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You're only as old ...

   I try to be an open-minded person, not judging people by factors and traits that do not really matter.

   But when it comes to Barack Obama, I just can't help myself. I do feel a prejudicial bone in my body. NoPresident_Official_Portrait_HiRes matter how hard I have tried, no matter how much I try to brush it aside or chide myself for such small-minded thinking, I just can't get over the fact that the president of the United States is, for the first time.. He is just flat out .. Gee, how to say it?

   Oh, out with it man!

   OK. OK. Barack Obama is the first president of the United States who is younger than I am.

   There. I said it.

   Today is Obama's birthday. He's all of 49 years old, born on this date in 1961 in [really] Honolulu, Hawaii.
   I know this because, in addition to the general news coverage, the date is a handy excuse for a political fundraiser, to which I and a few million other close family friends have been invited.
   But maybe I'm not that much older. On this date in 1961, I was glorying through the last summer of my pre-school youth before starting kindergarten at North Ward School in McCook, Neb.
   Two of my three younger siblings had not yet been born. Of course, they are all grown up, too. In fact, I sometimes have a feeling that they are now older than I am. The way presidents always used to be.
   One is the principal of a public elementary school. Another is on a school board. Not pursuits you imagine being fulfilled by people you remember as tykes. The other one, the one who had been born in 1961, is an expat artist and teacher. So maybe he'll stay younger than I am forever.

   Anyway, into my cloud of self-pity this morning marched Ed Koch, former mayor of New York City, Koch promoting his New York Uprising campaign to clean up state politics.
   Part of his much-needed narrative is that, at 85 years of age, the long-time politician has some knowledge of the way the system works, the ways it is broken, some chits to call in and the name recognition to get some ink and pixels wherever he goes.
   He mentioned that his political life began in 1956 -- the year I was born -- as a streetcorner speaker on behalf of Adlai Stevenson.
   This old bird's still sharp and active.
   And, in a way, younger than I am.
   Sigh.

-- George Pyle/The Buffalo News

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Behind the News | Current Affairs
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