I am an eighty year old female, which may give the “valiant warriors” among us reason to pull up the witch word, or worse. Such is the depths to which our societal discourse has fallen when it comes to politics. I am eighty and have voted from the day of my twenty first birthday…you read it right, in those ancient times a person could not vote until they turned twenty one. Looking forward to 2020 I am approaching an election wherein I may abstain from voting.
For the life of this flawed, sometimes misguided and hurtful, nevertheless wonderful country, we have been guided and legislated by white, generally middle aged or older, male citizens. At least partially because of the threat to this norm we became saddled with a sexist, corrupt, clumsy bully who wishes to be our dictator in chief, instead of the highly qualified, empathetic and knowledgeable woman who ran against him. Fast forward to today.
Who are the front runners for the Democratic nomination next year? Two very old white males. Mind you, I have nothing against the elderly since that is now my community, but we are talking about a person who will have to make instantaneous, strategic and well thought out decisions in a world that has totally changed in the last three decades. Nor do I have anything against white men so long as they park their egos and patriarchal tendencies (not their fault, society’s) under wraps and out of sight. I do have a problem with such entities grasping at their last chance to catch that golden ring and move into the White House.
Take Joe Biden. A very nice man who has caused mirth as VP with his misspeak, caused uneasiness with his personal space invasion issues, has sympathies for pro-life advocates with past discussions and policy decisions attesting to that fact. After affirming his feelings on abortion he suddenly switched those views the following day because of backlash. He is “evolving” and plans to change with the changing times and norms. As an octogenarian I say if he has not evolved by now he is not ready to be in a position to govern this wide and diverse country. We don’t need someone planning to change the habits of 70 odd years as he moves into the presidency, we need someone already attuned to the times. We don’t even need someone taking us back the way were, we need someone who will pull us out of the quagmire and move the country forward.
Then there is Bernie, who promises free everything at no cost to the average citizen. Promises, promises. Listen well to his rhetoric, he is in fact the left side’s version of Donald Trump. Not as corrupt perhaps, but rather hypocritical since he presents himself as the common man. This common man owns three houses, with his vacation home on Lake Champlain reported to be worth six hundred thousand big bucks. In fighting against the extension of Bush era tax breaks he stated “how many homes can you own?” Apparently at least three. His actual wealth was not generally known until his last run for the presidency, when he tried to explain away that it was his wife’s money (he is officially a millionaire, based upon book sales). His knowledge of foreign policy has always been suspect. Yes, he has studied our foreign relationships recently in order to be prepared for this run, but it argues that his in depth knowledge is lacking to a large extent. Aside from the nuts and bolts, he is old. He is three years my junior, and would hit 80 before being sworn in.
Trump is in his seventies and sometimes I could swear he is either entering dementia or on drugs the way he presents himself, the things he says. Reagan was in his seventies while in office and aside from multiple operations and a cancer scare, one could see the early signs of Alzheimer’s before his presidency ended just by watching him give speeches recorded for television. I can say that with certainty because my daughter and I discussed that very possibility every time he came on during his last term in office. We do not need another old man trying to lead this nation and often being led by unelected persons whispering in his ear.
As an octogenarian I ride my horse and do barn chores every day, but I am also much more tired than at a younger age, take naps, walk more slowly on bad days, and find I have to work harder at some tasks than previously. Granted my mind is still working decently, as are the minds of these old men. However, the responsibility of helping our vast nation through ongoing crisis and trying to get legislation passed through diverse groups with opposite agendas has proved draining to even our younger presidents.
“Uncle Joe” may be comforting to some, “feel the burn” Bernie may sound like a great future to others. Bear in mind that nothing is free, everything comes at a cost, and as the saying goes be careful what you wish for. Personally, I wish for a president who is smart, practical, knowledgeable, presents well to our allies and is a formidable force against our adversaries. I would also like to see that person be something other than a middle aged (or older), white male. Our country needs to move forward, not backward, in order to reach the greatness that Trump has stolen from us. If someone of that ilk is chosen as the Democratic nominee, I will happily vote and spend the night holding my breath and crossing my fingers that our beautiful country will have that chance to move forward and prosper. If we go with the old white men, this old lady will give up and let the chips fall without her. Let America rise again, and be the leader this world needs and for which it hungers.