Looking at Two Old Guys

Two very old men are running for President. It isn't ideal. We can wish they were 58 and 61 instead of 78 and 81. But here we are.

As an even older American, deeply concerned about the fate of the nation and of the world, I'm struggling with this, as I'm sure you are. I’ve been living in the Country of Old for a long time now. I know what I can and can’t do and I forge ahead accordingly, with lots of notes-to-self, some no-floor-work exercise, some naps, and hitching with friends instead of driving when eight-lane highways are involved. I’m hugely grateful that with all that, I still have fast-firing synapses and a muse who feeds me words as fast as I can write them down.

So here's what this 91-year-old is thinking about these two old guys—

Both of them are showing signs of diminished capacity. Both are failing to see their own diminishment. But we can see it. In both men. The idea that only the 81-year-old is less than he once was is nuts. The 78-year-old went round that bend years ago. Both of these guys are screwing up in ways that younger people don't.

And then there are the differences. The all-important differences.

The 81-year-old is an experienced public official, with decades of honorable service. Thanks to that service, his knowledge of the nation and of the world is superb. As POTUS he's gotten so much done, he's looking like FDR, LBJ and Teddy Roosevelt rolled into one, and considering the mess he inherited from the other guy, it's a bloomin miracle.

I'm still gobsmacked that he got so many nations to agree to a minimum tax on multinational corporations so they can't pull out of facilities and dump employees to chase after a cheaper tax rate in another country. I didn't think anybody could pull that off.

He's attracted first-class people to his White House and his cabinet, and he's listened to them.

He comes from a working-class family, has known financial hardship, and boy has he known grief. He understands struggling people and works to make their lives better. He's squeaky clean ethically, both in office and in his personal life as a loving and faithful husband and father.

In wild contrast, the 78 year-old is the son of a rich businessman who left him a fortune. Starting with that stake, the son created one business mess after another, specializing in ego-pumped ventures that didn’t make it. Trump Steaks? Trump Airways? Trump Bibles?

He’s had sequential bankruptcies. He did, however, play a successful businessman on television. He's said that public service, including in the military, is for suckers, asking "What's in it for them?" His own first step into public office after a self-serving business career, was to run for President of the United States. When he won, he brought chaos to the White House and to the nation, ignoring wise counsel, courting dictators, doing private money deals, insulting allies... the list goes on and on, including his tax cuts for the wealthy, himself among them. (Despite years of saying “Soon,” I don't think he ever released his tax returns.)

Personally, professionally and politically, he's surrounded himself with Yes Men, firing anyone who tells him he can't do whatever he wants. His Supreme Court appointees have just destroyed the nation's founding principle that no one is above the law. They’ve cut back on federal agencies’ power to protect you from dangerous products, from polluted air, land and water, from anything corporations decide would be profitable, at your expense.

Throughout his career, he's been a cheat and a fraud, refusing to pay his bills, daring people to sue him, lying in his financial books and on his taxes. He has zero respect for women, seeing them only as how they rank in looks, marrying a few of them he ranked 10s, then cheating on them.

Roy Cohn being dead and unavailable to advise him, he's got Steven Miller, Steve Bannon, and the son-in-law who looked at the horror in Gaza and saw only developable beachfront property. All the sane people who tried to counsel him were fired or fled, and are now telling Americans not to vote for him.

The two old guys will be the candidates if the 78-year-old doesn’t choke on a Big Mac, stroke out in one of his rants, or get yanked from the ticket by suddenly patriotic Republicans, and if the 81-year-old isn’t convinced to withdraw by people concerned that he’s no longer up to the job.

That gives us a choice ~

~between an old guy who surrounds himself with thugs and an old guy who gathers in the best possible advisors,

~between honorable and despicable,

~between freedom and fascism,

~between respect for citizens and a deep contempt for all us losers and suckers.

This old gal won’t find it hard to choose between those two old guys.