The "proof of the pudding" as it were: In the 2016 election, according to the U. S. Census Bureau, some 71% of Americans over age 65 voted, compared to just 46% among 18-to-29 year olds.
Now we have another Democratic presidential debate coming up on Thursday, Sept. 12. In the last debate Joe Biden famously called one of his opponent's medical plans "a bunch of malarkey." The reaction by people and pundits alike had nothing to do with the merits of the medical plan. It had more to do with how using that very phrase demonstrates that Biden at age 76 is a relic of the past, since no one has heard that term in probably 40 years.
As one wag said, "Millennials are all googling what 'malarkey' means."
In case you don't know, according to the dictionary malarkey means "speech or writing designed to obscure, mislead or impress."
Kind of like "a bunch of baloney." Or something that's "for the birds." (Of course, Biden calling anything an opponent says a bunch of malarkey is like "the pot calling the kettle black," since Biden has offered up plenty of malarkey himself.)
But aside from that, remember when Ronald Reagan became the oldest president in history? He was 69 when he was elected. Today, all of our leading presidential candidates have already hit the 70 mark! The three top Democrats are Bernie Sanders, at age 77, Joe Biden at 76, and Elizabeth Warren at 70. And then there's the Republican candidate. He is 73.
I guess we're living in a gerontocracy. But is that necessarily a bad thing? Maybe not if they would act their age!
I take part in discussion groups with my fellow senior citizens at our local college. Most of them are intelligent, creative, reasonable people with a deep well of experience. So I don't necessarily see a problem electing a president from among a group of 70-year-olds.
So there is nothing wrong, necessarily, with the kind of person who uses an old-fashioned word like "malarkey." It used to be that our elders were venerated. Tradition carried some weight. Older people were revered for their wisdom, judgment, experience and perspective -- although now, at least in some quarters, older people are considered hopelessly irrelevant, totally out-of-date.
Nevertheless, it seems we don't want some new and fresh "whippersnapper" in 2020. Instead, we're looking for a more seasoned presence who exhibits wisdom, judgment, experience and perspective.
In the last go-round, in 2016, the country ended up with someone who . . . well, he wasn't young. But like the know-it-all teenager, he was brash and bold. He knew what he wanted, he was itching to take the country in a new direction, and he has stood firm in the face of criticism.
So what did we get? Someone who when it comes to global warming "fiddles while Rome burns." He has his fellow countrymen "fighting like cats and dogs." And perhaps as my mother liked to say (consider Hurricane Dorian), he's left us "up the creek without a paddle."
It made me think that just maybe we need a president who remembers the lessons that their mom and dad told them, and who knows and practices some of the old verities, including a sense of humility -- the knowledge that the person doesn't always have all the answers, the wisdom to listen to other people, the presence-of-mind not to be seduced by his or her own self-righteousness.
As Mark Twain told us, "It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so."
Perhaps we need someone who doesn't claim to know all the answers, who won't let foreign leaders "pull the wool over their eyes," who can "keep their shirt on" in the midst of a crisis, who realizes that "a stitch in time saves nine" when it comes to global warming, who knows "money doesn't grow on trees" when it comes to the national debt. In other words, someone who won't fall for a "bunch of malarkey."
Maybe the best adage for any president should be: "First, do no harm."