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On Aging

On every birthday between the ages of four and 15, some adult would ask me "So, do you feel any older?" It was meant to be a joke I'm sure, but in some ways it was kind of depressing.

Hitting the next age was a big deal to me as a kid, as I always thought that the next annual increment would bring with it all sorts of long sought-after boons: more freedom, later bedtime, permission to watch more risque TV shows, etc. I would pine for my birthday for months, in the hope that, when the day finally arrived, everything would suddenly improve. At last the sacred date would arrive. And then along came these grown-ups to remind me that, really, nothing much had changed.

The Democrats have just taken both chambers of Congress. Feel any older?

Posted on November 08, 2006 to Politics


On the one hand, I agree with your implicit point that things may not change too much for the better. For instance, Nancy Pelosi is lunching with Bush to help him figure out how to "win" in Iraq in a bipartisan manner. Unless her advice to him is to "declare victory and leave," I don't have too much hope we'll withdraw any time in the next two years.

On the other hand, I do think the Democrats are qualitatively better on certain things, and had they been in power a month ago, you wouldn't have seen the "torture" Act (Military Commisions) passed.

Posted by: Larry on November 9, 2006 10:00 AM

Oh yes. Similar thoughts at my site.

I, for one, welcome our new Democrat overlords.

Posted by: jovial_cynic on November 9, 2006 10:15 AM

I agree, I mainly feel weary after Tuesday. Yes, Rummy's out, that can't be a bad thing. Watching the Dems squander their momentum over the next couple of years? That will be a bad thing.

Posted by: Everichon on November 9, 2006 10:54 AM

I am hoping that by sitting together in the same room (two, actually) for two years, the Demoblicans (as opposed to the Republicrats) can cobble together something that resembles an agenda.

Posted by: William on November 9, 2006 11:57 AM

Jesus, folks. What did you expect to happen? Give it a little time, please. Good things, or at worst way less bad things, will happen in time. Remember that for the past six years the Dems haven't even been able to get a meeting room together if the Repukes didn't want it. So let's sit back a bit and see what we have before we declare it hopelessly lost.

Posted by: Nathan on November 9, 2006 12:41 PM

The truth of the matter is that they are ALL politicians, regardless of party. The "wants" of the people will always suffer during their attempts at an agenda.

Posted by: Christie on November 9, 2006 1:14 PM

"Meet the new boss
Same as the old boss" - Won't Get Fooled Again - The Who

Posted by: Tim on November 9, 2006 1:38 PM

I just turned 18 and when the time to vote came around down here in Fl, Dad and i hopped in the car and went to the nearest elementary school, and voted. The elderly gentleman registering people to vote was so suprised that someoneas young as I had showed up to vote!!

Everyone needs to vote espicially young and the minorities the politicians want the young and minorties to stay home!! RISE TO VOTE SIR is what I say to All ye who hath not voted!!

Posted by: Debasso on November 9, 2006 1:50 PM

Government isn't good for us. Period. On the other hand, I was carded by a 25 year-old clerk at the liquor store the other day. I'm 41. She said, "Impressive."

So there, political meanies.

Posted by: Mrs. B on November 9, 2006 4:38 PM

18 year old Debasso illustrates your point... Not saying Democrats and Republicans are the same. It's more like a small town lawyer needs a second lawyer in town inorder for business to be good. At least years ago some politicians were interesting. Ex: Adam Clayton Powell, 1970's US Congressman D-NY, "Don't rock the boat and we'll all share the gravy."... Yeah, you wouldn't want to WASTE your vote on any third party candidates. "The situation is hopeless but not serious." Large Louie

Posted by: Anonymous on November 9, 2006 11:24 PM

Ah, Matt, I was enjoying this, or as Bill Haverchuck one quipped: "You cut me off in mid-funk!"

Even if it doesn't amount to much politicially, the massive pounding Bush's ego has taken, is taking, and will take is the gift that keeps on giving.

Posted by: Shawn on November 10, 2006 5:33 AM

I'm 23, and when I went to vote the elderly lady standing around helping everyone asked me "are you here to vote?" ... no. I just want to watch...

Everyone else there was at least 15 years older than me, but, then again, I was going to try and write my dog in for governor.

Posted by: merc on November 10, 2006 5:36 AM

In 2004, my birthday fell on Election Day. I cried all over a cupcake. I had a much better time of it this year. I don't expect immediate miracles, either, but hope feels really nice.

Posted by: Carmen on November 10, 2006 8:01 AM

The most recent Smithsonian magazine had a very interesting article about a similar election in 1948. The ratings for Truman were so bad that the Republicans pretty much swept the Democrats out of Congress and the Senate. Kind of like what just happened two days ago. Within two house election cycles, the Democrats not only regained their previous seats, but gained an even larger majority that they held for a long time. Be interesting to see if history repeats itself.

Posted by: Dave on November 10, 2006 8:30 AM

I predict a tragic downswing in embarrasingly hilarious American politics.

Wednesday was like the day after PeeWee got caught in the Theatre.

Posted by: rob cockerham on November 10, 2006 10:27 AM

With any luck, they'll be too busy fighting each other in Washington and they'll leave us alone. Gridlock is the very best form of government.

Posted by: Davey on November 10, 2006 1:53 PM

Michael Kinsley says it best in last Sunday's NY TImes Book Review: "The conversation in our democracy is dominated by disingenuousness. Candidates and partisan commentators strike poses of outrage that they donít really feel, take positions that they would not take if the shoe was on the other foot (e.g., criticizing Bush when you gave Clinton a pass, or vice versa), feel no obligation toward logical consistency. Our democracy occasionally punishes outright lies but not brazen insincerity. When we vote after a modern political campaign run by expensive professionals, we have almost no idea what the victor really believes or what he or she might do in office. It seems to me there is more than enough of this to explain all distressing election results without condemning either yourself or democracy."

All we can do is wait to see if getting older means llibrary access to Gide or if it just means weird wrinkles below your ear.

Posted by: lisa on November 10, 2006 9:32 PM

I do feel older, actually. I feel like the Sopranos are not the only family in town anymore.

Posted by: pjcamp on November 10, 2006 10:06 PM

Kill joy. ;)

Posted by: Wende on November 11, 2006 12:34 AM

Hi Matt,

First of all, let me apologize for the lame joke: "So, do you feel any older?" My parents pulled that one on me. Do you promise not to do the same with The Squirrelly?

Now to the election.

I cast my first vote in 1964 and I have not missed a vote since. I can tell you and your readers that, without reservation, I have never felt more satisfaction with election results than I felt this week.

Let's look at the results. The Republicans were not able to take any Democratic seats in the Senate, the House, or Governor races. That's like pitching a no-hitter. Bush and his enablers have had their say for nearly six years. Now the country is telling them to stuff it.

Why did this happen? In my opinion, voters had a clear choice between the Republicans, who sit at the far right of the political spectrum, and the Democrats, who have claimed the sensible center.

Voters have had it with the neo-cons who hijacked our foreign policy, religious nutjobs who want to impose their moral views on the majority of Americans, and federal policies designed to reward corporations and the ultra-rich. Now at least we can put the brakes on these boneheaded policies.

I look forward to the 110th Congress. I am optimistic about the future.

History will not be kind to George W. Bush. It's possible he might be judged as the worst president in American history.

Posted by: Dad on November 11, 2006 9:17 AM

Are you really HIS dad? I am touched beyond belief. Not just that he has one, but that the one he has is so thoughtful and well, sweet, to someone who doesn't necessarily seem to crave thoughtful and sweet.

Yeah, and the results were, despite some reservations, pretty damn satisfying.

Posted by: Lisa on November 13, 2006 8:13 PM

That really is my dad, and if I ever say anything insight about politics on this site, I'm almost certainly just repeating something he said to me a few days earlier.

Posted by: Matthew on November 13, 2006 8:51 PM