Don’t Mix Politics and Age

by Jeff Weiss

About 15 years ago, my wife and I were hosting a small dinner party with two other couples. The food was delicious, the wine was flowing and all was good……until we mistakenly turned the conversation to politics. Unbeknownst to us at the time, one couple were staunch Democrats while the other fully backed the Republicans. So much for our fun party and a solid lesson learned by my wife and me.

Times have certainly changed and so have our friends who are more eager than ever to share their views on the current state of government and our politicians. They have a need to discuss and sometimes vent and it is easy to find others who are willing participants, as long as they follow the same party lines. Unfortunately, we have also witnessed a darker side in which long-time friendships have suffered and sometimes crumbled due to differences of opinion and split support for the two main political parties in America.

Most of our friends are Active Agers who have seen enough in their lifetime to know that voting is a privilege and something that should not be taken lightly. Many have disagreed with decisions made by elected officials only to realize that they didn’t cast a ballot in the last election and now have to live with the consequences of their inaction. With only themselves and others like them to blame, they fully understand the importance of marking boxes in support of those who share their priorities and values. And they take the time to understand their choices before they vote.

Getting younger voters out on Election Day has always been an issue. In the last election, only 46% of those between the ages of 18-29 voted, compared to 71% of eligible voters 65+. An increase in younger voter turnout could have dramatic effects on the outcome of an election and many efforts have been made to make this happen, most met with little success.

The latest effort was recently put forth by Acronym, an organization formed last year that’s dedicated to getting Democratic candidates elected. The group recently released a series of videos basically aimed at scaring millennials into voting this year. Here is the full spot if you haven’t yet seen it:


While some millennials may find this dark humor funny and even get them out to vote, I find the ad overly offensive. And just to be clear, this isn’t because of my view on politics and political parties (as I know not to mix politics and business). Creating an ad that so blatantly promotes ageism is just wrong. To suggest that the views of those in the ad are widely held by Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation is nonsense and paints a picture of older consumers that is way off the mark. Dividing a country even further based on age is the last thing we need!

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