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THE OLD AND THE RESTLESS

April 21, 2019

THE OLD AND THE RESTLESS

Professor Sheila S. Kennedy in her blog this Easter Day poses the question of age as a criterion for nomination of our Democratic candidate for president and suggests that it is time for us older Democrats to hand over the reins of power to younger Democrats, citing reasons why. I responded to her blog, lightly edited, as follows.

While not a contemporary of Adam, I am older than Sheila and anyone she refers to today and like to think that I am a realist. Of course we are going to have to yield the reins of the party to the younger set – we have no choice – and to stubbornly hang on to the vestiges of political power because we can amounts to political suicide. We constantly hear of how nomination of an old candidate will insure Trump’s reelection, but I here first note that Trump is no spring chicken, either, and that independents are aware of his aging as well.

That said, there are better reasons to yield the political reins to those younger than employment of such a fear factor as the spectre of a Trump reelection. It’s their world; they and theirs will have to live in the financial, environmental and political jungle we have bequeathed to them. They will have to deal with tomorrow’s Putins and Kims, a capitalism run amok, acidic oceans etc. since we will not be around, so it’s time for them to begin amassing the wisdom we did through experience (wisdom being used here as a relative term in keeping with the old saw that some people get older and wiser and others just get older).

We are already seeing a reaction of young Democrats to the excesses of capitalism and are witnessing their new ideas in governing by such as AOC etc., and I find myself attracted to such political views even though quite old and a veteran of The Great Depression, WW II, the Marshall Plan, the Berlin Airlift, the end of the New Deal via the Reagan disaster, and other such experiences that have shaped and informed my liberal politics. I when younger reacted to such experiences by becoming a fervent New Dealer, so I am not surprised that younger Democrats today are reacting to the experiences they are having in their present political lives which informs their politics.

We elders should offer our advice and encouragement to younger Democratic leaders but step aside at the leadership level, perhaps beginning with our choice for president in 2020, but that said, I remain a Warren aficionado at this juncture and have her bumper sticker slightly to the left of center on my Chevrolet’s bumper (which I think defines my political position on the spectrum). I finally think that handing over the reins of the party to the younger is a housekeeping rather than a political exercise, and should be done with a view toward the possibility of their enjoying a better world than the one we have today, “their” including our own progeny.     GERALD         E

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