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Are we doomed to a Trump v. Biden time loop?
Editor’s Note: Why are you sitting there with a thousand-yard stare, awash in ennui and self-pity, bemoaning life’s futility as you wait for death to bring sweet relief? Snap out of it! There’s still important work to do, like asking Matt a question, any question, at firstname.lastname@example.org Every question cannot be used, but each will be prayerfully considered.
If it's Trump and Biden again in 2024, what do we do?
If that happens, I’m torn between wailing or gnashing my teeth. Or perhaps relocating to some place that promises greater stability and a brighter tomorrow, like Mogadishu or Sierra Leone.
It’s not that I think today’s DemoRats and ReTrumplicans (as the two sides call each other – subtlety is not their strong suit) are indistinguishable. They’ve each helped wreck the country in their own peculiar way. And I say this in the spirit of pure, undiluted objectivity, without seeking to alienate readers or to bestow partisan favor: Of the two-party system’s current standard-bearers, one should be in assisted living, the other, in jail.
Biden, of course, is now well past drinking age. In that if he ages any more noticeably while in office, he will drive us all to drink. Here’s Joe Biden from 2015, just seven years ago. Recognize that guy? Neither does anybody, because he’s not with us anymore. Consider that if Biden runs again in 2024 (an increasingly big “if,” as one can feel the momentum shifting against him even in his own party – 51 percent of Democrats in a recent CNN survey say they don’t want Biden to run again), Biden will be 81 years old on election day. Though Biden advocates – both of them – insist he will be able to read on an 82-year-old level.
For context, keep in mind that when Ronald Reagan was the oldest president to ever be sworn in at his first inauguration up to that time, he was only 69. On his last day of his second term – when plenty suspected he was already suffering the ravages of dementia – Reagan was 77, two years younger than Joe Biden is right now.
And though Trump certainly seems more vigorous, perhaps fueled by his exacting health regimen (cheating at golf, eating Quarter Pounders, plugging QAnon congressional candidates), he’s no spring chicken himself – only three years younger than Biden. If Trump were to become president again - and he remains unconvinced he isn’t, despite losing in an electoral landslide – he’d be the oldest president to ever be inaugurated at 78 years and 7 months old, beating even Biden’s current geriatric record.
Of course Trump’s biggest problem isn’t age-related medical worries about him losing his mind. Because his mind is already long-gone – not to dementia, but to paranoia, seditious impulses, and strongman-crushes. The American public shouldn’t have to worry about a guy undoing the very democratic system that elected him. Without which, America would no longer be America. It would bear closer resemblance to Russia, which would likely be just fine by Trump.
The term “new blood” comes to mind. As in we badly need some. Mind you, I’m not some youth-worshiper. I enjoy detesting people younger than me. So I begrudge no one if they are say, in their eighties, and relish doing the same. As we age, we lose everything else - our loved ones, our health, etc. Aging is tough business, not for the weak. So why not hold onto what we can: our sense of generational superiority. Part of the fun of aging – maybe the only true fun to be had – is distrusting our replacements.
But if you’ll allow me to go all civic-minded on you for a moment, our selectees don’t happen by accident. They are elected. We have these things called “primaries,” and we choose them. They don’t just appear on our ballots by magic. And so if we want better choices, we ought to make them once in a while. If we don’t choose better candidates (it’s a big country, there’s plenty of people to choose from) we get the mediocrities we deserve. And in the last many years, we have.
But with the prospect of Biden v. Trump, do we really want to again live through a Groundhog Day time loop? I’m referring, of course, to the 1993 Bill Murray classic, in which he played a small-time weatherman who woke up every day, only to relive the same day again and again. Except at least Murray got to bed the fetching Andie MacDowell. All we’ll get from this bargain is to hear even more of Donald Trump’s demented election-fraud theories.
My aim here is not just to send old horses to the glue factory. As Job 12:12 says, “Wisdom belongs to the aged, and understanding to the old.” Young and middle-aged people have a lot to learn from our elders. Maybe just not from these two particular elders. As my beloved mother likes to say (she’s 78, and still at the top of her game), “There’s no fool like an old fool.” So who you gonna believe? My mom, or Job? I respect my elders, so I’m sticking with mom.
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Contest Winner Alert: Way back in March, when our innocence had not yet been stolen and there was still dew on the world (this was pre-Slapgate), I announced a book drawing for all new paying customers who signed up as result of this piece. Well, America has sat in nail-biting anticipation long enough. The excruciating wait is over, and now it can be told: Catherine Cummings, call your boss and tell him/her that you won’t be needing to work on Maggie’s Farm no more. Because Lady Luck has visited, and you are the proud new owner of my Tony-Award-winning 12-year-old collection of journalism profiles, Fly Fishing With Darth Vader: And Other Adventures With Evangelical Wrestlers, Political Hitmen, and Jewish Cowboys. Let’s give Catherine a moment to collect herself…… Soon, Catherine, I will be in contact by email to secure your mailing address, as well as your inscription request. Warning: I have horrible handwriting, but will sign it however you like. Just don’t ask for anything sexually suggestive, unless my marriage means nothing to you. (How much is enough, Catherine? I’m already giving you my book.)
Bonus track(s): Since I name-checked Bob Dylan’s “Maggie’s Farm,” here’s a scorching bluegrass cover from the The Band of Kelleys, a family band from Augusta, GA. It’s got mandolin, it’s got fiddle, it’s got a mountain backdrop, it’s got everything you need.
But if you’re greedy, and that just isn’t enough, and you need a soul version (bluegrass is just white soul music), here’s that beautiful fat man, Solomon Burke, doing the same: