The Tyranny of the Elderly
The death of Alcee Hastings has thrown a harsh spotlight on the problem of elderly people running our country
Representative Alcee Hastings has passed away at age 84. His death has opened a competitive seat in Florida and put the Democrats’ thin majority in the House in danger.
But endangering the Democrats’ majority didn’t have to happen.
Rep. Hastings is the perfect example of why we need a mandatory retirement age and term limits in both the House and the Senate.
For those of you who always become incensed and accuse me of ageism, know two things before you read further.
1. You are never going to change my mind.
2. I am a Baby Boomer and speaking out against my own age cohort.
Hastings had served in the House since 1992. That’s 29 years and 14 elections. He was so secure in his seat, that it didn’t matter that he was well past the average life expectancy of an American male (78.54 years) and even more so of an African-American male (75 years).
Yeah, you may as well throw some accusations of racism in there also.
The man was going to die in office. And soon. So why was he elected? If we had had a mandatory retirement age or even just a maximum age to run for office, we wouldn’t be in this mess right now, sweating an election that could endanger the Biden agenda that Democrats are so eager to pass.
And it’s not like he was the only Black politician who was interested in representing the majority Black district. Right now there are six, count them SIX, well-qualified Black candidates who want to run for Hastings’ seat but have been prevented from doing so before now because he wouldn’t step aside to allow the next generation to take their place in the government and have a say in shaping the future of our country.
If you are wondering why none of these people tried challenging him before this, it’s because Hastings was a well-respected former federal judge and a civil rights activist. Similar to why no one ever challenges Nancy Pelosi (81) or Mitch McConnell (79 — average life expectancy of White males is 76).
Just for the record, the average life expectancy for an American female is 81.1 years, for white women 78.6 years.
So both Nancy and Mitch are past their sell-by dates.
And don’t forget to toss some sexist accusations in the mix also.
My point is that we have too many elderly people in our legislature. They are passing laws and forming policies for a future that they will never see. More importantly, the people who will be living in that future are not allowed to have a say in how that future will be shaped because they cannot run and win seats in the House and Senate against the geriatric cohort who have been there for decades.
Is it because these elderly people are so experienced in government that they are the best choices in an election?
Is it because over the decades they have gained the trust of the electorate?
The reason that these senior citizens are re-elected over and over is because voters are lazy. They see a familiar name on their ballot and automatically vote for that person. Voters never ask themselves how many years they have been voting for these people, how old the candidates are, how long they have been in office or the most important question of all, what have they done for me lately?
Because if voters took a moment to consider these questions, they would realize that they are voting for their grandparents. And nobody wants their grandparents running their lives which is what is happening now in our government.
Quite frankly, it’s shocking that we allow people who were born in the 20th century and lived most of their lives in the 20th century to determine what the 21st century will be like for the generations who will be living their lives then.
It’s kinda like your parents setting your curfew, deciding on your extra-curricular activities and which chores you should do around the house when you have already moved out and have your own home and career.
It’s absurd. Why do we do this to ourselves?
Want to know why we don’t have universal healthcare? Or a civilized immigration policy? Or a decent minimum wage?
How about never passing the Equal Rights amendment?
It’s all of those 20th century people who have decided that if they lived their lives without these things, then these policies aren’t necessary and the rest of the population can live their lives without them also.
We can stop this tyranny of the elderly. And we don’t even have to wait for them to die in office as we do now. All we have to do is encourage younger candidates to run and then vote for them instead of the geriatric incumbents.
It will be difficult at first convincing younger people that they have a shot at being elected. But once the ball starts rolling, we will have more and more younger people running and winning and going on to Congress to legislate the future that they want for themselves and their children.
While Nancy and Mitch play Bingo at the senior center.