Bernie Sanders is just too old, so say a lot of pundits. And this would make perfect sense if Bernie Sanders was a regular politician, but he is not. Bernie’s 74 years old is actually beneficial for the kind of president he will be, and the policies he is determined to bring to the forefront.
His age helps to shape public perception around the revolutionary vision and agenda he has supported during his many years as a politician. His track record is long and his choices are consistent. This has everything to do with why his presidential campaign is also a success.
What most pundits are not getting, is that it is not about Bernie, but what Bernie’s message and ideas do to the minds of many citizens – he become a standard for change to a lot of people. Compared to the magnitude of these messages, age hardly matters.
Washington political establishment is not getting that age does not factor in when the ultimate message says: it is not Bernie the man who will change things, but the support and the participation of everyone. As with any other classic politician, it is always about “I will save the country, the economy and the world”. A never ending egotistical B.S. that we are all so used to hearing. Many thought there were no alternatives.
With Bernie the message is clear – I’m only part of this change; I’m only telling you what’s possible, I’m the communicator and I will provide inspiration for change but ultimately it’s you who will create this change and rally behind the ideas I’m proposing.
This kind of message is so powerful it immediately switches the focus from the physical aspect of the leader and brings the focus to the ideology that must be transformed into action. Age then becomes an asset rather than a liability.
Whether old or young, a pathetic politician is just, pathetic. The fact that someone has experience doesn’t reliably tell us anything since we already know how politicians can flip sides and vote for opposite policies, sometimes at a blink of the eye. As Bernie Sanders has brilliantly said: “Dick Chaney has a lot of experience, but his experience is as large as his disastrous decisions”.
If a politician’s actions and track record are admired because there is no wavering on the general ideals and voting consistencies, then age becomes a gift. This only validates the honesty of his intentions. What remains is the perception that age is the proof of a strong and resilient leader who can be trusted and supported in his endeavors.
The rising phenomenon around Bernie is proof that nothing about his campaign is status quo. Being Jewish from Brooklyn and having a weird hairdo are all part of the process. How could anyone explain why an old guy like Bernie could garner support from millenniums?
What about the grass root support from the artist community? Age doesn’t matter because the magnitude of his agenda is what people are focusing on. In the end it creates a paradoxical effect where what should matter doesn’t, and what should not matter makes total sense.
People are finally getting a refreshing sense of humanity, something that has been missing for a long time in our political arena. How comforting and reassuring it is to be able to trust the old wise man from our village. Something we used to do for thousands of years. I think it’s all in our political DNA and we’ve been craving it but unable to realize.
Its time we make all efforts to change a system that is rigged in favor of a few, but to the detriment of all the others.
Image credit: Phil Roeder