The point illustrates something important about our society today, and our politics.
Because David Bowie was never too old to rock and roll, and he was too young to die. (Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull, who wrote that lyric, is 68 and currently on tour – we have tickets.) Paul McCartney is still rocking at 73. Bob Dylan is 75 and still writing songs. I guess 70 is the new 60. (Which is good because I turned 61 last week.)
When older players refuse the leave the stage, it can be hard for a younger one to shine. That may not be true in arenas like music or sports, but it is definitely true in politics. Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton is only a few months younger than Bowie. Her opponent, Bernie Sanders, is 74. Republicans can’t complain because their front-runner, Donald Trump, is 70. For those old enough to remember the issue of Ronald Reagan’s health in 1980, it’s a sea change.
It’s not entirely welcome, either. One thing a generational crisis should do is wipe previous history off the political map. Lincoln and Douglas didn’t debate the War of 1812. But 1968 is just as far removed from 2016 as 1812 was from 1860. Clinton and Trump could well try to re-legislate Vietnam. Both were active way back then.