In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”
– Abraham Lincoln
It is not a new political phenomenon, but it always amazes me how the U.S. electorate suffers from an acute case of amnesia. Back in the year 2020, then presidential candidate, former Vice-President Joe Biden, was not only among the oldest of the DNC presidential hopefuls during that election cycle, but he experienced serious challenges from his competitors in the public opinion polls, by those who were much younger than he was.
With all this talk today, in the year 2023, about old age needing to give way to the hope of youth, younger talent was never a serious concern for the DNC in the presidential primaries, as the DNC then, as now, was chock full of relatively young, amazingly talented and well-experienced candidates in terms of work in the public service sector. That there were people with “vintage” ages in the race for the nomination goes without saying, but youth and “vitality” were very much in evidence.
Former Vice-President Biden, who was 77 years old at the time; along with Senator Bernie Sanders, who was 79; former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who was 78; and Senator Elizabeth Warren, who was 71; were in that group of candidates who were above 60 years of age. The oldest in that category was the former senator from the State of Alaska, Mike Gravel, who was 90 years old. There was not much talk about age in 2020, as I can recall, and so, where is this talking point, which is now being played over and over again like a stuck record, with the help of the news media, coming from?
Is it a genuine concern coming up from the grassroots, or is it a mere fabrication flowing down from one or more of the political think tanks? (The same concern is not shown, for some strange reason, in respect to former President Trump who is no “spring chicken” himself. What about his age?)
There were seven candidates who expressed an interest in being president who fell between the ages of 60 and 69. Of that number three were state governors; one was a U.S. Congressman and one a sitting U.S. Senator in the person of Amy Klobucher. The next category of interested persons in the DNC who competed for their party’s nomination for the White House against Donald Trump, who was the incumbent and was 74 years old at the time, numbered not less than eight individuals ranging from age 50 to 59. Of that number three were sitting U.S. Senators in the persons of Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand and Kamala Harris. One was a former governor; one was a former U.S. Senator; another a former U.S. congressional representative; one a former state senator; and one also a former Mayor of New York City. Youth was unambiguously, unequivocally and undeniably interconnected with talent and expertise.
The third category of party hopefuls amounted to nine individuals ranging from age 38 to 48. Of that number three had seats in the U.S. Congress at the time; two were sitting City Mayors, one of them being Pete Buttigieg who is now the U.S. Secretary of Transportation; and the group included such notables as Tulsi Gabbard and Beto O’Rourke, former U.S. congressional representatives; Andrew Yang; and former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the Obama Administration, Julian Castro. How soon we forget such facts!
Despite President Biden’s wealth of experience in the federal government, including serving two terms as Vice-President in the Obama Administration, the fluctuating opinion polls revealed that his nomination was never ever, at any point, a foregone conclusion. I remember watching one DNC presidential primary debate when Mr. Biden appeared to be upstaged by all, if not, by most of the other DNC candidates. I do not think that his lacklustre performance was due so much to his age, but more so to the platforms espoused by his rivals and by the eloquent, energetic and cogent manner in which they articulated their various positions to the public. The opinion polls reflected the impact that their arguments were making on the populace, especially upon those within the DNC. If Mr. Biden intended to win, he had to work hard for it just like his peers had to do.
At one point, during the polling used to guess and to plot the trajectory of the Democratic presidential hopefuls, Senator Elizabeth Warren led the pack with 22%; Mr. Biden was in second place with 20%; Senator Bernie Sanders found himself in third place with 11%; Pete Buttigieg was in fourth place with 9%; Senator Kamala Harris was in fifth position with 6%; and Senator Cory Booker and the rest of the field trailed behind all falling below 4%.
In a subsequent poll, Senator Warren maintained her lead with 27%; with Mr. Biden holding on to second place with 25%; with Senator Sanders again in third; Mayor Buttigieg in fourth; Senator Harris in fifth; and with Senator Booker and everyone who was still in the race polling under 3%. For some strange reason, the “old fogey”, Mr. Biden, was, somehow, able to hold his own against his younger rivals.
Much of the same Democrats today who voted for Mr. Biden back in 2020, over his younger rivals, are, no doubt, some of the very same people now questioning his age, asking him to step aside for somebody younger, despite his verifiable political accomplishments. What was even more amazing was how, towards the close of the presidential primary election cycle of 2020, all the leading DNC candidates stepped aside, in overt or tacit agreement, that the person who stood the best chance of beating President Donald Trump at the polls was Mr. Biden! They all recognized the threat that the then president posed to the republic. By asking President Biden to step aside now, are they saying that the threat has passed?
It seems that the only person who has the proverbial wisdom of a snake that the Bible talked about, one who will be a very young 78 years old in 2024, is former President Donald Trump. As the Democrats squabbled, scratched and clawed for their party’s presidential nomination the former president had only one person on his mind — former Vice-President Joe Biden. As the latter seemed to be flagging and failing in the boisterous and the fickle breezes of public opinion, especially within the DNC, President Trump continued to keep only one target in his line of sight, and that person was — former Vice-President, Joe Biden.
Have we forgotten the great lengths that President Trump went to in order to try and “dig up dirt” on Mr. Biden and his family? Have we forgotten the Ukraine affair which led to his first impeachment because of his rabid desire to hold on to political power at all costs? Are we not seeing that the tactics of Mr. Trump have not changed, as he has put the squeeze on his “Maga” cohorts and sycophants in Congress to launch an impeachment inquiry into President Biden, ahead of the 2024 presidential election, without a whiff of evidence?
Have we forgotten the insurrection of January the 6th which was inspired by former President Trump, and for which he was impeached a second time and now stands before the bar of justice on multiple indictments of a treasonous nature? Mr. Donald Trump fears none other than he who he feared while he was still in office, the man who fulfilled his worst fears by beating him in the election booths across the country, that being President Joseph R. Biden, one who he mockingly referred to as “Sleepy Joe”. It is quite intriguing that in an interview that former President Trump had with NBC’s Meet The Press that he stated that President Biden was “not too old” to seek re-election. And so, with that in mind, let us ask ourselves, “Who is fooling who?” “Who is fuelling the controversy over the President’s age?”
The American electorate, especially those withiin the DNC, needs to “wake up and smell the coffee”. Former President Trump has and continues to serve as a lightening rod for white nationalist racism, misogyny and violence in America. The dark clouds of prejudice and of bigotry now billow and loom over the country — thick, lowering, blinding and suffocating. No person of colour, whether male or female, gay or straight can make it to the White House in our current political climate, no matter how knowledgeable, how skilled or how experienced he or she might be.
The Kraken has been released — unchained from within the infernal depths of hatred and violence, and it has discarded the masks of coy pretense and of all expressions of subtle euphemisms, and replaced them with brazen and unadulterated disrespect for all that is decent, for all that is humane, for all that is right, and for all that is just and true.
The U.S. Constitution is no longer a document to be revered, but one to be spat upon with utter contempt. From it we must no longer take sage instruction and stern guidance, according to former President Donald Trump, but we, in tandem with him, must now bring it kicking and screaming to heel, as a cowed and a wretched animal, so that we can dictate to it with our vile frivolities, with our callous lawlessness, and with our unbridled greed.
In closing, I would like to say that I was never a supporter of Senator Mitt Romney. But, over the years, despite our political differences, he did manage to earn my respect, especially in his stance in regard to the defence of the Constitution of the United States. It was with deep regret, therefore, that I received the news that he would not seek re-election in 2024. Another sober voice within the Republican Party and the U.S. Senate will be lost. Senator Romney’s impending departure almost approximates my deep sense of loss at the passing of Senator John McCain in 2018. If the American democratic experiment is to survive — that upon which all bonafide political agendas hang — then we need more statesmen and women such as those.
Give me a man or a woman who is strong in mind and in heart, with a burning love for what is the best in this country, even if he or she is physically weak, is aged, is infirmed and is confined to an iron-lung, and I will wheel him or her out on stage at every political campaign event, hold the microphone to his or her mouth, and then cast my vote for him or for her on election day — FOR — THE — SURVIVAL — OF — THE — REPUBLIC! Preserve our democracy first, I say, and then let us get back to our partisan bickering, within established political norms, and with respect for our laws!