John Roach

Roach: a boomer's plea

Ah yes. Another month of national turmoil.

Ah yes. Another month of national turmoil.

The government has been partially shut down due to an irrational landscaping demand, the Mueller investigation gets a six-month extension in its quest to fill our prisons, and a wave of new Dems takes control of the House, thus gaining the right to scrutinize the executive branch via televised Congressional committee meetings.

Being old enough to remember the Watergate hearings, let me offer some advice to my Generation X and millennial sisters and brothers: Pop some corn and hunker down. The hearings will make “Game of Thrones” look like a still-life painting of a duck.

“Netflix and chill” will become “MSNBC and shut up I want to watch Don Junior sweat.”

And beneath all of this lies the hum of the 2020 presidential campaign.

As a citizen born at the outset of Eisenhower’s term, I have seen a half century of history and presidents. With that in mind, let me say: DO NOT ELECT A BABY BOOMER. 

I’m older than color TVs, so I know that the current crop of boomer candidates, all born before me, are past their prime.

Elizabeth Warren is 69. Joe Biden is 76. Bernie Sanders is 77. And, god forbid, Hillary Clinton is 71. In addition, the current White House resident is 72.  

People — we do not need another old-ass president.

We don’t want a POTUS wandering around the White House in Crocs. A commander-in-chief who only knows Amazon as a muscular woman. Or a leader of the free world who has a smartphone that is nine software upgrades behind. 

Think about this: We have a gaggle of candidates who are older than the age at which most people retire. They are the same age as the codgers who go to McDonald’s at 7 a.m. for coffee and free Wi-Fi. These are people who don’t worry about the future of the planet. They worry about finding parking downtown.

OK. All that said, let me now defend my g-g-g-generation. (That’s a reference to The Who. The Who is an old rock band.)

Lately I have observed a creepy phenomenon: Snarky hipsters who casually rip boomers in a way they would never insult an entire group of a certain gender, race, religion or nationality. I first saw this online from, of all people, an editor of a liberal Madison publication. He casually blamed boomers by name for something he didn’t like. Shortly thereafter a young venture capitalist named Bruce Gibney came out with a book titled, “A Generation of Sociopaths: How the Baby Boomers Betrayed America.”

OK then.  

Never mind that boomers made great strides in liberating people of color, women, homosexuals and people with disabilities. Or that we ended blind obedience to the government and religious bureaucracies. And that we managed to avoid something that the Greatest Generation didn’t — killing 60 million people in a world war.

Disregard all that and consider the ethics of maintaining a bias against an entire generation of people for simply living longer than any generation in world history and, in so doing, accruing wealth. If those sullen hipsters want to blame someone, they should point their fingers at the scientists who invented penicillin, the polio vaccine and seat belts.

Not that there isn’t bias against Gen Xers and millennials. There are all sorts of boomers who rip younger Americans for their work ethic and need to be praised when they really haven’t accomplished much of anything. 

And those old morons are dead wrong. 

As someone who works every day with younger folks, I am wowed by their openness and work ethic. I envy their youth, energy and humor. So, to those old grumps who rip them, I say shut your pie holes.

Still, I argue against a boomer president. Not because of a generational flaw, but rather the relentless effects of biology and cellular regeneration, or lack thereof.

Just as you become too old to play full court basketball, you become too old to be president.

There is an undeniable asset that comes with age. The next young president should be sure to surround himself or herself with trusted, older counselors who possess this asset. It’s called wisdom.

Madison-based television producer John Roach writes this column monthly. Reach him at johneroach@mac.com.


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