AR-02: Warning — May Contain Delusions Of Grandeur

    39

    Little-known fact: The AR-02 Democratic race features one candidate who compares favorably with some of the most important people in American and world history. I’m talking, of course, about Patrick Kennedy. On his Facebook page, Kennedy released a non-proofread statement that, under the umbrella of trying to fire people up about changing the world by voting for Kennedy, contained this nugget:

    [M]ore often than not, the blueprint of progress lies in the hands of our youngest visionaries.

    When my granddad ran for US Congress at a mere 30 years-old – and won[,] I might add – he’d remind people that Alexander Hamilton was George Washington’s chief of staff at 20. Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence at 33. William Pitt was England’s prime minister at 24 and the best prime minister England ever had. Alexander the Great conquered the world before 33 and was reported to have wept when he learned there was no more world left to conquer. Joan of Arc commanded the French army at 17, and Jesus Christ hung on the cross at Calvary at only the age of 33.

    You can’t get more powerful examples than these.

    First of all, that list contains all of six people. I hardly think you can term this “more often than not.” Perhaps “occasionally” or even “every once in a great while,” but certainly not “more often than not.”

    Second, while one might have a hard time coming up with more powerful examples of your pre-selected rare occurrence, one would also be hard-pressed to find examples less relevant to Kennedy’s situation. We are, after all, talking about someone running for elected office. However, Hamilton was appointed by Washington; Pitt was appointed by King George III; and Jefferson, Alexander the Great, Joan of Arc, and Jesus were not running for an office at all.

    Speaking of William Pitt, not only was he appointed to his office, but the average life expectancy around that time was just over 40 years, which is almost half of what it is in the U.S. today. The average lifespan for people during the times of Jesus, Joan of Arc, and Alexander the Great was even shorter.  So we’re not exactly comparing apples to apples here.

    Besides, this cuts both ways. Timothy McVeigh was just shy of his 27th birthday when he parked a bomb outside the Murrow Building in Oklahoma City. Charles Whitman was 25 when he climbed the clocktower at the University of Texas. Charles Manson was 34 during the Tate-LaBianca murders. Nero was only 27 when he began his systematic persecution of Christians, which included beheadings and being eaten by lions. King John, the worst king in English history according to most historians, was 32 when he took the throne.

    I think you get the point; age has little, if anything, to do with one’s capacity to be great or absolutely terrible, either as a leader or as a human being.  It is certainly not something that would suggest one way or the other whether a candidate deserves your vote.