Talking ’bout my generation

For a few minutes, let’s consider Kamala Harris as a vice presidential candidate in the 2020 Elections.

For some time now, I’ve generally avoided political posts and discussions in my social media-news feeds — especially discussions with my friends’ friends when they aren’t also my friends. Nothing good comes from arguing with strangers.

In the 11 years I have been writing this blog, I don’t remember if I have ever posted anything political. It was a long time ago if I did.

My views on this have changed over time and I have old friends and family members I never hear from anymore at least partly because of our arguments over the past two or three presidential elections. Facebook fights I had about Sarah Palin, Barack Obama and Donald Trump entertained others who were smart enough to watch without joining the fracas. Shame on me for allowing it to happen.

It’s unlikely those I have argued with in the past will agree with me today, but I’m pleased to see Harris, a Democratic senator from California, on one of our nation’s two major political party’s presidential ticket, along with Joe Biden, the former vice president and senator from Delaware. Yes, she is the first woman of color to rise to this peak in U.S. politics and only the third woman to run for vice president period. Those are worthy political accomplishments.

What I like most, however, is that Harris was born on October 20, 1964. That makes her a member of Generation X, according to at least some definitions. She isn’t the first member of my generation to become a vice presidential candidate. That honor went to Paul Ryan, the Republican former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives who was Sen. Mitt Romney’s running mate in 2012. They lost to President Barack Obama and Biden.

Now, at 77, Biden is running for president for the third time. I’m not thrilled about that even though he would be better than the alternative, in my opinion.

Biden’s age is a problem for me. It is way past time for the current generation of political leadership — Republican and Democrat alike — to step aside. In addition to Biden, President Donald Trump is 74. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, is 78. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York is 69. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is 80. One of my state’s U.S. Senators is 86 and was first elected to a political office 61 years ago. And he isn’t even the oldest member of the Senate. That honor goes to Dianne Feinstein, the senior senator from California who is 87.

It’s not hard to look at the U.S. today, think about that generation of leadership and get excited about a 55-year-old elbowing her way into the political spotlight. The president has already called Harris nasty and mean. Smart and determined are better adjectives in my book. She speaks in complete and concise sentences, which would be reason enough to vote for her. But the fact that she may have an appreciation for ’80s music or watched MTV when it actually broadcast videos makes me very happy.

It’s ironic that older Baby Boomers — those born in the 20 years after the end of World War II and who came of age fighting authority during the turbulent 1960s — have joined with other leaders who are even older to keep a death grip on their authority. We are one-fifth of the way through the 21st Century. It is way past time for all of them to step aside. I’m less sure every day that our country can afford any more of their leadership.

Kamala Harris couldn’t be any worse. She might even be better. She at least more closely resembles the United States in 2020.

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