Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
We inform. You decide.
Thursday, May 23, 2024

We live in a world full of myths. Never mind the tales of Japanese-born mutant animals that enticed millions of us to actually leave our homes over the Summer and systematically enslave them within our smartphones or the tales of food items having wild sex orgy parties in supermarkets. (Don’t make the same mistake as our opinions editor and watch “Sausage Party” with your parents, thinking it’s only a comedy flick.).

No, we’re addressing common beliefs so unfounded they may as well be considered myths. This week, we tackle ageism.

Ageism is everywhere in our society. You see it probably most blatantly in politics as a means of attacking certain candidates. Take Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, for instance: In 2008, when he ran against then Ohio senator, Barack Obama, he was slammed again and again for being too old to run for president. McCain was 71 at the time. Compare that to our current presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton, 68, and Donald Trump, 70: They’ve all run presidential campaigns at effectively the same age, but why aren’t Trump and Clinton being vilified for their age the way McCain was?

Well, because age doesn’t really have anything to do with effectively handling the presidency. If people weren’t hung up on nonlinear Hillary’s crookedness or Trump’s — well, everything — you would definitely start hearing about how their age makes them incompetent or unfit for the job. How can we say this so confidentially? Just look at what happened to the best hope this campaign had to offer: Bobby Jindal — clearly. Does anyone even remember that guy?

For real, though: Bernie Sanders. Even for those of you who don’t favor him, you have to admit it’s hard to actually dislike the man the way you would any other politician. So to attack him and his campaign, what did much of the media and his political opponents resort to? His age.

Every pundit and his or her mother referred to him as, “a 74-year-old socialist,” when he announced his candidacy, and the Clinton campaign and surrogates were sure to drive home the point of Bernie’s potentially ill health, as he continued to challenge Clinton during the race. Meanwhile, there’s only a 6-year age gap between Clinton and Sanders.

Even outside of presidential politics, just look at the way some of our leaders talk about social security: “It’s too costly,” “We need to cut it,” “Government handouts are ruining America.” Meanwhile, the number of seniors working after the retirement age continues to grow, and likewise, our economy will increasingly depend on their contributions: According to Census estimates, by 2050 the population of Americans age 65 and older will account for about one fifth of the population.

This isn’t the “agequake” or “demographic time bomb” many claim an aging population to be; it’s an opportunity for us to shift how we view our elders. America’s senior population isn’t meant to retire and disappear into nursing homes for the rest of their lives, subject to less-than-regular visits from their grandkids — who, let’s face it, are kind of annoying anyway.

Bernie Sanders, at 74 years old, ran a grueling three-rallies-a-day presidential campaign and changed the country. Three of the four members of the Red Hot Chili Peppers are in their 50s, and two still have Greek-god bodies; Flea, the bassist, 53, is still running around like a maniac on stage, doing handstands and jumping off of amps. Joan Rivers, who died in 2014 at 81 years old, was still one of the most active comedians in the country. And there are so many more examples.

Age isn’t a limit or a setback; it’s an opportunity to raise the bar of greatness in this country, and we need to start treating it as such.

Enjoy what you're reading? Get content from The Alligator delivered to your inbox
Support your local paper
Donate Today
The Independent Florida Alligator has been independent of the university since 1971, your donation today could help #SaveStudentNewsrooms. Please consider giving today.

Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2024 The Independent Florida Alligator and Campus Communications, Inc.