The Good Die Young

Last year was the thirtieth anniversary of the annexation of the German Democratic Republic. It was the seventieth anniversary of the establishment of the People’s Republic of China.

Shortly after that annexation in 1989 began and was consummated in 1990, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was dissolved and the core of that union, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR) was invaded by the United States of America in the form of its “economic advisors” and with the covert support to Mikhail Gorbachev and then Boris Yeltsin. The overall result of which was an attempt– almost successful — to return Russia to conditions resembling those under the Romanovs — when certain European banking interests had a lien against the whole country.

If 1989 had been an exercise in equity, then the US would have to have surrendered all its unacknowledged empire (which most supporters of the US continue to pretend it never had) and perhaps return what Charles Sumner poignantly and accurately named the vomit of civilization (pace States rights) to the sewerage of sovereignty pursued under Jefferson Davis. But alas, the “end of history” has been quite one-sided.

That said I cannot resist recalling how often and with what condescension the leadership of the Soviet Union was dismissed as a gerontocracy.

Yet let us take a sober reflection of the so-called “Free World” today.

  • Konstantin Chernenko was Reagan’s age but only held high office from 1984-1985.
  • Yuri Andropov was born in 1914, but only served from 1982 until 1984. He was preceded by Leonid Brezhnev, born in 1906 (older than Reagan) and senior person in the USSR from 1964 until 1982.
  • Josef Jughasvili aka Stalin was born in 1878 and ruled the Soviet Union from 1922-1953. (Some American oligarchs believed that Franklin Roosevelt would have ruled as long too had he not died before the end of his fourth term).
  • Mikhail Gorbachev was born in 1931.
  • George H W Bush was 65 when he managed to take the place of the POTUS who had been his sock puppet for eight years.

Now let us look at the candidates for the US W**** House this year:

  • Mr Trump is 73.
  • Mr Sanders is 78
  • Mr Biden is 77.
  • Ms Warren is 70.
  • Mr Bloomberg is 78.
  • Ms Clinton (the stealth candidate) is 72.
  • Finally the “not-the-CIA-candidate” Mr Buttigieg is 38, putting him in the Bill Clinton/ Obama little league.

Is this a testimony to the benefits of the US Social Security system? or affirmative action in favour of the old and senile– if they are rich and white?  Is the United States of America incapable of fielding a candidate for its highest elected office under the age of 70! Both Mr Putin and Mr Xi are younger and they have been governing for a few years. Now let me be clear that I do not make a fetish of youth — unlike mainsteam US culture. However, I believe in proportionality or comparing like with like. Obviously the US is not only a military-finance oligarchy but apparently a gerontocracy too.

I suppose what I find most disturbing here — not for the insensitive candidates — is the poverty of spirit exhibited in this campaign. Those who live beyond the pension age — in the US still 65 as far as know– obviously have nothing to lose, except what they will lose anyway. If courage for real change cannot be demanded from those who have nothing to lose and the young can only sell their souls, what is anyone really voting for??

Dr T.P. Wilkinson writes, teaches History and English, directs theatre and coaches cricket between the cradles of Heine and Saramago. He is author of Unbecoming American: A War Memoir and also Church Clothes, Land, Mission and the End of Apartheid in South Africa. Read other articles by T.P..