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OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 4/29/19

Battering Candidates Because of Their Age is Catastrophically Stupid: Remember Gandhi, Mandela, and Churchill!

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Responding to an Opinion piece in today's Santa Fe New Mexican, "the oldest paper in the West," on the front page of the Opinion section, prominently displayed; I submit this to OEN so that readers and our writers will speak up similarly as this kind of ridiculous invective occurs more and more often, as the campaigns move toward November 2020.

My view - "Joe and Bernie: Take a seat here and mumble with me," by Robert Cox, was one of the most offensive things I have ever seen in the New Mexican. With one tawdry insult on aging after another, it sounded more like an adolescent making fun of old people than any coherent or sane opinion worthy of being on your esteemed Opinions page. Do you share his views to place it so prominently?

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To quote a far more intelligent article in the Washington Post that came out the same day, by Chappel and Edelstein, (Historian at Duke, and English professor at UMass), entitled "No one is too old to be president":

"The question of whether elderly people are suited for executive office can be better answered with the tools of history. And history suggests that they are: South African leader Nelson Mandela, Britain's Winston Churchill and Konrad Adenauer, chancellor of West Germany for 14 years after the end of World War II, were all highly effective political leaders well into their 70s. Those worried about aging leaders might have in mind Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II, whose leadership capacity was affected by Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease, respectively. We should remember, though, that neither of those diseases is especially common, and about 90 percent of the population over 65 is not afflicted by either.

The mismatch between popular ideas and scholarly research should not surprise us. History shows, too, that the devaluation of old age has more to do with culture and economics than it does with biology.

Rather than contemplate the disqualification of candidates because of their advanced age, we would do well to consider how older candidates might bring a heightened awareness to issues of inequality and discrimination, a wealth of policy expertise, and the adroitness and diplomacy that comes with years of experience in the government. Audre Lorde observed that "the generation gap is an important social tool for any repressive society." If we view older candidates with suspicion and contempt merely because of their age, we risk missing out on the potential for intergenerational collaboration - a crucial resource in the graying century to come."

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The author of that My View denigrating these candidates is oblivious to the central fact in Bernie's candidacy, and quite astonishingly ignorant to the fact that young people trust him and trust his ideas far more than those candidates 30 years younger. Journalists on his campaign say that they have trouble keeping up with Bernie Sanders, given his health.

Bernie reminds me of Mahatma Gandhi who at 61 led the long Salt March to the sea and thereby broke the back of the myth of British moral superiority, as his biographer Louis Fischer wrote; if you recall, Fischer was played by Martin Sheen in the 1982 film by Richard Attenborough, which won 8 Academy Awards.

Indians struggling to rid their nation of the British trusted Gandhi implicitly, like a personal hero or as almost a religious figure to them.

Similarly, a growing number of Americans want and trust only Bernie Sanders to repair the on going cumulative damage done to our nation; to not see that is the worst kind of catastrophic political ignorance. I am reminded of Herman Wouk, author of Winds of War and Mutiny on the Bounty, still going strong and writing more books at 103. His relevance would only be questioned by the belligerently ignorant.

As to Biden, I don't support him, but I would never be so oblivious as to posit that he was too OLD to be President.

>>>>

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Here is the verbatim text of the New Mexican My View in question:

Byline: Robert E. Cox

A note to Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders:

I've been wondering ... are you finding that it's taking a little more time to straighten up each morning? Find yourselves ordering hot tea instead of a cold beer? Have you visited Amazon looking for heated socks? Are those headlights coming at you at night starting to flare? How's the hearing? Really, now, how's the hearing? Be honest.

I'm gonna guess from your appearance (increasingly rumpled, I note) that you're both still buying green bananas, and you're still picking up those two-packs of large tubs of Metamucil at Sam's Club. I mean to say that you're not padding in the pasture in your slippers, quite yet.

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Early in the 2016 Primary campaign, I started a Facebook group: Bernie Sanders: Advice and Strategies to Help Him Win! As the primary season advanced, we shifted the focus to advancing Bernie's legislation in the Senate, particularly the most (more...)
 

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Stephen Fox

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Nelson Mandela at the United Nations United Nations, 16 July 2010 - This video is a montage of some of Nelson Mandela appearances at the United Nations with accompanying speech excerpts in ...
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I hope readers and the authors here at OpEdNews will rise up similarly when they see these kinds of "ageist" insults in whatever media they pop up in, and, rest assured, the numbers will be increasing!

Submitted on Monday, Apr 29, 2019 at 8:39:17 PM

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John Lawrence Ré

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Agree wholeheartedly, Stephen, with you regarding the ageism issue, but I wouldn't group an imperialist like Churchill with anti-imperialist icons like Ghandi and Mandela.

Submitted on Tuesday, Apr 30, 2019 at 10:01:17 PM

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Reply to John Lawrence Ré:   New Content
It is the overarching concept of ageism that is implicit in my title and in the article from the Washington Post that I quoted.


I would remind you that Churchill is respected still by many of the same people who could care less about Gandhi or Mandela, or who would reject them because they were "revolutionaries."


Is Bernie Sanders too old to run for U.S. president? Vermont senior citizens weigh in on whether age is a factor for the next commander in chief. Subscribe to My NBC5 on YouTube now for more: ...
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Submitted on Tuesday, Apr 30, 2019 at 10:34:54 PM

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That's true.

Submitted on Tuesday, Apr 30, 2019 at 11:28:38 PM

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Michele Goddard

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Great article. The first article is an absolute disgrace and you are right to point out that this type of discrimination is obnoxious and unwarranted. It amazes ne that in a day and age when every other differentiating factor, race, gender, orientation, ethnicity, weight, IQ, looks, etc is OFF LIMITS for jokes and comments it is shocking that a person's age is still fair game for jokes and ridicule. I'm 48 and I am physically in better shape than at least half of 25 year olds because of diet, exercise, not smoking and not drinking so why should I be treated any differently than they are? The strange part of it is, most 25 year olds are not the ones vasting these dispersions. Most of them actually enjoy conversation with older people who have experienced more of life than they have. Like the writer of the first article, the criticisms often come from people your own age who I supposed feel that because they have given up on life, it means everyone else their age has to give up too. Well I'll be damned. I've spend my l8fe defying what small things people thought I was capable of and age will be no different. Take care.

Submitted on Tuesday, Apr 30, 2019 at 10:13:52 PM

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Stephen Fox

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Reply to Michele Goddard:   New Content
Glad you liked the whole thing. I just encourage you to transfer your comments to make them into a short letter to the editor (150 words or less) and send it to letters@sfnewmexican.com.


And count on more of this ageism bullshit coming up more and more; we have to counter it wherever and whenever possible, or that vantage point will grow like a cancer, if it is unchallenged....


From the Straits Times (Malaysia):



Bernie Sanders on age, socialism and 'demagogue' Trump VIDEO: REUTERS.
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Submitted on Tuesday, Apr 30, 2019 at 10:51:36 PM

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911TRUTH

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Their age shouldn't matter, just their ideas.


FDR couldn't get elected today due to his age and illness.


This country was MUCH more progressive in the 1930's and 40's. Sadly.

Submitted on Wednesday, May 1, 2019 at 4:34:04 PM

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Yes, that it true, but perhaps the Progressivism was a result from the dire economic needs of the Great Depression, and as a counter to the massive influence that big business had during the 20's and for example the pro business attitudes of Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover?


Check out this fascinating list:

List of oldest living state leaders


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_oldest_living_state_leaders



Submitted on Wednesday, May 1, 2019 at 5:26:29 PM

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I would argue that we are in the 2nd Great Depression due to ever growing homelessness due to ever increasing unaffordable housing, insane wealth gap, job insecurity, etc, etc


The rich are getting more filthy rich, and that's about it.

Submitted on Wednesday, May 1, 2019 at 8:52:07 PM

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Stephen Fox

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No doubt, that is correct, just hidden by smoke and mirrors, but also not (yet) as severe as the Great Depression (i.e. breadlines in 1933 vs. Homeless lined up for free meals at the Salvation Army, in 2019!)

Submitted on Wednesday, May 1, 2019 at 9:33:11 PM

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I am totally against age discrimination against candidates just because of their youth and inexperience:)

Submitted on Thursday, May 2, 2019 at 12:46:40 AM

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Oh, my! The inverse contrapositive! How clever, David.

Submitted on Thursday, May 2, 2019 at 2:14:01 AM

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