Dianne Feinstein Will Be 85 When She Runs For Re-Election Next Year

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Okay, come on now. This is getting ridiculous.

I love the elderly. I think it’s tragic the way white western culture warehouses them out of sight and out of mind rather than keeping them an intimate part of family life, and as my parents get up there in years I hope to eventually have the privilege of caring for them in my home. There’s a delightful energy that often comes over someone who has served many decades on this planet as their body begins to falter and they begin sincerely coming to terms with their own mortality, and until very recently in our species’ history that wisdom was something people held in very high esteem.

When my late Nana got into her eighties there was one phrase she’d often utter with a sanguine smile in response to the daily dramas the rest of us would fixate on: “Well it doesn’t worry me, I’ll be dead soon.”

I think that’s it, right there. That’s what’s so magical about that stage in life: you don’t worry anymore. You don’t concern yourself with the ever-changing play of forms on this physical plane as much, and instead begin turning your gaze inward, preparing for the inevitable relinquishing of your body and the transition into whatever comes next. The steady sort of benevolent detachment people often fall into at this phase is a joy to be around. It’s also why nobody should be a US senator at 85 years of age.

This is a sensitive topic for a lot of folks, and you’ll often hear them use the concept of “ageism” to try and kill this important conversation before it gains any headway. In my opinion ageism isn’t the real reason people are so averse to addressing this issue, though. I think people don’t like talking about how weird it is to have octogenarians running the world because westerners in general don’t like talking about the aging and dying process. For the same reason we warehouse the elderly away in nursing homes, and why so few movies and TV shows deal with the process of aging, people are averse to talking about the fact that at her age Feinstein would have a hard time persuading an employer to let her run a Walmart cash register, and yet here she is helping to run the most powerful military and economic superpower in the history of civilization.

People don’t like to think about the fact that one day they’ll reach an age where they can’t do things like they used to, so we don’t talk enough about how unhealthy it is that our world is being run by people who are too close to death’s door to have much skin in the game. Donald Trump is America’s oldest president yet at 71, next year there will be three Supreme Court Justices in their eighties, and the average age of the US Senate is 61 — an age when people in other professions are often being pushed into an early retirement against their will, when it can be impossible to get hired in your line of work if you lose the job you’ve got. That situation, by the way, is the sort of problem that the concept of ageism is meant to address, not millionaire senators running for their sixth consecutive term in their mid-eighties.

In March of this year Arizona Senator John McCain publicly accused Senator Rand Paul of literally “working for Vladimir Putin” on the Senate floor when the younger senator voiced an objection to McCain’s neoconservative NATO expansionism. In June of this year McCain was unable to string an intelligible sentence together when questioning former FBI Director James Comey in a bizarre Senate Intelligence Committee hearing; the senator released a statement attributing his incoherent ramblings to having stayed up too late watching a Diamondbacks night game. In July of this year we learned that McCain actually has an extremely aggressive brain cancer that he is statistically unlikely to survive. This 81 year-old man has been actively advocating for NATO expansionism, warmongering sanctions and new cold war escalations with Russia all year as well as nuclear escalations on the Korean peninsula, and his brain’s got a fucking hole in it.

This should not be a thing. People this close to death have no business threatening our species with nuclear annihilation. Just because they’re done with the world doesn’t mean they should be allowed to flush it down the toilet for the rest of us. Dianne Feinstein was recently seen at a town hall doing some truly remarkable mental contortions advocating regime change in Syria while simultaneously trying to distance herself from the politically unpopular phrase “regime change” itself. She has supported US military interventionism at every turn, has advocated all new cold war escalations with Russia, at a time in her life when she should really be leaving potentially world-ending decisions like that to the people who will still be here to deal with their consequences.

We need new ideas, because the old ideas clearly don’t work. The old ideas are what has brought us to the brink of nuclear and ecological disaster, and new ideas aren’t going to come from elderly senators regurgitating the same tired talking points they were running during the Clinton administration.

I know I show this video a lot, but it says so much so quickly about the state of US politics, and just so happens to provide another strong argument for term limits that has nothing to do with aging:

One of the ways the US oligarchy sustains itself is by using campaign donations to secure the re-election bids of establishment loyalists. Without term limits, legislators can secure a lifetime in office by consistently demonstrating their loyalty to plutocratic agendas. With finite terms, legislators wouldn’t be incentivised to remain loyal to the donor class once in office, and the plutocrats would have a harder time acquiring guaranteed loyalists they can count on to ensure the advancement of their long-term agendas. I’d happily trade in the occasional Bernie Sanders if it meant getting rid of all the Dianne Feinsteins and John McCains currently coasting from term to term by demonstrating loyalty to Wall Street, big oil and the military-industrial complex. Congress shouldn’t be about individuals anyway, it should be about the American people.

Congress has a major incumbency problem, and it’s caused by money. Even if you don’t agree that term limits are a viable solution to that problem, I’m sure we can all agree that money’s got to get out of politics, and that there’s no good reason for a US senator to be making a bid for a term that won’t end until she’s 91 years old. It will be an incredibly hard fight to fix this thing, but it’s a fight worth winning. This is silly. Come on.

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I write about the end of illusions.

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