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Mocking McCain

Perturbed with how the senator's age has become the object of daily derision for commentators and comedians

By Roberto Dr. Cintli Rodriguez
Published on LatinoLA: August 21, 2008


Mocking McCain


There are three things regarding Sen. John McCain that are indisputable: he was a Prisoner of War for five years; he is a senator from Arizona running for president of the United States; and if he
wins, he will be the oldest American ever elected to that office.

On August 28, McCain turns 72.

I won't be drawn into the debate as to whether his experiences as a POW alone qualifies him to be president; however, what I will say is that because of his war experiences, he has unquestionably earned everyone's respect.

What I'm more perturbed with is how his age has become the object of daily derision for commentators and comedians of all stripes and political persuasions.

The disrespect being shown to this senator involves a non-stop mockery of his age and supposed feebleness. Truthfully, it is reflective of a culture that devalues and minimizes the contributions and wisdom of elders, while cynically catering to and venerating a purported eternal youth culture.

Whether one supports McCain or Obama is irrelevant for this discussion.

In regards to age, McCain is being treated as though he should be put out to pasture or simply be put out if his misery. For that matter, Obama is being treated as though he were still in diapers.

It is truly torturous to hear people disrespect either because of their age. But the barbs against McCain particularly sting because in this case, the mocking is coming from the liberal or progressive sectors of society that normally object to the mocking of people for any reason.

Make no mistake, for those who wish to vote against Sen. McCain, he gives plenty of reasons, but making fun of his age has no place in a civil society.

For those thinking I am or might be endorsing Sen. McCain ‘«Ű (I've never endorsed any politician) let me take it out of the political context. My own parents and other close relatives are in their 80s‘«™
and I continue to value their knowledge and wisdom. Enough said.

Thus, when I hear talk radio hosts or late-night comedians mocking McCain because of his age, I truly wonder what kind of relationship they have had with their own parents, grandparents or even
great-grandparents. Worse, what example are they giving in regards to how this society values its elders? In this society ‘«Ű there are seemingly no elders ‘«Ű just old geezers or old fogies ‘«Ű who in time are just corralled into nursing homes.

What explains this attitude and behavior: Hollywood or Madison Avenue?

Having been born in Mexico, I was raised to respect and value the knowledge and wisdom of elders. I was also raised to continue to honor and respect those who have come before us and passed on. Where I come from, elders are the first and last word. One finds this ethos among
Indigenous and traditional communities and cultures worldwide, including in these United States. For many of us, we live and breathe this daily ‘«Ű something generally missing from the broader culture here.

To see this senator disrespected in this manner perhaps helps to explain how others are similarly treated in this society; some are disrespected because of being disabled. Others because of their
religion, race/ethnicity or color, age, sex, or gender preferences. Many are dehumanized and perceived not to be genuine Americans ‘«Ű because they were born in another country or because they are "illegal aliens" ‘«Ű peoples seemingly less than human. This culture goes out of
its way to dehumanize as many people as possible. And there's always a good reason‘«™

This happens, I believe, because rather than standing up and saying no, instead of putting a stop to this disrespect of our fellow human beings, instead, we find someone else to dehumanize and subsequently rationalize our attitudes.

So it is with McCain's detractors; vote against him, but please do not disrespect him. Do not mock him. Do not use code words to hide your prejudices and foolishness. Worry about his age, if you must. Worry about his anger and his possible Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Most importantly, oppose him because of his policies, but do not ridicule him because of his age because just as surely as you mock him today, it is you that will one day also be mocked and treated as useless.

Likewise for Obama's detractors. Oppose him, vote and work against him, but do not ridicule or caricaturize him. Oh‘«™ knock it off and quit being childish about the anti-Christ thing. If I'm not mistaken, every president since Reagan has been accused of that one.

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