Wednesday, August 09, 2017

The tyranny of the old

"Old soldiers never die, they just fade away," said Douglas MacArthur.  To which maybe it is time we added a twist: The old are neither dying nor fading away that easily!

I have complained enough about the choke-hold that older people have on everything going on in the world.  I have called them names, like tyrannosaurus elderex!  Of course, I have screamed at the senior citizens in my profession to retire already.  For whatever reasons, we do not engage in honest conversations on senior citizens who don't want to call it quits.

Remember the political campaigns here in the US just a year ago?  How could you forget, right?  Now think about the three of them who were yelling every single day: Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and donald trump.  Who was the spring chicken there?!

This country has slipped into a gerontocracy even as we were all watching.
The highest levels of American politics bear an uncomfortable resemblance to a gerontocracy. From the Senate to the presidency to — perhaps most strikingly — the Supreme Court, top positions are held more and more by people in their 70s or above.
What happened, right?
In the body as a whole, 23 senators are at least 70. Seven are 80 or older.
Keep in mind that there are only 100 senators.  Which means, 23 percent is at least 70 years old.  Whatever happened to graceful retirement and encouraging a new and younger set of people taking over?
We should address these matters without rancor or cruelty, but also without euphemism or undue reticence.
These matters are hard to talk about in American politics because they are hard to talk about in our own lives. I see my mortality etched on my father’s face, as my daughters see it in mine. Mortality and bodily fragility are two great constants of human life. How we handle those constraints provides a small but important test of American democracy.
And that is the crucial point: Whether it is in our personal lives, or in the context of our public officials, we do not engage in open and honest conversations regarding aging and mortality.  As long as we do not address these issues, well, expect the drooling and fragile tyrannosaurus elderex to get more and more powerful.


Ramesh said...

Yes, we the elderly, the selfish self obsessed elderly, are a threat to humanity !

In politics, your country is an outlier. In many countries, the youth have overthrown the ancients. It happened a long ago in the UK - the UK House of Commons is full of kids with the doddering banished to the House of Lords. Except Corbyn and May, everybody else for the last 20 years have been kids. Ditto France now. Ditto Canada. Ditto many countries in Europe. Even Merkel is only 63 after a decade as Chancellor.

You really should blog about, how in almost every facet life the US is diverging from the rest of human race. What's wrong with you guys ?

Sriram Khé said...

We are getting more and more messed up! There is no denying it.
Let us see what happens in the 2018 elections; we will have an idea of what the future holds ... if we survive the nuclear winter that the two crazies with bizarre hairdos are promising to unleash on the world!!!

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