What if you were afraid and angry all the time? You might have anxiety disorder. Or rage disorder. Or you might just be getting older.
Anxiety in young people tends to be transient. Nervousness about a test, a job interview, a date. There are clinical disorders that make even the young anxious all the time, but they are not the norm.
The same is true of anger. Young people get mad, but they don’t usually stay mad. They are wired to look forward. They are wired to be optimistic. Optimism and anger are not good roommates.
But when we get older, our future shrinks before our eyes. There are no longer endless possibilities. In fact, sometimes it can seem that there are no possibilities at all. Of course we get anxious as we watch our prospects dwindle. Of course we get angry.
The problem is, we also have a culture that reveres the wisdom of elders. Particularly elder men. Just look at the makeup of Congress. These are the old men with low testosterone blues. These are the men of diminished prospects. These are the men desperate to hang onto a world that is slipping away from them.
These are not the people who should be making our laws. We don’t need to ditch our seminal law, the Constitution, as a Georgetown law professor argued in an op-ed piece today, we need to ditch our lawmakers. We need to dump the grumpy old men in Congress who can’t seem to get anything done and replace them with young and hopeful men and women. The young are the ones who believe in the future. They are the ones who will live in it. They are the ones to whom we should entrust it.