"Get of my lawn, you assholes!"
No, this is not the angry old man, John McCain. Nor is it the Clint Eastwood character in Gran Torino.
Ironically, it is Alan K. Simpson, former Wyoming Senator and famous participant of the Simpson-Bowles grand compromise. With the passing of years comes wisdom...and distance from the stupid shit we'd like to forget:
Simpson had several run-ins with the law during his youth. A "friend of the Court" brief filed before the United States Supreme Court in the juvenile imprisonment cases Graham v. Florida and Sullivan v. Florida states:The dude is 81 years old now. His relevance in the modern era is long, long past. The last time this fossil held elective office was 15 years ago. And even then, he was long past his "sell by" date.
In Simpson’s words to this Court, “I was a monster.”
One day in Cody, Wyoming, when Simpson was in high school, he and some friends “went out to do damage.” They went to an abandoned war relocation structure and decided to “torch” it. They committed arson on federal property, a crime now punishable by up to twenty years in prison if no one is hurt, and punishable by up to life in prison if the arson causes a person’s death. Luckily for Simpson, no one was injured in the blaze.
Simpson not only played with fire, but also with guns. He played a game with his friends in which they shot at rocks close to one another, at times using bullets they stole from the local hardware store. The goal of the game was to come as close as possible to striking someone without actually doing so. Again, Simpson was lucky: no one was killed or seriously injured.
Simpson and his friends went shooting throughout their community. They fired their rifles at mailboxes, blowing holes in several and killing a cow. They fired their weapons at a road grader. “We just raised hell,” Simpson says. Federal authorities charged Simpson with destroying government property and Simpson pleaded guilty. He received two years of probation and was required to make restitution from his own funds – funds that he was supposed to obtain by holding down a job.
... As he [Simpson] has described it, “The older you get, the more you realize . . . your own attitude is stupefying, and arrogant, and cocky, and a miserable way to live.”
So why do we really care what this non-combat veteran has to say now?
Because he's decrepitly old and was around when JFK was alive? Because he represented a state that has more cattle than people? Where the wind blows unceasingly making the inhabitants somewhat unstable?
Alan Simpson was a self-admitted asshole in his youth, but apparently reformed as a Senator, (that's a first!).
God bless him, but people in their 80's should not be dictating our fiscal future. His time is well past.
And the folks who champion Simpson-Bowles are also well beyond their prime...and have no idea about what this new era means.
As a middle aged white man, even I know it's well past the time to break with our stultified past.
The new generations are smarter, and much more well informed.
People like my teenaged daughter are the future. Not some ossified relic like Alan K. Simpson.