Monday, February 11, 2019

Ageism or insight?


Over the weekend, a friend asked: "how we gonna find one of these Democrats who can beat Trump?" Not which Democratic presidential hopeful should we like, but which can win. I didn't know my own answer until it popped out of my mouth, but on reflection I think it is a good one: "The one who emerges from the scrum which is the process."

Whoever wins the nomination will have proved both a survivor and to have at least some appeal to broad swaths of the Big Tent into which GOPer corruption and the horror that is Trump have forced the majority of us. Many of us approach the process with more trepidation than hope. Sure, we'd like one whose policies prescriptions we can get behind, but we've seen enough to know we may not get more than modest enactments. We know we'll have to get behind whoever emerges as the candidate -- and then we'll have to do what we can where we are to put that person over the top.

David Weigel caught a common anxiety at a Corey Booker event in New Hampshire:

A recurring theme in conversations with voters at Booker's events was nervousness — a real dread about picking the wrong candidate, one who couldn't defeat the president. Annelie Heinen, a 35-year-old teacher who attended Booker's Waterloo roundtable, showed up wearing a “She Persisted” T-shirt, a reference to Booker's Senate colleague and presidential competitor Elizabeth Warren. But she said she was nervous about Warren's ability to win.

... A number of voters said that they were inspired by the more fiery rhetoric from other Democrats, but thought a more unifying, inspiring candidate could take a clear run at Trump.

Our anxiety to find a winner unfortunately tickles into life whatever racist, sexist, or ageist biases we bring to the process. The feeling lurks in us: Why of course So and So isn't the right choice! She/He/They can't bring together a majority of everybody.

In that light, I found this from Jay Bookman at the Atlanta Journal Constitution something to ponder:

Whatever else it will say about him, history will see Donald Trump as a marker in time that divides what came before him from what will come after him. He is a ridiculous figure, especially as president, but the fact that he was elected anyway demonstrates the bankruptcy of that previous era and the repudiation of an approach to politics that had grown stale and unresponsive.

... Through incompetence, ignorance and no small degree of malevolence, Trump is hastening the destruction of that previous world. Alliances, networks and understandings that had stood for decades are falling apart, quickly, but the truth is that all that was fated by time to crumble anyway. Wiser leadership would attempt to manage that decline while building replacements, but for the moment that is not the leadership that we have given ourselves.

Today’s challenges — climate change, unsustainable economic disparity, technological disruption, the rationalization of a dysfunctional health-care system, the restraint and redirection of nationalist passions, the growing despair and addiction in those parts of America left behind by change — these are the troubles that must now be addressed. Voters will want and deserve fresh voices and insight into tackling them. It’s time to move forward, not reach back.

How could I not agree? But Bookman's conclusion is that Kerry (is he running too?), Sanders, Biden, and Warren just can't cut it. He concedes ...

None of the four shows any signs of age-related issues, and they are all perfectly capable of significant continued service. But in part because of their age and their long resumes, they will inevitably be identified with an era that seems increasingly irrelevant.

I instinctively agree with Bookman's substance -- this is a new time calling for a nominee who can point forward.

But is the fear that these worthies not just are up to it merely ageism -- a rejection of the possibility that elders might have learned a thing or two while deepening vision and hope?

I am torn. I've joked that no one older than I am should run for President (that would cut out all of these except Warren and she's close.) But that sentiment is no joking matter -- it throws away hard won experience and knowledge.

But this must be a new time -- how much does age matter? Can an older person look ahead? Can an older person lead toward a better future?

What do you think?

2 comments:

Joared said...

I think he under-estimates this President and his actions — not recognizing the intention and deliberateness of the leader toward his announced goal. Too many people are assessing this Pres. using the wrong criteria — not seeing what he is really about. The design is to create chaos, destroy trust, foster decisiveness, stimulate violence while maintaining adequate public support, so has to do a few good things. He’s treading a fine line quite successfully so far, since too few fail to perceive what he’s up to, or are not being outspoken about it. There’s a crisis all right, but it’s not on our borders.

We definitely can’t go backward with an opposition candidate, but a candidate with a program that many consider a plan too radical won’t succeed either. I’m just waiting to see who is left standing and what occurs in the meantime.




Mary said...

I’m 72 and I find a lot of trump’s support or either older generations or the undereducated or religious. So then who can eat into that group or can any democrat? I have my doubts on all of them because trump plays to his cult through fear and bullying and not hope or any feeling of pride in our diversity or our democratic processes. It’s fear, racism and righteousness.

I personally hope it’s not Biden, Saunders or Warren and perhaps it is an age thing, although I believe all of these are very fine people. It seems almost a youth or progressive and race and gender inclusive era in time now, that can inspire the younger generations to get out and CARE and vote. I see some rising stars in Beto, AOC, and Buttigieg, but not yet...

So that leaves Harris, Klobuchar, Booker. But you never know...
I would vote for ANYONE over trump or any republican. I am also fearful that Schultz could really screw things up for them Dems too.

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