What is it lately with all the political geezers who seem to think they're going to live forever? When did "retirement" become such an alien concept? I have ranted before about the most recent crop of Presidential candidates -- Clinton, Trump, Sanders -- insisting on running for office when in a sane world they would have admitted that they were in that age category where the smart thing to do is slow down a little. End result? We're stuck with a President-elect who's 70 years old and, given the pressures of the office and his remarkably unhealthy life style, is not likely to survive to run again. But, okay, I can halfway understand baby boomers like Tump and Clinton doing the "I'm going to live forever" fantasy. It's the favorite self-delusion of boomers everywhere.
But when does that delusion cut off and reality start to creep in? For the past month or so former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has been a regular on the evening news. The man is notorious nationally for his abuses of the judicial system -- he's played on anti-Mexican sentiments for years by focusing a lot more on chasing undocumented aliens than on having his deputies investigate serious crime. And for years it worked with Maricopa County voters. He was re-elected multiple times and became the longest serving sheriff in Maricopa County history. And then he lost.
Arpaio has obviously had a hard time letting go. Like I said, he's been on the news a lot talking about how Arizona hasn't seen the last of him, he's giving a lot of thought to running for other political offices in the future, retirement just isn't in the cards for him, and so on. Lots of blathering on about how involved he's still going to be in public life. The kicker? The man is 84 years old. Eighty-four! Okay, he's reasonably spry for his age and doesn't appear obviously unhealthy, but still. . . 84!
The Social Security Administration has a set of actuarial tables that give life expectancies for whatever age you happen to be now. The data is a couple years old, but I doubt if things have changed much. A man who was 84 in 2013 had a 50% chance of living to be 90 -- because life expectancy means that half your age cohort will die before then. If you knew that the odds were that you had less than 6 years to live, would you waste it eating bad chicken at fund-raising dinners while trying to cling some vestige of relevancy? Apparently politicians will.
Someone really needs to tell some of these geezers that the Billy Joe Shaver song refers to becoming a cherished memory and not the life they're living now.