Rivenbark: No congress for old people | Remark
If you think the low-key mini-movement to require very old congressional politicians to take a cognitive test isn’t such a bad idea, you’re not alone.
It is not age discrimination. It is common sense.
While the super cool version of me (admittedly too thin a slice on the old pie chart) wants to be impressed that Chuck Grassley, 88, of Iowa, is considering running for re-election to his Senate seat on the Next year (which makes him 94 at the end of that term if successful) the rest of the pie thinks it’s just crazy.
Before I send me a million videos of Grassley on his famous morning runs, I admit his fitness regimen is impressive. When I’m Grassley’s age the only exercise I plan is to wave my cane at whatever is on the topmost shelf in the grocery store until a youngster comes and helps me. . And then I will shout “YOU HAVE EVIL!” Just because I can. Hey, why do you think they call him a “rascal”?
Plus, everyone needs something to look forward to.
Just because someone can jog doesn’t mean they have to stay in Congress. I can do a pound cake. It doesn’t mean that someone should give me a Michelin star. Or even a Michelin tire.
The first time I noticed how Congress was getting older was in 2018 when I watched the tech snappers’ hesitant and awkward questioning on social media issues.
An elderly interrogator brightened up at the mention of “cookies” for example. Down with boy. Not that kind of cookie.
There has been back and forth between the tech guys and older members of Congress whose jaws dropped when told Facebook was making money from advertisers on its site. It was clearly baffling that anyone buying an ad on a computer instead of, say, a series of smart signs placed along the shoulder of the road announcing some shaving cream. (Ask your grandparents.)
An older senator whose name rhymes with Windsey Shayham took the opportunity to brag about having a flip phone. Which, to be fair, is way more hip than I imagined using – a two-piece Mayberry-era phone as Andy used it, saying, “Sara, get me Helen Crump ! “
I don’t blame a 74-year-old congressman who threw his hands up in a recent testimony explaining that cryptocurrency said “They’re just making money out of nowhere!” I expected him to get into a Thanksgiving dinner-worthy rant that in his day people would sell real products that you could hold in your hand and then you pay for those products with it. real money! You all say “Consarnit!”
Perhaps trying to look younger, Louisiana Senator John Kennedy, always quick with an inconsistent beard, told Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg: “Your SUCKS user agreement!”
Oh, believe me, Senator McFolksey, using young expressions makes you look older. That’s why I finally stopped saying something I liked as “dope” or describing a party I attended as “enlightened”. It sounds pathetic when said by someone who is “Action Figures and Tab for Lunch Every Day”.
The miserable truth is, it’s time to give kids a chance. Almost 70% of the US Senate are over 70, what Charlotte Alter of Time magazine called “the ruling gerontocracy.” Ouch, but on the spot.
I feel bad for the young office holders whose voices are being ignored on issues they care about like paid family leave, climate change and college tuition-free. Although young voters turned out in record numbers in the last election, it would be understandable if they got discouraged and stayed in the next election.
Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy, perhaps in the spirit of Thanksgiving, envisioning lanky young people in their twenties still stuck at the children’s table, recently announced that he would not be running for office. Seems fair. He has been in the Senate for forty-six years. Meet in the canning aisle, senator.
Celia Rivenbark is an NYT bestselling author and columnist. Write to him at [email protected]