation, or politics. Many FiSDOP’s have a significant amount of influence and quite a few have leadership roles within government, schools, community organizations, and churches. Most FiSDOP’s are politically active and can be expected to vote in every election.

FiSDOP’s maintain a solidly upper-middle-class lifestyle with a modest to slightly larger home that shows they have resources without being too ritzy. FiSDOP’s are represented by every race, but in this area most are white. The typical FiSDOP attends church but only for social reasons – due to the disconnect from reality they feel their relationship with God is secure. FiSDOP’s will normally have several adult children who have graduated college (UGA, Tech, ‘Bama, West GA, or UT) and never returned to LaFayette.

Because they have a secure economic position and no children living in the area, a typical FiSDOP isn’t interested in LaFayette’s future or the spiritual/financial condition of anyone living outside their own neighborhood. This is where the “disconnected” part really comes in – FiSDOP’s have disconnected themselves from reality, from knowing or caring about how things really are for people who aren’t FiSDOP’s. Several LaFayette FiSDOP’s have been quoted as saying they aren’t concerned about the community’s future because “mine are taken care of.”

FiSDOP’s focus on their own convenience and comfort, fighting anything that might interrupt their lifestyle in any way. FiSDOP’s dislike noise, businesses that keep their lights on past 9 PM, teenagers, non-middle-class people, and anything that might cause them to change seats or break a sweat during a church service.

It’s not bad to be financially secure or be an older person, and if you can reach that level then more power to you. (We all hope to be there some day.) But financially secure older persons choose to disconnect from reality when their only concerns are those of personal convenience and comfort, not of how their considerable influence can be used to benefit others within the community.

There are, of course, exceptions to this definition – not every FiSDOP matches every aspect of this term and certainly many financially secure older people are NOT FiSDOP’s at all. This definition is a broad view of the typical FiSDOP who lives in LaFayette, intended to give you a good mental picture of what we mean when the term FiSDOP is used.

 

 

13 comments so far

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  1. Boy, do I resent the implications of this!. I suppose I qualify except that I do care about the future of La Fayette, I am not, not, not, disconnected from reality, and I know those folks you are talking about. Adding a “not everybody” at the end doesn’t really work. Furthermore, I know people like this at ANY age.

  2. I can completely agree with you on the point of FiSDOP, but I also agree with Pam above me. They are at any age and growing at a more rapid and exceeding pace. A lot of the younger people today don’t see La Fayette as anything they have to care for because they don’t see that La Fayette is caring about them. Recreation centers, public schools, and all this other stuff is all well and good but this wave of younglings are so used to these things that they believe them routine. They don’t see any major changes happening to support them and rid them of their boredom while they drove endlessly on through school. They need new things, major adjustments, and we, as a society, should conceed on some points.

  3. The difference between FiSDOPs and the kids are the FiSDOPs have money and influence to change things, but don’t. Their kids (and grandkids) are the new generation of “I have what I need, I can go where I need to, so why should I care about anybody else”. The recreation centers here are not routine…they stink. They could be great, but they don’t put the time or effort into actually using them for the purpose intended. The Main Rec, of course, is the best and they have decent facilities and are open for the most part, but they closed down all the rest in neighborhoods that most kids can actually get to. Also, not every kid wants to plaly basketball, which is pretty much the choice inside the Main Rec. Most kids cannot afford the $4 to swim for the two months the pool is open, and a lot of them can’t afford to pay the $35 it costs to play sports through the Rec. plus the additional money to by uniforms and equipment that the Rec. no longer really supplies. Why should the kids care and why should they be interested or take pride in what they have, it is pretty obvious that LaFayette doesn’t take pride in interest in them? An eight-year-old I know, speaking of where he lives, said “They don’t care about kids in this town. Look at the junky parks and sidewalks,” and the other day out walking down his street, “they don’t care about people on this side of town. Look at the trash on the roads, the broken junk on the sides, and they don’t ever cut the grass except by the city stuff.” An eight-year-old is more receptive and caring to the situation that many people live in than most adults in the city. I wish more young people would grow up and leave town, then it can be left to the FiSDOPs, just the way they want it, and maybe they can pretend it was like it was back when they were kids in the early 20th century.

  4. I just want a Burger King….oh wait!

  5. Part of the problem is that the FiSDOPs are self-perpetuating. It used to be that their children grew up and took over the reins; now, since most of the children find greener pastures elsewhere, FiSDOPs (when they let go) turn over the reins to younger cronies who’ve risen in their “good old boy” system.

    If you want to get people into office who actually give a good, erm, “hoot” about the community, you have to get the people in the community to understand their own power. Each person has the power to vote, each person has the power of a say in the community. Each person has the power to demand federal investigation if voting practices are being abused (i.e. if you have dead people voting).

    The only way your going to turn LaFayette around from it’s long decline into community death (I’m sorry, but 1 in 4 people below poverty level? Factory after factory closed down, dead and broken buildings and homes everywhere? that’s a dying community)—the only way to turn it around is for the average citizen to learn, understand, embrace, and believe in their own power to effect change, and to elect honest, intelligent, and fore-sighted people who are *for* community growth and life. Of course part of that too is *finding* such people within the community, and persuading them to run for office despite how nasty it can become.

    The FiSDOPs and their successors maintain power through public apathy, public ignorance, and the public’s lack of understanding of their own power. It’s easy for FiSDOPs to cut down individual reformers, to harass, to arrange harassment—it’s an entirely different thing if those reformers become too large a group to take on. That’s WHY they target reform leaders: by taking down the leader and making “an example” of him/her, they instill fear of the same treatment in the general population… not to mention, feeding the population’s belief that the FiSDOPs have “everything in their pocket” and “can’t be fought.”

    When a opposing group has *many* people who are leaders, *many* people who are dedicated and who will fight with even greater fervor *despite* the FiSDOPs’ attempts to “make an example” of a few among them, the playing field changes, and the FiSDOPs lose their hold on power.

    That’s what LaFayette needs: a *bunch* of people, if not the entire populace, learning their own power, rising up against the entrenched FiSDOPs, and breaking their power via the vote, and putting people into office who CARE about the community and work FOR the community.

    As I once told a friend, “Even if the laws are fair, laws are administered and enforced by people. If a community won’t hold law enforcement and courts accountable for the way they bend, break, pervert, or ignore fair laws… the “fair laws” are nothing more than words on paper.” The same holds true for community leaders: actions speak far louder than words, and it is by our actions (or inactions) that we are judged.

  6. Nice post, I love the website.

  7. I find this very offensive. You obviously do not have a clue. Which says to me, you’re financially secure with nothing more to worry about than how the “older” persons live their lives. And who are you to say they attend church for social reasons. Who do you think you are. Did you actually read what you’ve written? Most older folks are disconnected from the world at large because they have too many other things to worry about….like how they’ll pay for their medication or electricity this month. I guess that makes those folks “financially INSECURE disconnected older people.” Hey, I have a novel idea. Let’s not label people….and until you’ve walked a mile in all their shoes, keep your judgements to yourself.

  8. If they attend church for reasons of faith, not social connections, then they aren’t FiSDOP’s. If they’re struggling to pay their bills, they aren’t FiSDOP’s. Have to be ALL these things, not just one of them, and there are exceptions to any rule… This is a generalization that we use to explain why certain people in the community behave as they do.

    – LU

  9. FiSDOPS rule the world because they have the TIME to do it, and the center of their world is usually church. Church is where they can reaffirm their goodness (see Lafayetionary term “Good Christian Man) and their “rightness” to each other. Kind of like a battery charge.

  10. No, the center of their world is not Church, but “self”. If the center of their world was Church (The Body of Christ), then they would be functioning as the Body of Christ and all would be well. Jesus can fix anybody … including FiSDOPS.

  11. A true Christian living like they should be (which is impossible, but we can always do better each day with help from God) would not fall into the FiSDOP ~or~ Good Christian Man™ definitions. Neither term is meant to slam believers, but those who use Church as a social crutch, or those who use their supposed faith as a shield to hide all their bad deeds from public scrutiny.

    – LU

  12. The center of their social world is “church”. thebeatch is right…it is used as a cover up for other misgivings. I’ve seen it plenty of times in the south, and it isn’t just them, its a common cultural thing. If you go to church, especially the RIGHT church, and you give enough money and rub elbows with the GCM then you have a license to do things that otherwise you’d feel guilty about…

    Note: There are plenty of down-to-earth, Bible believing, and following believers down south, so don’t come after me about that. I just found it very interesting the seemingly amplified inch deep, mile wide “religiosity” that appears.

  13. “The center of their social world is “church”. ” … you don’t know that.

    The problem is … nobody knows what’s in a man’s/woman’s heart except them and God. Trying to “slam” anyone for the reason they attend Church is very dangerous, as nobody (human) knows why another attends Church. The security of their relationship with the one Almighty Creator God should not be toyed with.