Biden’s signature legislation, the ‘Inflation Reduction Act,’ is a milquetoast approach to this existential crisis, a situation that the President himself has repeatedly acknowledged is an ‘emergency.’ Indeed this is an emergency, but the IRA pretends that there is still room for incremental action. His celebration of that bill as ‘the most ambitious for fighting climate change’ is despicable when the bar is so low it’s actually nonexistent and when this is only an initial step. In fact there was that room for incrementalism when I was a toddler, the first time Biden ran for president. Now? Now we must have radical changes immediately. Not 2050, not 2040, right now.
And by the way, all this push for Electric Vehicles is already causing incredible damage [links to The Washington Post]. Those rare earth metals don’t mine themselves. Lithium doesn’t make its own way to China for processing. We cannot live as we have been living, merely switching out fossil fuel vehicles for battery-powered vehicles.
Much worse, this president, like the previous especially, is enacting inhumane policies [NY Times] at our borders, policies that even violate international law [United Nations], and he does so in my name and in your name.
But meanwhile, let’s definitely focus on this man’s age. [heavy sarcasm] [links to NY Times (sorry I ran out of gift articles on the last one lol), CNN, NPR]
Literally, his age doesn’t matter. If it were Bernie up for reelection, very few of the current ageist folks would be saying anything about age—excepting naturally the Right, which would be peddling that mess as the only means of overcoming Sander’s appeal.
There are many critiques of the Biden administration. These critiques are not merely valid but actually necessary. However, the man’s age is not one of those critiques.
To the contrary, his age is a benefit. While I know firsthand that wisdom is also conveyed through navigating intense/extensive trauma, despite all the trauma I’ve endured and had to incorporate into my sense of myself (my understanding of ‘healing from trauma’), I know that I am yet lacking something essential to infallibly actionable wisdom, namely the perspective that accumulates with time.
I don’t react nearly half as intensely to heckling as I once did. I’m more deliberate every year, more measured, in my response to injustices. Over time my ability to discern the alternatives of a given situation, the vast majority of which appear at first as either/or propositions, continues to develop. These are all the work of experience accumulating over time.
There are tremendous benefits to aging. In our nonculture, however, we’ve come to idealize youth and ‘innocence’ (read: naïveté). I invite us to question this assumption, to challenge ourselves to see the potential flexibility of an older adult’s worldview, and to wonder what on earth could be the social value of naïveté and the lack of critical thinking capacity that comes with it???
Furthermore I wonder whether there isn’t a misattribution here: is it that Biden, the man himself, is too old, or is it that his ideas have aged such that they’ve gone stale? The man or his ideas? In case this is going overlooked, let me point out that these are different: too many young people carry sclerotic ideas; a great many older folks yearn for new ideas, who spend their long lifetimes without ever experiencing calcification of thought.
We could also speak of this ageism as an intentional distraction: if we’re so busy arguing about how old is too old to be president, then we are not going to be discussing what Biden has actually done and what he has not done, nor (more importantly) will there be much room to think carefully about how this president has conducted affairs.
In regard to the all-important how, I think immediately of the withdrawal from Afghanistan, which started too late, was conducted under unnecessary pressure, and was planned based on horrifically faulty assumptions. But Biden’s maneuver was deflection: ‘No one,’ he and his team assert, ‘would argue that we should’ve stayed in Afghanistan! We did the right thing by getting out!’ The remainder of their comments repeat the debate about withdrawing from Afghanistan, as if that were the public concern, attempting a distraction through rehashing a long-settled public position. In fact there were serious problems throughout the withdrawal that could have all been mitigated. (And no, their other defense, that the previous administration forced their hand, is not any more acceptable when it was entirely up to Biden and his team how to withdraw, and surely no one forced them to maintain their flawed assumptions.)
It seems to me that the ageist focus on Biden is another smokescreen to cause debate over nonissues in order to avoid valid policy critiques. The move is potentially even more effective in a campaign against the former president: in this scenario Biden need only maintain an aura of centrist dignity, fighting off perceptions of age-related incapacity, in contrast to Donny with the Combover’s hate-filled instability. (And no, you shouldn’t bet on any of Donny’s voters bothering over the age of their multiply bankrupt cult leader; the human mind is like a spring of contradiction and half-thought, lazy enough to not notice discordance.)
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