Yesterday, I said the only controversy bubbling at my house was over chili with beans or chili without (go vote, if you haven’t).
Well, I didn’t actually lie, but I did a little blog hopping to some of my favorite places and found some more controversy to consider. I read this post by the Savvy Boomer on ageism. He linked to some ageist remarks he saw on the internet. Linking to them, of course, called the writers out of the woodwork. I’m not going to do that, because I saw the types of comments those young pups made, and I don’t have time to deal with dumb. You can read his article if you want to follow the links. The controversy in the comment section is great fun.
Reading that made me really start to try to analyze ageism. Thinking about it makes my blood boil as hot as three alarm chili! It’s an insidious little “ism” that has invaded our culture, and I’m not sure exactly when that happened. Other cultures value their elders, even revere them. Here in America, we seem to toss out and disregard the “old.” Not just old stuff, but old people. Did that start during the Great Depression? When and why on earth did it begin?
Unfortunately, age is playing a part in our political debates, just as is race and gender. There are people, surprisingly enough, who make remarks like, “I’m not voting for Obama because he is black,” or “I’m not voting for Hillary because she’s a woman.” Most of them make those remarks privately to friends, because they would not want the world to know that they are racist or sexist. Even those people can recognize racism and sexism in a heartbeat.
Why is it, then, that we don’t recognize ageism?
Savvy quoted one gal as saying, “I have to vote for someone…and that someone will not be McCain. Mostly because he’s downright too old. I’m not an ageist.” Sure you aren’t an ageist, bless your heart.
She claimed in a comment to Savvy that her remark was “innocent.” I followed that link, and read her article. I was more offended by this particular line of reasoning:
“Sorry to say this, but youth is king in America. Young people created everything we “worship” in today’s times of technology, ideology and every d*** other “ology” you can think of…”
I beg to differ.
Perhaps in technology youth is king, at least as far as the media is concerned. I didn’t waste the time in looking up ages of technological geniuses. Surely in fashion, youth is king (again because the media declares it so). But not in ideology. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought our American political ideology is based on The Declaration of Independence and The United States Constitution.
Take a hard look at our Founding Fathers.
In the 1700′s, the “average” lifespan was much lower than it is today, mostly because many people didn’t live past childhood. There are many different opinions on what the average lifespan was (some sources say as low as the twenties). Infant mortality was astronomical, and childhood diseases often snuffed a life before it got good and started. The chances were good that if one survived past twenty, one could live until sixty. That was often affected by wealth (which allowed one to have a proper diet and medical attention). Still, a person in their thirties was considered “long in the tooth.”
According to Life Two, the average age of the signers of the Declaration of Independence (at signing) was 45 years old.
For the times, that made most of them “old farts,” didn’t it? More than 200 years later, the words those “old men” wrote are as valid and as compelling as they were the day they were put to paper.
And, what about this guy?
Arguably, Benjamin Franklin was one of the most brilliant men to ever walk the planet. He was an author and printer, satirist, political theorist, politician, scientist, inventor, civic activist, statesman and diplomat. He was also one of the Committee of Five, who drafted The Declaration of Independence.
He was born on January 17, 1706, which would have made him about 70 at the time he wrote and signed that document. He lived to be 84, and was active and productive, a champion of independence and freedom, to the end of his life. He did not let his age affect his performance one bit.
Nope. You can’t convince this old broad that youth “invented” our ideology.
You can’t convince me that John McCain’s age would prevent him from doing a good job in office any more than you can convince me that Hillary’s gender or Obama’s skin color would affect their performance. All of these people are excellent candidates.
This really is not about politics, but no, I’m not voting for McCain. That’s because I’m a liberal Democrat, who fully supports your right not to be, so don’t start arguing with me. I have control of the delete button on this blog, after all.
Even so, I would hope that, when you exercise your right to vote, you look past the “isms” that you may carry. Don’t choose (or discount) a candidate because of gender, race, or age. Look at their political ideology, and see if it matches yours. That person is the candidate for you to choose.
I’d also like you to consider your views on age. It’s gonna happen to all of us, if we are lucky. I don’t ask you to blindly accept the adage “with age comes wisdom.” It’s not true. A stupid young person grows into a stupid old person. But, growing old does not make a person stupid, either. There is a lot to be said for life experience, and sometimes that is more important than wisdom. Just consider that we are wasting our time in glorifying youth, because it just doesn’t last. Age is a great equalizer, and can be just as glorious, in its own way.
The next time you see an older person and think, “old geezer” or whatever term you use, remember:
That old person will be you!