First, this is not a political rant. I had a clear-cut favorite in the 2016 election but that’s not what I want to discuss in this post. It’s the perception that just because we’re over 50 Baby Boomers are too old to lead or be effective in a leadership role. This is particularly true with women who seek high positions. We saw how Trump accused Hillary Clinton of being frail and not having the stamina to be an effective President. Like he’s in great shape. LOL (this post was updated 6/2018)
I saw a tweet I should have saved. A female millennial stated, “Why are we stuck with Baby Boomers as our Presidential candidates?” She obviously thinks we’re too old and decrepit, and should be safely tucked into a rocking chair.
What she doesn’t realize is that we’ve had decades of observing the changes in society. In our youth, we participated in peace rallies, protests, and took part in causes. We helped bring forth Women’s Liberation in the 1970s, civil rights, and marriage equality. We’ve seen our leaders and idols assassinated, and attempts on their lives. A large number of us are still active, engaged with the world, and have many productive years ahead of us.
Older women are still seen as weak
During the campaign, Hillary Clinton (a Baby Boomer) was diagnosed with pneumonia. She caught a cold or suffered from allergies and it turned into something serious. Her timing sucked, but she’s human like the rest of us. Both candidates walked through crowds of people every day and flew in airplanes. Someone sneezed, she got sick and her health became front page news. Sure, she needed to rest but she didn’t die and got better. Her medical team was on top of it.
This gave Trump (a little older than a Baby Boomer) a chance to accuse her of lying about her condition. Would you announce you aren’t feeling well if you were a female Presidential candidate going up against a macho gorilla of an opponent who jumps at the chance of calling you a fragile woman?
Hillary also fainted. I can relate to that. Dr. Jon LaPook, from CBS News, believed she had a vasovagal response. That’s when your blood pressure suddenly drops and you pass out. It isn’t a dangerous condition unless you fall and hit your head. She could be from sitting or standing too long but most likely it was caused by dehydration. As Presidential candidates, on the go all day, it’s easy to forget to drink water. President George H. W. Bush threw up on the Prime Minister of Japan and fainted but no one thought he was unfit for office.
Fried chicken in a bucket
Trump isn’t the perfect physical specimen either. At the time of the election, he was 70 years old, on the pudgy side, with a type A personality. His favorite meal is fried chicken from a bucket. It’s hard to be healthy when your diet is mostly fat and cholesterol-heavy foods. Bill Clinton used to have a passion for McDonald’s until he developed heart problems and became a vegan.
Both had more stamina than most normal people
Clinton and Trump flew across the country and spoke in front of crowds daily and were prime examples that Baby Boomers are just as tough as anyone else. Flying is challenging at any age but especially over 50. The chances of developing a pulmonary embolism from sitting on a plane for hours is something we all have to think about. If they were smart they both wore their compression socks.
Speaking and brain power
Can you imagine getting up in front of a crowd to deliver a customized speech multiple times a day? Politicians have to think on their feet and keep their cool when reporters, opponents, and dissenters grill them endlessly. I can imagine it’s a Herculean feat just to keep their blood pressure at bay.
Don’t give us the menopause excuse
Hillary Clinton had to leave the 9/11 conference because she was overheated. The press went wild and her opponents made fun of her being menopausal. A friend remarked, “As women, we have hot flashes. Big deal! We have a drink of water, and continue on with our day.”
Baby Boomers aren’t too old and aren’t done yet
To the younger generation: We may be on Medicare but as long as we’re still learning and at full capacity, Baby Boomers can still do anything we want, and do it well.
Do you think Baby Boomers are too old to lean and should leave politics or leadership to those who are younger? Please leave a comment below, and be nice.