Rates of Ageing Vary More Than Anyone Knew

American Politics, Donald Trump and Old People

Even though I am a political junkie, as much as I can recall, we don't do politics at this blog except as it relates to old people. But it's different this time. Or, maybe not. After all, Donald Trump is 69 years old, two years older than Hillary Clinton whom, some say, is too old to be president.

It is hard not to be embarrassed by almost any politician. With few exceptions, they are uninformed blowhards - venal, corrupt, self-serving, self-aggrandizing liars who disdain knowledge and learning and have had no intention of serving the public good.

Then there is a Donald Trump. He is not a politician which might explain why he is magnitudes beyond the professional ones in loathsomeness. I didn't intend to write about Donald Trump today but my planned post got sidetracked and it's hard to escape "news" of Trump these days.

I could carry on about how repugnant I find him but let's let Jon Stewart of The Daily Show do his wonderful, comedian-style Trump schtick – this one from Monday night.

When Stewart did that Trump segment, the man had not yet given out Senator Lindsay Graham's private phone number on television. That shocked me Tuesday more than his reprehensible statements about Mexican immigrants, Senator John McCain and all the rest.

As unimpressive as the entire Republican roster of presidential hopefuls is, Trump's lead in the polls says more about the American electorate, I believe, than the man. Who with an IQ of more than 75 or so believes this person could or should be the commander in chief of the United States.

Almost the worst of it for me is that apparently it is mostly old people who show up to support Donald Trump. That is embarrassing.

It would be easy to rant on but I'll leave it at that today and you may have your say below.

But first, to clear our collective palate, here is a lovely poem about growing old by Wendell Berry that TGB reader Tom Delmore emailed. It is titled, The Blue Robe published in “New Collected Poems” in 2012.

How joyful to be together, alone
as when we first were joined
in our little house by the river
long ago, except that now we know

each other, as we did not then;
and now instead of two stories fumbling
to meet, we belong to one story
that the two, joining, made. And now

we touch each other with the tenderness
of mortals, who know themselves:
how joyful to feel the heart quake

at the sight of a grandmother,
old friend in the morning light,
beautiful in her blue robe!


Now that I am an independent candidate for our township committee - first time running for office, I am dismayed by your completely negative viewpoint of politicians. Do you consider it a given that I will turn into a "venal, corrupt, self-serving, self-aggrandizing liar" if I am elected? Are there any elected officials among the TGB readers?

I don't know the answer to either of your questions. In general, I believe what I wrote about most politicians.

Among the reasons is that many years ago, I was approached to run for the lowest-level civic office in my city.

Before some high-level party operatives and I had gotten halfway through our first exploratory meeting, I was told (no discussion allowed) that I would need to reverse my position on an item to match the party's.

I thanked them politely for lunch and gave up politics before I got started.

You made me laugh and the wonderful poem made me cry.

There are politicians and then there are elected public servants. I haven't always agreed with my local elected representatives. In fact, I ran against a city councilman with whom I disagreed (I won - by 16 votes out of fewer than 600 in our ward). However, our city council elections are "non-partisan".

OTOH: Living in Kansas, as I (unfortunately, held by family) do, I'll have to avow that today's roster of politicians in our state capital is enough to make anyone spew about "politicians".

(I wasn't finished - meant to edit, but hit the wrong key!)

I'm pretty sure that the practice doesn't obtain for races for higher offices than what I held; but, in my own case, I had a "bag man". His job was to raise campaign funds. However, he was specifically told that I did NOT wish to know who the donors were - and I still don't know, 39 years later (he's deceased and took the information to his grave.)

Thank you for bringing Wendell Berry into this sordid topic (and not only in the USA). I have watched often Bill Moyers interview him — both men beacons of light, breaths of hope, voices of sanity, and lives of decency.


What a lovely poem! Wendell Berry and Mary Oliver are my favorites!

After watching and participating in politics with my votes for over 40 years I have to agree with you Ronni. It's embarrassing to watch American elections unfold.... Bought and paid for by the 1%... The GOP. And handed over by apathetic democrats.
Enough of that!
Thank you so much for the Wendell Berry poem - it brings light to my day!

I look at these potential nominees as keys on a piano - each has a distinctive - somewhat similar sound as the others. However, some can be louder than others.
We all can resonate with one or two but not all. Hopefully when this chaotic noise-music stops we will have a tune.
The Donald is playing his like a 'One Note Samba' - and some of us dance to it!
(Ugh! It's a l-o-n-g time from now to next November.)

If the media had ignored Donald Trump in the beginning he never would have been a serious candidate. I think that at first he ran for president to gain a venue for publicity and it worked. The more vile his comments, the more publicity he gets.

Now that he is leading in the polls, his narcissist ego is probably thinking he stands a chance and is a serious contender.

You are right, though, Ronni, it says more about the electorate, God help us.

The poem is poignant and charming.

The only thing that worries me about Donald Trump are the people that agree with him.

I try not to generalize about all politicians, but these days it's hard to say anything nice about any of them, especially those in Washington. My despair grows daily as nothing gets done there while everyone focuses on partisan politics. Currently I see no one in the field (on either side) that I want to vote for. Hoping that changes in the next 15 months. As for Donald Trump -- ugh! Gotta hope he falls of his own weight long before the election, because I'm afraid there are a lot of angry Americans who'd vote for him just out of spite. And that's really scary.

I think many go into politics thinking they will be the exception --

But the higher they climb--they begin to run into difficult decisions-- and find they have to sell their soul to get the right backing--

Without the right backing you lose. I think many a "good" person either drops out or tries to win without a chance to win --

Well, there's Bernie Sanders. He's old, and for me a breath of fresh air. He'd be an interesting counterpoint subject for Time Goes By. I am not a Socialist, by any means, but I like what he says about the disappearing middle class.

I think Trump may well force the GOP contenders even more right, because of the popularity of his extreme statements. Sanders may well force the Dems further left, at least on certain issues.

Clinton disappointed me years ago, when she fell into line with the Iraqi invasion. I thought she would speak up, but her nerve failed her I think. I really haven't had a lot of interest in her seeking higher office since then. Her tenure as Secretary of State wasn't great either.

At any rate we will be subjected to a long tortuous presidential campaign. I am SO NOT looking forward to it.

I thought I'd seen a pretty good cross-section of the lowest common denominator-type politicians at a number of levels: think Joseph McCarthy, Richard, "I am not a crook" Nixon, and any number of assorted adulterers, men's restroom frequenters, etc. Then, along comes Donald Trump! He's never been convicted of a crime as far as I know, but what a narcissistic, egomaniacal, bigoted, ignorant bloviator! Can you think of anything scarier than this man's hand anywhere near The Red Button? Yet, he's #1 (VERY briefly, I hope!) among the multiple far-right-leaning Repub candidates for Prez. As John McEnroe said on occasion, "You can't be serious!"

BTW, although I'm sure that there are some honest politicians out there, history has shown that many aren't. I'm not looking forward to another presidential campaign, either, especially being constantly solicited for money I no longer have to give. I've unsubscribed to most of the political websites I used to follow, but demands for money still get through. I donate what I can when I can--which probably explains how I get back on mailing lists I opted out of!

The thing that really upsets me about Donald Trump is that we (and everybody else) are talking about him. The man's a jerk. End of story.

What happens so much these days is everyone gets their knickers in a knot about the ridiculous comments of some idiot, and what should be the real issues of the election get lost in the shuffle. So, for example, at a news conference, candidates will be asked what they think of Donald Trump rather than what they have to say about immigration, or income inequality, or any other important issue.

In short, we have trivialized our elections by focusing on what crazy people say to attract attention.

I can't think of Donald Trump as a "serious" candidate except in his own mind. I believe he is a "foil" -- he is such a clown that he makes the other Republican candidates almost look sane.

Now that politicians are openly being purchased by ultra-conservatives like the Koch brother and Big Oil, too many potential voters will not even bother to vote and the oligarchy will continue to run this country into the ground. Donald Trump performs to keep our minds off the real situation our country is in.

Do we think all politicians are crooks -- yeah, I think we're beginning to rate them on the same level of credibility as used-car salesmen, with the possible exception of Bernie Sanders. While I voted twice for Mr. Obama, he has proved to be disappointingly moderate. I believe he was a naïve person who had wonderful goals, but he cannot overcome the handicaps that a Republican congress present to him.

Ms. Clinton is a viable candidate, but she is not, to me, as good a candidate as Senator Sanders is.

I agree that the presidential campaign is going to be a circus and will last 'way longer than any of us wants.

When money runs the system this is what we get. Entertainment for the masses.

It's a shame. Not all politicians are bad guys.

I'm with Jon Stewart--Trump is a delicious diversion. I mean . . . what a creep!! And so entertaining!

I think there ARE some honest politicians, but it ain't easy to maintain your integrity as a politician in this era when personal advancement and money seem to have replaced altruism and concern for the common good in so many.

Thanks for the Berry--he's always wonderful. He's not having any trouble staying in touch with his integrity.

I'm just hoping beyond hope he gets the Republican nomination lol.

Some 4 1/2 years ago, Toronto citizens chose Rob Ford as mayor. Initially, he was not regarded as a serious candidate but on election day, he won the mayor's seat. In the four years that he was mayor, Toronto became the laughing stock of North American cities. City hall was a joke. As a Canadian, I am reluctant to comment on the politics of another country, however, I can't help but think of the Rob Ford story when I hear clips of Donald Trump and hear of how well he is polling. Elections can bring surprises!

I'm with Nancy Wick about how we've trivialized elections. And why oh why do we have to endure 2 years of this nonsense?

I think I'll go start a petition on Change.org and see if we can't have that shortened up to 6 months.

Jeanette Lewis...
I get your point about not wanting to comment on another countries' politics but thank you for reminding us of Rob Ford. I strongly remember what a joke he was and I think your comparison with Trump is apt.

Nashville, TN had Bill Boner as mayor for a term. He went on Johnny Carson show and told us he was engaged to marry his second wife before he was even divorced from his first.

One of TN governors was sworn in before the other one had finished his term and the unfinished term governor was sent to jail. (In that fiasco, the two political parties cooperated to move the new governor into office.)

That was all they cooperated in, however.

We have a man running for mayor now
who denies that he knew who was backing his campaign with outside-the-state pac monies. We
recently got word, that it is his brother. (Should we believe his innocence?) His motto states he
will do politics the nashville way.

And his opponents say there has never been outside money in the mayor's race. (Who do we believe?)

The social media trend is bad enough left to the internet. If the "serious media" continues to get its emphasis and content from there, we are in really deep doo-doo as a country. (Yes, I meant that wording as an emphasis of the quality of
rhetoric we are hearing on a non-stop basis.


Embarrassment is what I feel at the buffoons serving in congress, the social media rhetoric that spews hatred and untruths, and the media's penchant for high drama to no good end. Then there is the hold that big money has over us. We have to figure a way to do what is good for the country's citizens and not pander to the deep pockets and big corporations. How can we continue to consider an entity on paper as deserving more rights than live beings? We need to take every opportunity to get out the vote and encourage votes for politicians willing to stand up to big money and corporations.

Wendell Berry. What a wonderful contrast to Donald Trump.
Let's put our attention on him, his writing, his poetry, his thoughtful dialog. So that we can believe there is some sanity in this crazy world.

I am a news junkie, however this constant coverage of D.T. is too, too much. I am very active on Twitter, but am very careful not to comment on politics. Last week I lost my cool and broke my own, personal rule.

Later I was disappointed in myself. So I tweeted this.. I will put $1 in a "don't tweet about politics" jar." You know like putting a quarter in a swear jar. Last night I made a $10 donation to a charity, emptied the jar.

PS: jar has another dollar today. I might have to change it to quarters, actually elections are a long time away.

It's not my job to defend politicians, and I think that many of them are indeed self-serving know-nothings. However, there are probably numerous politicians (aka public servants if they're good guys) who have earned our respect. I know of a number of California pols, starting with our once-again Governor, who are smart and concerned about their constituents, whether they always agree or not. Gov. Brown was a little too full of himself, though not venal, on his first time around, when I happened to be working for the State and had many occasions to differ with him. Once he settled his political ambitions within himself, however, he took an amazing path. He wasn't afraid to go from Governor to Mayor (Oakland) and then ran and won the Attorney General post, essentially working his way back up. Now in his second incarnation as Governor, he speaks his mind and takes the criticism. He is firmly pro-environment, calling anti-conservationists "troglodytes." He supports health benefits, gay rights and gun control. I have to say that whether or not I always agree with him, I like the guy and feel strongly that he is an honest man. He is also 77 years old now.

Our two women Senators, Boxer (77) and Feinstein (82) have served California well and honestly. My own representative, Ami Bera, had to tone down his views somewhat, which I understood, in order to win over that real Troglodyte Dan Lungren, but he has acquitted himself well since then. We can of course also claim Nancy Pelosi, Barbara Lee, Linda Sanchez, Doris Matsui, Loretta Sanchez, Karen Bass and others, I'm sure, who maintain their personal integrity while supporting issues like abortion rights, health care, gun control, demilitarization, environmental issues, etc. Of course we still have the loathesome Darrell Issa, but we can always hope.

I would never support Donald Trump who speaks out of that asshole that serves as his mouth. But on the other hand, I would never defend Senator Grouch, who has never met a war he didn't like (and longs for more wars to love), despises the rights of women and gays, opposes health care, environmental conservation, gun control and pretty much everything else I'm for. So as far as I'm concerned, it's a toss up between him and Trump, except that Trump has absolutely no power to do harm and McCain does, given his jealous hatred of Obama and his senior position in the Senate.

I guess the bottom line for me, and I admit to the partisan politics it evokes, is that there is a clear line of demarcation between politicians of the Conservative Republican variety and those on the Liberal Democratic side. If many pols are corrupt blowhards, and I agree that this is true, the exceptions are almost always Democrats.

Maybe it's not just the politicians we should despise, but the mass media, which ever and always gives the publicity and thus the voice to the worst and stupidest of them. It wasn't always thus. We oldsters remember when the personal life and health of a public servant (e.g. FDR) were their own business. When, except for the tabloids, a politician had to do or say something political to get respectable media coverage.

I've been hoping Trump will be hoist by his own petard - and out of curiosity just looked up where that word came from. It's from the old French for "to break wind," i.e., to fart. Which explains why everything out of his mouth smells so bad.

Again, Emmajay, we're essentially on the same page! I can at least muster up a little respect for Sen. McCain although he opposes pretty much everything I'm for, as well. As for Trump, I've always thought he was a joke, but he's getting a little too close to wielding some real power for my liking. Trump + power = totally scary in my book. Regarding this guy as a serious candidate cannot be allowed to happen. I hope public opinion will cause him to fade from the political scene as fast as he burst upon it--preferably faster--so the electorate can start focusing on the real issues.

I like Govener Moonbeam. I would vote for him as presedent.
TRUMP...any country who would vote for Ronald Rectom for presedent after he thrashed California might vote for Trump

EmmaJay I'm with you.

I think there's a big difference between local politicians in your town, who know their neighbors and meet people face to face, and politicians on the state and national level who don't really know the voters. The dividing line? When the media get involved. Btw, I think (hope?) that people who back Trump don't really think he'd be president; they're doing it strictly as a protest vote. In a way, kind of like Bernie Sanders.

I think Donald Trump says the crap he says is for publicity for anything he owns and has a big chunk out of..He certainly says a lot of crap in my opinion..I am Spanish and I look dark, he would not like me to say all white people with hair that needs a good cut and dry are criminals and rapists, etc..No he would not..the amreican people cannot think he is a serious candidate I think he just wants a lot of attention and that is the truth..I lived in the most populated state of my birh when I was just 18 California I found all people wonderful, kind and loving and many were minorities who struggled to get to California and become citizens and educated themselves and their children and were just the best..I got a little money from a Spanish group to attend college which I repaid by giving young women a chance to get educated the tuition was minimal then and books cost a lot, living was not expensive and I have always thought to pay it forward..I dislike people who think they can judge others by the color of their skins..Why does the American people tolerate such a bigot, I guess they seem to think like minded people stick together, but this is a vast country full of all kinds of people, I hope he just gets the you know what out of politics..He and Bill Cosby need to get together living in the land of denial I say!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This morning I awoke to the news that Trump said if the republican party didn't treat him fairly, he might just run on a third party ticket. Yep, Hillary must be tickled at that idea -- a sure win for her.

My example of "surprises" is a lot older than R. Ford/Canada. When the colonies were fighting the British Empire,it would seem laughable that our emerging country could possibly win. All the odds were against it happening. But we did. Makes me nervous to realize - never assume anything. I shudder to think of Trump and international dealings.

Donald Trump is ahead in the polls for one reason: he is the person most people have heard of because the media just love to print the crazy things he says. Current polls mean nothing about a primary election that is six months away. By that time, Trump will have used up his 15 minutes for this election cycle and will have crawled back into the brain-free zone in which he normally resides. His current standing only shows 1) that the media will do anything to sell their advertisers and 2) conservatives are idiots.

BTW, I love that most Republicans, and now The Donald, just can't stay away from that border fence idiocy. Anyone who thinks the fence is serious or who wants to jeer at this neo-con lunacy should watch a short documentary by Alexandria Pelosi (Nancy's daughter) titled simply "The Fence." It's on HBO and should be available on a streaming site.

Me, again. I was in error about the documentary "The Fence." It's by Rory Kennedy, another political daughter. Both she and Alexandria make excellent docs. I watched it again on my iPad and I highly recommend it. Watch it especially if you're nostalgic to see another clown, Bush Two, at his most what-me-worry self. It's sometimes funny, but mostly very, very tragic. And it makes you ashamed to be a North American.

Victoria, your comment "Without the right backing you lose. I think many a "good" person either drops out or tries to win without a chance to win" resonated with me. I have been advised that as an independent/unaffiliated candidate, I haven't a chance. And I am self-funding. The local "in" party seems to think my candidacy is amusing and the "outs" wish I was on their ticket. At least they aren't playing the "age" card...yet.

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