Sunday, October 7, 2018

politics, age, money, and... re-election

A Guardian column underscores the age of American politicians left and right:
The United States has a gerontocracy problem.
This was clearly demonstrated in the recent hearings concerning Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the supreme court, during which Chuck Grassley, the 85-year old chairman of the Senate’s judiciary committee, apologized to Kavanaugh for having to answer for his alleged crimes.The generation that once declared not to trust anyone over 30 now appears to trust few under 70, and this is true of both political parties.
Meanwhile over 50 percent are millionaires who are 12 times wealthier than their average constituent household.

And as any two-bit kibbitzer like me can gauge, every one of them wants what every other one wants -- another term in office.

Does any of this matter? Was it ever any different? Should constituents rate their politicians according to age or wealth or ambition? Wealthier people have the luxury of time in which to primp and run for office. The less affluent sacrifice more in order to run.

Politicians 'represent' their constituencies to hear those bandying the word "democracy" about. Tell me how that works out. When George ["The Shrub"] Bush was president, it was a standing liberal reference point that he was someone born on third base who imagined he had hit a triple.

The anointed can't be held accountable that they were born anointed. Neither can they be held accountable for their age. There are those who gain wisdom with age and likewise there are those who merely settle down in well-polished ignorance [think trickle-down economics, for example, or American flag lapel pins]. There are younger people full of delightful sass and sashaying who can be every bit as untempered and stupid in their own well-polished credos ... using volume as a substitute for a veracity ["I don't need proof because my heart is in the right place...."] that deserves a backstory and, what is increasingly absent, a willingness to blush.

Ah, politics.

The tale that tingles to this day in my mind is of former president Harry S. Truman's first [1935] visit to the Senate chamber after his election in Missouri. He was 50+/- and had never been to college. He was a man who knew history. He had fought in WWI. And as he stood there awed and honored as he felt, a fellow senator came up behind him: "Harry," the senator said approximately, "for the first six months, you'll wonder how you ever got here. After that, you'll wonder how the rest of us did."

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