The Establishment Won't Let Illness Get In Their Way
There is an alarming trend to keep older politicians in positions of authority long past what their mental and physical abilities would typically dictate. Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) strange “frozen” moment at a weekly press conference last week is the most recent example of this tendency, which amounts to nothing more than elder abuse. But there are others like Diane Feinstein (D-CA), John Fetterman (D-PA), and Joe Biden – who, by all accounts, lack the mental acuity and physical stamina needed to fulfill the duties of their respective positions faithfully.
Even the Babylon Bee has noticed and published two parody articles on this topic:
But all kidding aside, these older politicians are real people with real medical problems. McConnell (age 81) fell at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in March of this year and sustained a concussion and a broken rib. He was hospitalized and spent six weeks recuperating before returning to the Senate. It has also been reported that McConnell fell in Finland in February and “face-planted” at Reagan Washington National Airport on July 14. That makes three falls the public has known about in the last six months alone. Coupled with McConnell’s obvious neurological issue during the press conference, it is fair to say that he is in the midst of some medical crisis.
Then there’s Diane Feinstein (age 90), who suffered severe complications from shingles and was out for three months. She returned to the Senate in a wheelchair looking like one side of her face was drooping (typically the sign of a severe stroke or Bell’s palsy), and one of her eyes barely opened. It looked like they had just wheeled her out of a nursing home. Feinstein appeared confused at a recent Senate Appropriations Committee meeting, and one of her staff members tried to intervene. Eventually, another senator told her, “Just say ‘aye.’” GMC is no fan of Feinstein’s political positions, but trotting her out in this condition and humiliating her in front of the world is just sad.
Lest we forget about John Fetterman (age 53), who suffered a stroke in 2022 before the midterm elections. Although he frequently could not communicate clearly, he won the Pennsylvania senate seat. It was clear to anyone who witnessed his public appearances that he could not campaign like a healthy candidate. In the spring of this year, Fetterman was taken to Walter Reed Hospital for depression and spent a month under the care of doctors. One of his aides was reported as saying that resignation “was never discussed, not even on the table in any sense.” The question is, why not? Is it fair to expect a medically fragile person who probably doesn’t have the mental or psychological ability to hold down a high-powered job like a senator to stay in the position only to maintain power for his shadow handlers?
And finally, there’s Joe Biden (age 80), who exhibits the classic dementia shuffle and has had so many gaffes, bumbles, and falls that it would take the rest of this article to document them all. To think he has the codes to the nuclear football is truly frightening. How this man received 80 million votes (the most in history) while campaigning in his basement remains a mystery.
McConnell, Feinstein, Fetterman, and Biden should now live quiet and peaceful lives, receiving the medical attention they deserve. But when you think about the power these political positions hold, it is clear why they are left to deteriorate and be humiliated right before our eyes. It is much easier to manipulate those who have lost their ability to think clearly and lack the physical stamina of a demanding job. Those anonymous power brokers behind them probably prefer their candidates to be semi-comatose, making them easier to control. These older politicians are told what to say and when to say it, how to vote, and what to sign. They are simply figureheads – puppets controlled by someone or something else. This arrangement is abusive as the individual’s human dignity is sacrificed on the altar of wealth, power, and influence.
Loving family members should intervene. At some point, you must tell grandma or grandpa that they may no longer drive, cook, live alone, or be the leader of the free world. Unfortunately, family members’ perks from being a politician’s son, daughter, or spouse outweigh the need to do the right thing and convince a once-powerful relative to resign their position. Although you may not condone or agree with any of these politicians’ ideologies, we can still feel sorrow for how they are being used and publicly humiliated by the establishment or their families, who are ruthlessly clutching on to power at their expense. The Christian heart cannot fail to see the cruelty in these cynical arrangements.
This issue raises an important question about age limits for governmental service. Not all older people are indeed incompetent as they age, and some retain extraordinary mental prowess well into their senior years. However, lifelong service promotes the accumulation of great wealth and power and the need to keep doddering and feeble characters in place to protect all those riches and political clout. Perhaps if our side ever wins another election, we should enact term limits to protect vulnerable octogenarians – even if they are Democrats. F