Monday, October 27, 2008
Attacking McCain: The Age vs Ageism
Ok--I've been pissed about this for a while now, and I've finally hit the breaking point on this bit. Believe it or not, I'm standing up for MCCain on this one. A very wide range of people, from those on the street to David Letterman quip routinely about Metamucil with regard to the Republican candidate for President. I recall a joke told having todo with McCain being present for the initial chiseling of the Ten Commandments. Each of those people making such jokes, no doubt, are surrounded by people as old or older than McCain who are sharp as tacks, who get out and do things, who have photographic memories, etc. Working on a college campus, I know I'm surrounded by such people.
The issue is that the jokesters and naysayers are confusing Age with outmoded ideas. Again, being on a college campus, I am surrounded by forward-thinking individuals approximately McCain's age. There are other ways to discuss the (de)merits of one's qualifications to the highest office than discussions about "senior moments" and intestinal regularity, and those ways are discussions of the issues and whether the candidate's position on them reflects a way of thinking that is no longer the best way. To continue disparaging McCain using age-based jokes rather than the Age we are living in is just as ostracizing of a group of people that ignorant statements on race or religion are with regard to Obama.
Speaking of race-based discussions, McCain missed a big opportunity on Meet the Press to speak emphatically on the racist overtones of what's going on in the elections and outside of Republican rallies. When asked about Colin Powell's endorsement of Obama being seen as based on race, he says a very quiet "no" and then goes on to state his disappointment with Colin Powell before getting hung up on who endorsed him. The question comes up at 6:15 in the following video:
This would've been a great opportunity to go on record and speak toward the racial issues regarding the campaign. The sad reality here, though, is that if people have issues regarding race, they are more likely to vote McCain's way, giving him little motivation--outside of a civic-minded one--to make any further comment.