Growing old need not be seen as a liability – yet for many people that’s exactly what happens. This is especially true of a significant percentage of the younger generation in today’s society.
Bill Maher recently addressed this issue in a classic rant on his HBO show Real Time.
“Ageism is the last acceptable prejudice in America,” Maher told his viewers. He came to this conclusion principally in response to the Democratic Party dismissing current California governor Jerry Brown as a viable presidential candidate fro 2016. Mr. Brown had made great strides in resurrecting the failing economy of California during his tenure, and seemed quite qualified to run for president.
“That accomplishment in this giant state would have Democrats hyping him for president, but they’re not, because he’s 76, and ageism is the last acceptable prejudice in America.” Maher said.
Maher also cited CNN’s decision to replace Larry King with Piers Morgan, who never sustained an audience anywhere near the size of King’s following. King was a master interviewer who had decades of experience in his field. Yet the network put him out to pasture and replaced him with a talk show host who proved to be ill-informed on many issues and seldom demonstrated a deep understanding of American culture or the subtleties of local politics. It’s telling that Larry King now has a successful program on the web, while Piers Morgan’s show has been cancelled.
Maher also used examples of people using their extensive experience to achieve greatness at advanced ages for their chosen fields. For example, Diana Nyad was 64 when she swam from Cuba to the shores of Florida. Get some inspiration from her Ted Talks. Tony Bennett is still going strong at 88, and is gaining a new following among younger fans.
Business people of all ages follow 84-year-old Warren Buffet’s every move with intense interest.
Maher summed up his rant with the conclusion that American culture no longer respects the elderly, and the value they bring to the arts, business and governing. He said: “Wisdom isn’t something you can just Google… governing is where we need wisdom.”
Images are screen shots from the RealTime video.