Titus 2:1-8 is one of my ideals for society – a society where we learn from our elders and where we humbly listen to what they have to say. I long for relationships with older women in my church who can help guide me in loving my husband and children, being self-controlled and pure, working at home and being kind and submissive to my husband. The Bible is clear that our elders are not to be disregarded and that they have much to offer us.
I must admit that I have often felt frustrated at opinions that sometimes feel as though they come from people with age on their side. But perhaps it is because they have age on their side that they also have wisdom on their side. Perhaps they were once tempestuous and impatient like me! And perhaps I would do well to listen and learn. And I am trying to; and by the grace of God I hope that I am growing in humility and getting better at it.
Consequently, I am really quite amazed at some of the anger aimed towards our elders after the referendum vote. Talks of high elderly turnout swinging the vote, and the suggestion that this is somehow unfair because they only have to live with the decision for 16 years. Either we are a democracy, or we are not. And if we are, every vote is equally valid and respected. Regardless of age. Or gender. Or sexual orientation. Or political opinion. Or religion.
Now, personally, I’d love to see a voting system where there is no minimum age and votes are accepted based on some kind of gauge of understanding of the issues. But, of course, this isn’t going to happen.
So here’s the thing. These ‘old people’ who are going to die soon, who have “destroyed our country” for future generations – some of them fought for your freedom and the freedom of future generations. Some of them lost fathers and brothers for your freedom. They have lived life both in and out of the EU. They have watched Prime Minsters and governments come and go. They have lived through many economic hardships. The possibility of not being able to freely travel through Europe as students or on road trips is lamented and blamed on elderly voters: elderly voters who had no opportunity for higher education and only travelled through Europe to offer their lives for your freedom.
Perhaps we could offer them a little respect. Perhaps we could stop suggesting that their vote is in some way less worthy because of their age. And perhaps we could stop directing anger at them on social media, where many of them have no means of defending themselves.