In all the discussions and accusations of political parties in the non-United States of America that I have closely followed, I have seen many comments about how the current leaders are too old. Not that they are wiser or have something to teach the new ones or that Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton should be mentoring younger women, but no, comments such as a room full of your grandparents complaining. This is the American perspective and the correct perspective in many other countries, that younger is better, smarter, sharper and more alert. This is only a perspective of the young.
I admit that I thought that too when I was young and 40 was old. And it is true that some older people lose their edge, just as some younger ones are too impulsive and aggressive. Yet the elders of our countries have experience and wisdom that it takes a lifetime to acquire. Look at Ruth Ginsberg, Bernie Sanders, Nancy Pelosi and many others in the U.S. Look at Angela Merkel and Theresa May in the EU and in Britain. You may not agree with the politics of any of these elders, but you must be able to see the strength, wisdom and leadership qualities that they embody.
Of course there are too many others to be named who have stayed on just to fatten their own wallets at the expense of opportunities for young people, immigrants and other more deserving persons. They must be criticized, but not for being old, perhaps for being dishonest and greedy.
I often read that the U.S. is being run by old, white men, which happily is about to change. I believe in term limits. Serving the people should not be a way to get rich. But he is not the worst. The worst is Donald Trump, who seems finally to be falling apart. I am guessing that the most gracious way he can get out of all the charges against him is to to develop heart disease or high blood pressure or diabetes. Looking at the man and his behavior, it is virtually impossible that he does not have one of these already, if not all three, just judging from appearance. He is just as old as the others who are deemed too old. Does his behavior with prostitutes shave off ten years?
I wish that I had only heard the ageist comments since he has been in office, but I have been hearing them for much longer. People who would not think of referring to race or gender or sexual orientation in this manner freely call people too old. Is this the last ism to go? If so, let’s kiss it good-bye. It is well-known that the most effective groups are those with varying experience and perspective, what we call diversity. And I am calling for that diversity and the respect that goes with it.