Some in the “party of tolerance” — the Democrats — are not always so tolerant of the elderly.

In a supposedly nonpartisan ATTN: video encouraging young people to vote in the midterms by challenging excuses, former President Barack Obama tackled the age-old old age issue head-on. He referenced the Facebook hearings in which members of Congress “were asking Mark Zuckerberg questions like they’d never used the internet before” because “they haven’t.” A video clip of mostly older, only Republican senators was played here.


But Obama wasn’t finished there. He spoke about how more people attended Coachella concerts than determined the election of 2016. And so he told viewers, “you wouldn’t let your grandparents pick your playlist. Why would you let them pick your representative who’s going to determine your future?” And this included a commonly used photo of an archetypal grandmother adjusting her glasses in confusion as she attempts to navigate modern technology.

This week, the Wall Street Journal published an article about Iowa Democrats who, although they are unsure which issues should define their presidential nominee in 2020, want that nominee to be young. A Democratic county chairman, aged 26, was quoted as saying “I can’t see how my generation, 18- to 34-year-olds, can get excited about a 70-year-old candidate ever again.”

Until President Donald Trump, Ronald Reagan had previously been the oldest American ever elected president. In his 1984 re-election, especially, liberals and Democrats attempted to seize upon his age as a disqualification for holding the highest office in the land.

In a now legendary, televised debate with Democratic challenger Walter Mondale, Reagan took the criticism in stride. “I want you to know that also I will not make age an issue of this campaign,” Reagan told Americans. “I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent’s youth and inexperience.”

The left’s attempt to paint Reagan as an old, out-of-touch man backfired miserably. Reagan won the youth vote.

But many on the left are, perennially, at it again. Age, because it is so often associated with conservatism, remains one of the few final human physical traits that is worthy of political mockery, insult and judgment from the left. And now, apparently, many of the young on the left are unhappy with their own elderly compatriots.

For the Democrats, who purport to oppose things like “ageism,” they are certainly practicing a lot of it themselves. Remember that it is the left from which the idea of the “Complete Lives System” has emerged, in which the human being’s kind and quality of health care depends upon his or her age.

Yet, we morally know a person is more than any physical trait, that there is something intrinsically deeper to a human being than anything physiological. That is the soul God has breathed into us.

Conservatives recognize this because we know that ideas and beliefs, competence and capability, efficacy and accomplishment transcend anything we can physically define because what gives us our humanity has nothing to do with old age.

Former President George H.W. Bush, who passed away this week at 94, continued to advance and support good causes. Up until the age of 90, he was skydiving. Bush had a lifetime of wisdom and perspective which remained crucial throughout his post-presidency.

The simple truth is that both young and old (and everyone in between) have something to offer our country. For the young, or the old, to shut each other out is a great disservice not only to our potential, but our humanity. We may not always agree on issues, but to generationally write someone off simply as “old” — or “young” — denies a person’s human worth.

Each generation thinks that they will be the last one that matters. Each generation is wrong.

Sometimes they recognize this. The young who voted for Reagan — for their grandparents, really — rejected the counterculture of their own “flower children” parents. Ironically it was their counter-cultural parents who had rejected their own parents a short generation before.

The young in the 1980s knew things needed to be changed for the better. Their parents couldn’t do that. Many of their parents had made thing worse. But their grandparents were different. Their grandparents had a longer lifetime of wisdom and experience, and the young were intelligent and experienced enough in their own right to recognize this.


Young and old came together in the 1980s to produce the Reagan Revolution. So the idea that the young cannot be excited about an older candidate is cheap politics. Likewise, the assertion that older and younger generations are mutually exclusive to one another is false — as is the idea that any age group holds the entire key of wisdom.

American society is composed of Americans, young, middle-aged, and elder. All of them matter. True, young and old bring to bear certain experiences that sometimes mean they will prescribe different paths or be concerned about unique things — but things like taxes, the debt, social stability and national defense defy age.

It was some members of that generation between Reagan’s and their grandchildren that villainized old age and made it a political weapon. When life was shorter, age was seen as a blessing. Now, it is too often seen as a burden because we live longer and take it for granted. Youth is not immortality. We need to remember this.

To President Obama and those on the left disdainful of the elderly: if young people shouldn’t let grandparents determine their future, isn’t it also true that grandparents shouldn’t let youth cast votes to determine theirs?

Or, after all, is it the ideas that ultimately count?

Rather than mocking Americans who are the age of Bob Dole (95) who mustered every shred of strength he could to stand from his wheelchair to honor George H.W. Bush with a final salute, perhaps we should be honoring them instead.

Whether it is a member of the most local planning and zoning committee or the president of the United States, age is not irrelevant. Sometimes, it’s all the more relevant.