Happy Birthday In Heaven

My GrandparentsPoppa and Nana

Dear Grandpa,

I write you this letter on your birthday. I hope you’re enjoying it up in heaven. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I miss you. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about you and miss you.

I miss hearing your voice on the other end of the phone when you and Nana would call on my birthday. I miss hearing you say “how are you doing squirt?” or when I would come to visit with my family you saying “where’s my squirt? Come give me a hug.” I especially miss you saying “did you get me anything,” when Nana and I would go out grocery shopping knowing full well we always did.

I miss walking into your house and the first thing we would see is you rising out of your chair to see who came through the door. You sitting in your chair was my fondest memory. You also yelling at the Yankees as if you were their coach when they made a bad play or didn’t do something right.

Holidays just aren’t the same without you and Nana making the rounds to visit all of us. Those were the days I could tell how much you loved all of us, how much– family meant to you. Your face would always light up every time you looked at your family. I could tell that you were so proud of the family you raised. You’d joke with everyone, and make everyone feel like they were the center of attention, you would give each of us your undivided attention and that meant so much to me.

The annual family camping trip just isn’t the same without you and Nana driving up around mid morning with fresh bread and oysters for our big cookout that afternoon that would usually go until 10 or 11 o’clock at night.

Most of all I miss the sleepovers and the stories of the old Troy days, I miss your perfect bear hugs, that were tight but not too tight, so warm, and perfect… I could seriously go for a few right now. I seriously miss sitting on your lap because I knew I had the best seat in the house.

There are so many things I wish you were still here for, like my brother’s upcoming wedding. My wedding (whenever that may be) I had planned to have a dance with you as well as my dad because you both have raised the bar so high for any man who comes along. I wish you were here to meet my kids (whenever I have them).

Even now that we are approaching the two year anniversary of your passing it is still hard to believe you are gone just like that. But someday I will proudly tell my children all about how amazing their great-grandpa is, and was.

You were so kind, caring, loving, and supportive. You were also so gentle. You were a giant teddy bear.

Every single day I wish I could call you and hear your voice call me squirt, or get one more bear hug from you but I know that will never be enough, I wish I could tell you about what has been going on in my life, but I know that you are looking down on all of us and you already know what is going on and keeping us safe. You are and were one of the strongest and toughest men I knew, because you fought all the way to the end. The love you had for Nana and the rest of the family was awe-inspiring. I hope to one day have a family of my own, filled with the love you had for Nana.

Thank your for being such an amazing grandpa. I can and will never replace you or forget the memories we have shared, or the stories you have told, I will treasure them forever. Thank you for being such an amazing role model. I love you and miss you every day, my guardian angel.

Love you always,

Your Squirt

Congress Needs Term Limits, or At Least, Age Limits

There are currently 14 octogenarians in the U.S. Congress. That’s a little over 3% of Congressmen. Of those 14, however, are some of the most powerful names in both the U.S. House and Senate.

  • Nancy Pelosi, the current Speaker of the House, is 81-years-old
  • Mitch McConnell, the current Senate Minority Leader, is 80-years-old.

There are even a few pushing 90, including:

  • Chuck Grassley (age 88)
  • Dianne Feinstein (age 88)

Ol’ Chuck even plans to run for reelection, where if he wins and serves out his term, he’ll be 94.

Dianne is in the middle of a term that will take her to age 92 by the time she finishes.

Don’t get me wrong, I respect and revere elder statesmen. The wisdom they can impart and the experiences they can draw from are unmatched in the population.

But governing requires energy and fresh perspectives. It also demands freedom from conflicts of interest, which I’m not confident someone has after 40+ years in government.

People should rarely if not even be driving in their late 80s let alone governing.


Age Limits

In a country of ~330 million, the United States has a deep pool of potential candidates. Yet the same people stay in Washington D.C. forever.

This current Congress is one of the oldest on record. Half of the U.S. Senate is 65 years or older. The House is not much younger.

Age of Congress

We have maximum age limits in many other parts of society, so this should not be controversial. Here are some examples:

  • Pilots — they have to give up their wings at age 65
  • Military — age 28 (Marines) to 39 depending on branch

Certain U.S. states even impose maximum age limits for judges and politicians (generally set at age 70).

Other countries have similar limits for judges and politicians, including:

  • Australia — age 70 for judges on federal courts
  • Brazil — age 70 for all public servant
  • Canada — age 70 or 75 for judges (depending on court) and 75 for federal senators

So while I do not profess to know the exact age limit for Congressmen, I know there needs to be one. Chuck, Dianne, and others should be enjoying their glory years and giving someone else a turn at captaining the ship.


Term Limits

Not only is Chuck Grassley 88-years-old, but he’s worked in Congress since 1975. As of 2022, that’s 47 years in Washington D.C. It’s time, Chuck.

The same can be said about President Joe Biden who has worked in Washington D.C. since 1973.

Regardless of political ideology, after decades spent in Washington even the most morally sound person can get too entwined in the district lifestyle of lobbyists and special interest groups.

Which is why term limits are necessary.

Incumbents have major advantages over any challengers, so relying on the standard democratic process is insufficient. Their financial advantages, in particular, give them a significant leg up over any other candidates.

Reasonable term limits would level the playing field and encourage fresh perspectives after a certain period of time.

Democracy runs on the fuel of bold ideas. It is hard to incentivize boldness in Congressmen who know their jobs are all but guaranteed. Fresh takes and challenges would only serve to strengthen America’s flailing democracy.

It might also encourage more Congressmen to put country over party.


Cleaning Up Congress

Term and age limits are not going to clean up Congress completely. There are rampant financial conflicts that should be easy to address, although it’s admittedly hard to get Congressmen to regulate themselves.

But term and age limits would mitigate conflicts and reasonably ensure new blood. No elected official should get too comfortable on their taxpayer-funded salary.

And octogenarians should be enjoying their lives, not engaging in the polarized battle that has become U.S. politics. Maybe a fresh group of candidates — actually willing to work with one another — is just what the country needs.