We need to stop this constant ego stroking of a bunch of old men who think they need to keep their names in the news by stoking possible presidential runs. Among them are Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and now John Kerry who apparently refuse to admit their time to run for the presidency has passed. According to The Hill report, “Kerry told Palestinian officials that he was strongly considering a run in 2020.” Politico reports, “Bernie makes moves pointing to 2020 run” and Politico also reports “Joe Biden thinks it’s critical that Donald Trump not get a second term — and though it’s early, he doesn’t yet see anyone else who could stop that from happening. So he’s been telling people privately, that might mean he’ll just have to run himself.” It is absurd we should be talking about electing a nearly 80-year-old president and all these men have run at least in a primary before and lost.
Instead in 2018 we need a laser-like focus on taking back Congress, state legislatures and statehouses. These men should be looking to the future and spending their time helping to cultivate the next generation of leaders and getting them elected in 2018. They could actually help in this endeavor if they would stop looking in the mirror and asking as the evil queen did “who is the fairest of them all” and coming up with themselves as the answer. They may then accept there will be a new Snow White. Each of them has the experience and wisdom to share with a new generation if they came away from that mirror and mentored the next leaders of our great democracy.
One of the things that usually goes along with running for office is an immense ego. It’s needed to think you can be a leader and do it better than anyone else. That ego can get in the way of knowing when it’s your time to retire and help train others to take your place. We have seen this over and over again. Men clinging to office and power until they get carried out in a coffin. We are now seeing this happen with a few women. Running for a new six-year term at the age of 84 might need to be rethought. But women do live longer than men and before we call on them to retire we do need to elect a lot more of them to equal the playing field.
I write as a Baby Boomer myself and one who thinks he still has all his mental faculties. But getting hair plugs, face-lifts, joint replacements and having your teeth whitened doesn’t make you younger it only makes you look younger.
I give a lot of credit to whoever chose Joseph Patrick Kennedy III to give the Democratic response to the State of the Union speech. He is a 38-year-old charismatic up-and-coming Democrat. He is part of the future of the Democratic Party and the nation. There are men and women across the nation having just won or who are running for election in 2018. They are our leaders of the future and these old men should be helping them instead of clinging to elected office themselves. Winners like Danica Roem and Justin Fairfax in Virginia. Or Zach Wahls in Iowa, Maura Healey in Massachusetts, Christina Garcia in California, and a host of others who are running for reelection or running for office for the first time in 2018.
In 2016, nearly two-thirds of the nation’s population fell in the 15 to 64 year age bracket. These are the people who should be leading our nation and among them are also the leaders of the future. We have mandatory retirement ages for workers in many industries and today many corporate boards have mandatory retirement ages with some also having term limits. I am not suggesting term limits in Congress as that is something I have always fought against. Instead it would be wonderful if some of our politicians set an age limit on themselves though that seems to be a pipedream. Our media certainly aren’t helping as many political writers, TV hosts and prognosticators are becoming lazier about reporting on anyone whose name they don’t intimately know. They only write about or give air time to the same old faces.
We can only hope some of those tired old faces will recognize they are not the future and find someone they can support who is.
Peter Rosenstein is a longtime LGBT rights and Democratic Party activist. He writes regularly for the Blade.