I was inspired listening to the Vincent David Jericho Program on KSGF this morning. He was asking about whether there was an "age bias" against younger candidates who ran in the primary election Tuesday. A discussion with callers ensued. I found it refreshing to hear some older, elderly callers call in to discuss it. You can listen here (beginning about 9.28 in).
A couple of definitions of youthful from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary are:
"having the vitality or freshness of youth: vigorous"
"having accomplished or undergone little erosion"
One of the definitions of idealism found at the same source is:
"literary or artistic theory or practice that affirms the preeminent value of imagination as compared with faithful copying of nature"
In a few more months my body will hit the half century mark. With age seems to come a bit less energy and a few more aches and pains but, in conversations with some of my peers, I find that I haven't lost a lot of the naivety that is associated with youth. I haven't lost some of the idealism I had when I was still in high school. I haven't lost the dream, if you will, that if you work hard, if you are honest, if you strive to live a life of integrity, if you pour 100 percent of your energy into something and give it the best you can, you can make a difference in whatever field you choose to work.
I don't think I want to lose some of that naivete, sure there are bad connotations associated with being naive, "deficient in worldly wisdom or informed judgment," but less than one might think, it depends on your perspective. Other definitions are:
"marked by unaffected simplicity*"
"not previously subjected to experimentation or a particular experimental situation"
"the state of being simple, uncomplicated, or uncompounded"
"freedom from pretense or guile"
"directness of expression"
Wait a minute. I just realized that though I, and many of the callers to Jericho's program had no problem with youth, as I go through these definitions associated with youth: vitality and freshness; little erosion; imagination; simplicity; uncomplicated; freedom from pretense or guile; directness, I see why youthfulness doesn't fit into the political establishment. It's becoming simple and uncomplicated to me!
Perhaps political office is a bit like sex, some people value the clean slate of virginity while others covet the experience of a partner who has had lots of previous partners. However, experience isn't necessarily an indication of a good lover any more than years of holding political office is an indication a politician is a good representative of the people.
As a matter of fact, a large quantity of sexual experience brings with it more opportunity for sexually transmitted disease. Likewise, long inductees into the political realm may have become infected with the disease of losing the idealism of youth and the naivete, imagination, idealism, uncomplicated simplicity that goes with inexperience in the political realm. Many establishment, experienced, older incumbents feel they've had to face the reality that little change can occur in the current local, state and national political atmosphere and once infected with that mentality, certain cases may be incurable.