By Ruth Gadebusch
Following the Democratic success in the 2018 election, I expressed hope that the newfound power would be used wisely. At the moment I have some doubts, most especially in the attempted coup of Nancy Pelosi’s Speaker of the House pursuit. It is a political position, and many of the members owe their election or reelection to the policies she has pursued as well as the money she has solicited and provided to their campaigns.
At this writing, her position appears secure but I fear their demands have taken so many bites out of her that she will be weakened. This, after her stunning wins in increasing her party’s seats in the House. No such opposition has risen against the minority Democratic leader of the Senate who has no victory to proclaim in the Senate’s reduced membership. Of course, the circumstances differ, but it is difficult not to wonder if the dissidents are still that afraid of a strong woman.
If these were not ambitious men and women, they would not have made it to their lofty positions, so of course they are eager to make change, but they did not even have a replacement leadership candidate when they dismissed Pelosi’s service. They simply flexed their muscle. While that has some value, I believe there was a better way to accomplish their goals in an evolutionary rather than a revolutionary manner.
Experience does matter. It is generally conceded that Speaker Pelosi demonstrated extreme political skills in her guidance for the previous four years of her leadership. Facing an intransigent Republican opposition is hardly the time to place untested people in such powerful positions. This person is a few short breaths away from the Presidency.
Worse yet, some of the would-be leaders complain about her age. Yes, a man’s age is occasionally thrown on the pile, but with less concern than a woman’s age generates. Making this even more distressing is that both, especially women, are living longer lives in our medical advancement.
Why such prejudice against the elderly? We might deny it in our rational mind, but all of us know the difficulty of seeking a job when in one’s late 50s or older. Failure can be as evident as when a minority racial/ethnic person has difficulty in securing housing. Flimsy excuses do not hold water.
Be it political or in the business world, experience is valuable. We learn from our mistakes as well as our successes. Nor are all the old tired and worn out. Many—most?—have energy to match their experience. Another thing we have learned is that there is more than one way to accomplish a goal. All are valuable skills.
Disclosure: My view of these conditions is founded on my own age. Pelosi is as well qualified as any candidate male or female, be it for Speaker of the House or the Presidency. So is Joe Biden. The secret here is well-qualified promising people in the successor spot no matter the age. After all, many tragedies have happened to our presidents regardless of their age or health upon assuming office.
Democrats, please consider today’s world and use your power with common sense. Never has there been more need for your experience, dedication to democracy, empathy for the less fortunate, appreciation of tax fairness, protection of the environment and more.
Put aside your egos, your instincts to take revenge on the administration and its sycophants that you might rule with the ethics that our forefathers expected in their dream. Every resource available must be used to dig out of this hole created when a buffoon became the President of these United States and so many chose to put power over citizenship.
In the normal course of events the young grow old just as today’s old were once young. While in one sense the future does belong to the young, do they really think their youthful enthusiasm will produce better government than all the experience gained in advanced age? A combination of the two is hard to beat.
Ruth Gadebusch, a former Naval officer, is a longtime community activist as a homemaker and parent emphasizing public education.