Calling out ageism

Mark Segal

From Philadelphia Gay News: Last Sunday on one of those morning news talk shows, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker was asked about Hillary Clinton's possible candidacy for president. He responded: "People want to look to the future, we don't want to go back in time."

To me, that is pure and simple ageism.

Let's get this elephant out of the room. What he's attempting to do is say that Clinton is old, and an "older" person in office would take us back into the past, not the future. Outrageous, and I say again, ageist.

And if you're not sure what ageism is, think along the lines of racism, anti-Semitism, a simple hate or willingness to discriminate or, in this case, degrade someone who is older simply for his or her age.

There's another way this same ageist argument comes from younger politicians. The line goes, "It's time for the older officials to make room for the next generation." In other words, maybe they should retire to allow those of a younger generation to get that job. Would that be called job discrimination? The only thing disqualifying them from the job is age?

Of course, then you'll find those same young politicians telling senior voters that they want to hear about the issues of concern to them in an attempt to get their votes.

In this case, the funny thing is that Walker most likely supports ideas that would take us back to 1950 — with his anti-labor, women's health, LGBT and immigration positions.

Here's an action point, at least for me. From today forward, I refuse to allow a public official to treat an older citizen in this fashion. If I hear it I'll yell ageism, or if I know they're speaking, I'll have a picket sign ready.

The hypocrisy is that such a line was never used when someone like Ronald Reagan was running. You might not like Hillary Clinton, but don't use her age as an excuse. If you do, you offend all older people.

Mark Segal, PGN publisher, is the nation's most-award-winning commentator in LGBT media. You can follow him on Facebook at or Twitter at

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