The U.S. currently has the oldest ruling political class in the history of the country. Joe Biden is 79 years old, the oldest president ever, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is 81, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is 79. Sens. Diane Feinstein and Chuck Grassley are both 88.
Baby Boomers get a lot of shit these days, but the politicians on our list aren’t even Boomers. Every one of these people is from the Silent Generation, born between 1928 and 1945.
Elderly people have plenty of valuable things to contribute to society. Age alone isn’t an issue. But when your country is completely run by millionaires in their 80s, it creates a warped sense of priorities. And good things can seem impossible simply because they were never tried in the eight decades leading up to 2022.
Today, we’re taking a look at some technologies older than many politicians in America’s gerontocracy, to help put it into context. If you’re older than radar technology, which was invented in 1935, maybe you should take your millions and consider retiring rather than throwing around snowballs to “disprove” global warming.
Diane Feinstein Is Older Than the Parking Metre
Sen. Diane Feinstein, a Democrat from California who’s reportedly worth at least $US58 ($81) million, was born on June 22, 1933, just a few months after Franklin D. Roosevelt was first sworn in as president. A cup of coffee was 20 cents ($0.28), and the parking metre was still two years away from being introduced.
The first parking metre was installed in Oklahoma City on July 16, 1935, in an effort to tame the city’s parking woes. Previously, when parking was free on any city street, it caused chaos and overwhelmed neighbourhoods that weren’t built for an influx of cars. But that was a relatively new problem that arrived with the automobile.
Chuck Grassley Is Older Than Canned Beer
Sen. Chuck Grassley, a Republican from Iowa, was born on September 17, 1933, right along with something that you probably take for granted in your daily life. Grassley is older than beer in cans at 88 years old.
Beer, which traditionally came in kegs or bottles, was first put into cans in 1933, though canned beer wasn’t first introduced to the public until 1935.
Grassley is perhaps known to younger people for his often bizarre tweets about the History Channel, and true works of art like, PantsBurnLegWound from 2009. We say Grassley should keep tweeting. But maybe retire the political career so that some younger blood can take the reins. Maybe let someone who’s 87 years old take the job.
Richard Shelby Is Older Than Nylon
Sen. Richard Shelby, a Republican from Alabama, was born on May 6, 1934, the year before nylon was developed.
Nylon was first synthesized in 1935, but it didn’t make its public debut as nylon stockings until the New York World’s Fair in 1939. And it’s a little weird to think Shelby was even born before the 1939 Fair, which featured the public debut of another incredibly popular technology: broadcast television.
Shelby announced he’ll not seek re-election in 2022. And that’s a relief.
Sen. Jim Inhofe Is Older Than Radar
Sen. Jim Inhofe, a Republican from Oklahoma, was born on November 17, 1934, a year before the invention of radar in 1935 by Scottish physicist Robert Watson-Watt.
Inhofe once brought a snowball onto the floor of the U.S. Senate in 2015 during an infamous effort to “disprove” climate change. But all Inhofe proved was that maybe men in their 80s should hang up their hats and enjoy a nice retirement.
Nancy Pelosi Is Older Than Aerosol Spray Cans
Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California, the current Speaker of the House, was born on March 26, 1940, a year before the aerosol spray can was invented in 1941 and first used by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1943.
Pelosi, who’s reportedly worth an estimated $US46 ($64) million, was first elected to Congress in 1987, two years before her fellow Democrat, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, was even born. And while Pelosi has been an obstructionist on countless issues, plenty of younger Democrats wish she’d just retire already.
Patrick Leahy Is Older Than the Aqualung
Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont was born on March 31, 1940, just a few years before a revolutionary invention that would open up the ocean to new kinds of exploration.
Modern scuba diving equipment technology, known as the aqualung, was invented in France in 1943 by Jacques Cousteau and Emile Gagnan, though it wouldn’t go on sale in the U.S. until 1952.
Underwater diving equipment for breathing was invented in the 19th century, but it wasn’t until the 1940s that a so-called demand open-circuit design was conceived and tested successfully. Earlier versions returned the expelled breathing gas to the diver, filtering out the carbon dioxide. But the aqualung only delivered gas when it was needed, and expelled the exhaled breath to the diver’s surroundings rather than recycling it needlessly to the user.
Bernie Sanders Is Older Than the Digital Computer
Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Democrat from Vermont, was born on September 8, 1941, predating not just the hulking IBM computers of the 1950s that would become popularised in TV and movies, like the 1957 film Desk Set. Sanders predates the earliest digital computers ever made.
Work began on the first automatic electronic digital computer in 1937, but it wasn’t until 1942 that the Atanasoff–Berry computer made history. While the Atanasoff-Berry wasn’t programmable, the Colossus would become the first programmable computer in December of 1943. The ENIAC, the first general purpose computer, would make its debut just a couple of years later in 1945. Sanders is older than all three, of course.
Mitch McConnell Is Older Than Duct Tape
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, was born on February 20, 1942.
Duct tape was invented in 1942 after a woman named Vesta Stoudt, who had two sons serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II, wrote to President Franklin D. Roosevelt with an idea for a new type of tape to seal gun boxes. Surprisingly, Roosevelt passed the idea along to Johnson & Johnson, which was tasked with creating the new cloth-based tape.
Joe Biden Is Older Than Dialysis
President Joe Biden, a Democrat from Delaware, was born on November 20, 1942, making him older than a technology used by people around the globe. The first dialysis machine, known at the time as the artificial kidney, was successfully used in 1943, just shortly after Biden came into being.
Biden became the oldest president in U.S. history when he was sworn in on January 20, 2021. And if he runs for a second term in 2024, he could extend the record. Biden will be 82 if he’s sworn in again in 2025.
And if neo-fascist former president Donald Trump tries to run again in 2024, he’s not doing much better. Trump would be 78 years old if he won in 2024 and got a non-consecutive second term. God help us all.