Political Ageism

I keep seeing newspaper columnists and others tut-tutting about Joe Biden’s age. Despite the fact that he’s doing a good job – better than I expected even if he isn’t doing some of the things I consider important – some suggest he shouldn’t run again.

Meanwhile, the Republicans are apparently planning to nominate the failed former occupant of the White House who tried to hold onto his job despite losing an election, a grifter who is under indictment for multiple crimes, someone who has proved that he is incapable of doing the job by the complete mess he made of it.

By the way, that con man is only three years younger than Biden, which certainly makes him no spring chicken. If anyone was raising the age question seriously, they’d be discussing it in reference to both men.

As someone a little, but not a lot, younger than both of them, I am aware that older people are at greater risk of health conditions that can keep them from doing a job than younger ones. But that is far from my first consideration when it comes to evaluating someone who is running for office.

I’ve never been a fan of maximum ages for jobs. If you can still do the job mentally and physically, why should you be forced to stop?

I do suspect that one reason people use age as a proxy there is that it’s messy to determine whether someone is still capable of doing work if you have to evaluate them. Plus there’s still plenty of ableism out there, plenty of efforts to push someone aside because they are disabled in some way.

Old people are likely to have accumulated some health conditions. My partner keeps telling me that we’re going to reach a point where we spend all day taking medications, doing physical therapy exercises, and making doctor appointments. He’s joking, but it is true that older people can’t ignore their health the way we did when we were young.

Here are some questions to ask about politicians with health issues:

  • Can they do their job around it?
  • If they can’t, will they be able to once they’ve had treatment?
  • Are there reasonable accommodations that will make it possible for them to do their work?

Based on what I can tell about Senators Feinstein and McConnell, my answers to those questions suggest that both of them should retire.

Joe Biden’s doing fine. Continue reading “Political Ageism”

January 20, 2021

U.S. flagThe National Anthem made me cry.

Specifically, when Lady Gaga sang “that our flag was still there,” I cried, because it reminded me that our country is still here. Battered and bruised and all too aware of its many shortcomings, but still here.

We’ve got another chance to help our country develop into the place it ought to be now that it’s been rescued from the narcissistic criminal who occupied our White House for the last four years.

I’m not really a fan of the flag – the performative patriotism of flag-waving has always repelled me – nor do I usually react to the National Anthem. I know it well and always sing along when I’m in a public gathering.

It’s a matter of respect, of duty as a citizen. (I am, in fact, often appalled at how few people sing it, even at political conventions.)

But it doesn’t usually move me any more than the flag does. I’d prefer a song that wasn’t focused on bombs and war, not to mention one that recognizes all of the people in this country including those who were here long before European settlers set foot on our soil as well as those brought here in chains, not to mention all the immigrants from all the other places who have made us strong.

Still, metaphors work and last Wednesday the flag as a metaphor for our country surviving the last four years did wonders. Continue reading “January 20, 2021”