It had to be parody, I thought when I read, “Out with the old (politicians), in with the young” a Chicago Tribune op-ed written by Amber Petrovich, described as a “Los Angeles writer,” and, I suppose, a “young.”
She wants to “impose term and age limits on our elected officials and political nominees — and make room for more young leaders.”[My emphasis.] I can go along with term limits, but, I’m wondering, is she for booting Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg off the U.S. Supreme Court because she’s an overly ripe 85?
Petrovich’s fanciful hodgepodge was so loaded with clichés and stereotypes, so ignorant of history and so incredibly whinny, how could was it serious, thoughtful and intelligent contribution to political discourse?
In brief, Petrovich figures that too many old timers are hogging government and politics; that they’re squeezing out the young timers, that because they’re old, they don’t understand today’s modern mind. (Disclosure: I’m 77, which she asserts, “is an age to be retired, not to be leading our country.”)
Petrovich said, she “…never claim[s] to know what adult life was like in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s,” but then she unconfoundingly proceeds to catalogue the sins of the aged:
When you were in your 30s and 40s, young couples could afford to have more than one child. They could attend college without relying on a six-figure bank account to pay for it. Many young mothers had a choice when it came to working or staying home with their children. People retired with pensions.
And, oh yeah, when you were my age, people wore blackface and thought it was funny. Powerful men sexually harassed women and then became more powerful.
When you were my age, people littered. They drained the wetlands. Polluted the air. Built infrastructure with little consideration of long-term environmental consequences. When you were my age, scientists worldwide hadn’t yet started sounding the alarms about our rapidly changing climate.
Actually, the first warning about climate change dates back to the late 19thCentury, and in 1950s and ‘60s, the warnings began to accelerate, although some scientists were wrong to argue the Earth was cooling.
The 1950s—the years of my youth—incubated the civil rights movement and saw the early warnings about pollution. Who among us back then had a six-figure bank account? If you scrimped and saved, you have had four figures socked away. Veterans, of course, had VA loans for homes and school (still do), but that was when the draft (someone explain to Petrovich what that was) took male youth in the prime of their lives to fight in a war and wars in Korea and Vietnam to be mangled or killed.
The new generation explains when you’ll never find a rotting half-eaten sandwich on an L train and why powerful men no longer sexually harassing women. No women worked back then (Rosie the Riveter was a myth, as were all the employed women who helped win the war, and the million mothers whose sons died fighting in the war.)
Here’s the worst of if: She asks, “So why are you still making decisions for people like me who are becoming adults in this century?”
The answer is simple: Because your generation doesn’t vote. Not enough, at any rate, to elect youth to make decisions for those “becoming adults in this century.”
Recommended reading for Petrovich: “Ignorance, apathy, or just the weather? Why young people blew off Chicago’s recent election.” It reports:
Younger people are notoriously bad at turning out to vote — only 43 percent of 18- to 24-year-old citizens reported having voted in the last presidential election, by far the lowest of any age group, according to U.S. Census data.
As part of her education Petrovich lists the study of social science/communications at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Why, then, couldn’t she answer her own question instead of casting vague hints that elders were somehow squeezing hers and younger generations out of decision-making? Studying social science, she should have known that older people tend to vote disproportionately more than other age groups.
Unwittingly Petrovich’s flawed logic and abysmal ignorance makes a good case why, if she is representative of her generation, the young should be “out.”