"The most significant threat to our national security is our debt," Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, August 27, 2010

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

No Country for Older Men

Who makes change?  The old?  Not really.  They talk change.

Who thinks the impossible is doable?  Not the old.  Their impossibilities are in the past.  Just ask them.  They will bend your ears for hours.
Who does what others talk about?  Almost always the young.  Seldom the old.
We are starting to see the rise of the young.  And with it will come change.  Not the kind of misguided change being dealt by those who embrace expectation and entitlement (e.g. community organizers) but the kind of change that comes from those versed in the fundamentals.  Leadership based on sacrifice and frugality; discipline and limits and common sense; hard work.  Badly needed change.  Long overdue change.  Today, old men stand in its way.  Some leave on their own terms.  Occasionally.  Some know it is time to go but still hang on.  Others are clueless.
Paterno has gone; well past his time.  His departure is not pretty.  But others hang on – in politics their names are Reid and McCain; Kerry, Durbin, Frank and Dingell; Sanders, Lautenberg and Inouye.  Old men too tired to even know they are tired and ineffective.  Still others rekindle their ego with their maniacal missions of fame and other fleeting prideful temporaries (think Clinton.)  They waste their final moments fulfilling the certainty of the prophetical words, “There is no fool like an old fool.”  Men like Ron Paul and Newton Leroy Gingrich; women like Pelosi and Boxer; old fools like Feinstein, Hutchison and Mikulski. Tired old men and a few tired old women.   Their time has passed. 
Others will leave soon, but not too soon – Buffett, Bernanke and Greenspan; Jack Welch and Paul Krugman.  These old fools spew the same nonsense that is either self serving or builds the invitations to Upper East Side cocktail parties. They do not see that their time is past; their misdeeds must be undone; the problems the young must deal with all occurred on their watch. 
Who undoes the bad deeds of the past?   Of the old?  Of those who hang on beyond their time?  Of the imbedded interests that serve the old at the cost of the young?
History answers this question for us.  In America’s own brief period we need just recall some names to see the power of the young:
Thomas Jefferson, wrote the Declaration of Independence, at the age of 33.  THIRTY THREE YEARS OLD and he told the most powerful nation in the world to take a hike!
George Washington, military commander of the American rebellion forces at the age of 43.
Nathan Hale, he of the timeless regret of his understated but overwhelming contribution to American independence, hung by the British at the age of 21.  Did you know that this young man gave his life for America on a spy mission for the continental army and had the audacity to say, “I only regret that I have but one life to give for my country.”
Alexander Hamilton, started serving as America’s first secretary of the treasury at the age of 33.  He built America’s credit standing by insisting on paying down debt only to be undercut decades later by old men with names like Reagan and Cheney and Greenspan and Bernanke and some younger men with names like Bush and Obama.  Mostly old men; spending other people’s money with no plans for repayment.
Geronimo led the Apaches to war against the Mexicans and Americans beginning at the age of 29.
Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce, at the age of 37, led his dwindling people away from the Americans, who broke every treaty they signed. 
The old do not lead; they dwell; they ponder; the pontificate; they adjust.  They do not change.
Crazy Horse, successful warrior leader of the plains Native Americans, defeated the Americans in battle at the age of 26 and went on to his greatest accomplishment – success at the Little Bighorn at the age of 36.
Tecumseh was in his 30’s when he started assembling his Midwestern Native American tribes with the concept of a Pan Indian nation to live separate from the white settlers and their misguided ways.
Jonas Salk stops the deadly and crippling polio virus at the age of 40.  He modestly says it belongs to all and refuses wealth and glory.  Somewhere in America today there is a young person who has the character and commitment of a Jonas Salk.  When the old leave we can only pray that we will find this young person.  We must find a new Jonas Salk.  Chubby Newt signing books and pocketing the dough is not the replacement we need.
The Wright brothers launch their flying machine on the dunes of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina at the ripe old ages of 32 and 36.
Henry Ford started working for the Edison Company at the age of 28.  In his spare time he developed his first “Ford Quadricycle” at the age of 30.   You may know the rest of that story.
Edison, a friend of Ford’s, developed the phonograph at the age of 30.  The light bulb came at the age of 32.  He accumulated over 1000 patents, many in his youth.
Steve Jobs assembles his first apple computer in his 20’s.  He went on to many more accomplishments.  Upon meeting with president Obama, Jobs was quoted as saying, “The president is very smart, but he keeps explaining to us reasons why things can’t get done….It infuriates me.”  Darn well should Mr. Jobs.  R.I.P.  It infuriates many.
America is wallowing in the eddies of old and misguided men (and women) swirling at the corners of the waters flow.  Only the young will bypass these sections of safety and enter the rushing waters of the swift flow.  Only the young will venture into the rapidly moving waters.  Get out of the way old men; you old misguided, woeful men.   Let the young move forward.
The old expect.  As do the misguided.  They need. The young do. And do without.
It is time to stand down old men and old women wherever you may be.  On your TV shows; in your newspapers; in the halls of government and in the skyboxes of your expensive stadium; writing/speaking your platitudes to the past; of your glory imagined and illusory.  Stand down.  We have all heard and seen what you have to say and do.   If you have done your job; you have earned your rest.  If not, it is too late.
Step aside less the old ways of your brethren with names like Paterno and Gingrich and Cheney and Dingell; Kerry and Clinton; Krugman and Greenspan; Buffett and Welch will stop the young from taking over.  Your time has passed.  Stand down.
You slow and prevent the rise of the young and we can no longer afford your blockages and old ways.  Retire before the burden of Paterno falls upon you and your ilk.

1 comment:

Patrick Flynn said...

Ronald Reagan became POTUS at age 67. Served 8 years. Brought down the Soviet Union, and rescued America from socialism.
Winston Churchill took over as Britain's Prime Minister in his sixties, arguably saved Europe from Nazism.
Just two examples refuting the thrust of this essay.
One must also ask the author of his displeasure with Newt. His campaign was kaput until the debates showed him to be the most intelligent of all the candidates, the most erudite, and certainly capable beating the Halfrican in Nov.