April 13, 2024

Valley Post

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I'm a handsome young man for the president!

I'm a handsome young man for the president!

“I'm young and handsome,” declared a jovial Joe Biden. Clearly making room as voices in the United States rise and debate opens up more about the participation of senior politicians. As the two main candidates for the 2024 presidential election, Trump and Biden, pass the record retirement age, science says there are advantages and disadvantages to having older leaders. Joe Biden is 81 years old. Donald Trump is 77 years old.

A limit, if there is one, is sought to ensure that a politician undertaking the world's toughest job, such as the current US president, will have the brakes, sound judgment, clarity, decision-making ability and luck to stave off the inevitable. . degeneration. The American political landscape is criticized from within for its “gerontocracy” and is considered “obsolete” by rivals within the party.

But the truth is that both of them achieved achievement in an era that deifies youth and hides the age difference in daily reality. Biden may be 81 and counting, but the average lifespan of a senator is 64.3 years — the longest in American history.

A largely divided American public agrees: Politicians are simply too big. It doesn't always have its downsides. “What happens with older brains is they get better at what is called crystallized intelligence,” says Rose McDermott, a political psychologist at Brown University.

We are with Rose, lovers of crystallized wisdom. “You have these established patterns and ways of thinking about things. You'll be able to integrate new information into existing structures more easily and in many cases more creatively than when you were younger, because you're not 'sitting' on the same 'knowledge base.'

The Guardian points out that aging does not automatically mean a decline in abilities, noting that there are elderly people who have memory and brain capacity similar to a twenty-year-old person. However, public opinion does not agree with the equation, as eighty equals four twenty-year-olds. A CBS News poll found that nearly three in four Americans (73%) believe there should be an age limit for elected officials. Seven-in-ten Democrats (71%) agree, as do three-quarters of Republicans and independents.

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Of particular interest is the fact that the youngest group in the survey – aged 18-29 – is the least supportive of upper age limits (68%), while three-quarters of all other age groups support them.

The 81-year-old Biden addressed the youth with the attractive phrase “young and beautiful.” It's the campaign website he opened his $30 million campaign with, poking fun at his age. All the spotlight is on him, waiting for him to either stumble or confuse the names of presidents and countries. In his first campaign presentation, he wanted to reassure the anxious. He said that he is not young, and this is not a secret, but he has the knowledge necessary to work for the benefit of the American people and he has proven that in the past. He was the one who led the United States through the dramatic coronavirus crisis.

The Wall Street Journal recently asked American college students, especially law and journalism schools, about the phenomenon of aging and aging politicians. Many students see “fixed” armchair political professionals as the cause of “gerontopia.” A large percentage believes that many elderly politicians want to remain active, because in this way they believe they are exorcising their souls, because they are surrounded by friends and acquaintances, who as soon as they retire say goodbye to this frivolous world.

One student, Timothy, has another approach. The press should avoid even raising the issue of age to avoid age discrimination.

There are 90-year-olds getting college degrees and starting businesses, and there are 60-year-olds rotting in an armchair watching reruns of I Love Lucy for the 96th time. A young politician's age should not be used as a weapon to question his competence, just as an elderly politician's age should not be used as a weapon to question his competence.

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Even simply stating a candidate's age, presented as fact, can cause harm to the public and should be avoided. Except for a candidate who meets the minimum age required by law to serve in office, a candidate's age may not be referred to by the press or by an opponent, unless the candidate himself raises the issue. Just as a criminal defendant's medical conditions cannot be examined in court unless the defendant mentions them, age must be protected to begin removing ageism from our conversations. These are Timothy's views.

In contrast, a New York Times poll conducted in collaboration with Siena College found that only 23% of Democratic primary voters said they were enthusiastic about President Biden's candidacy. 45% said Biden should not be the party's nominee.

Yes, voters overwhelmingly believe Biden is too old to run for another term. He looks old, walks like a grandfather, and doesn't look as sharp as he used to. Any attempt by the White House to reverse this image has failed.

If there should be a maximum age for office, what could it be? The most popular answer among the options given in the CBS poll was 70, with 4 in 10 Americans choosing that age. One in 4 (26%) said 60 should be the minimum age to hold elected office, while 18% said 80 should be the minimum age.

Trump and Biden are among the top three men to ever serve as president. For 140 years, William Henry Harrison held the record as the oldest elected president ever, until Ronald Reagan came along. Harrison was a relatively powerful 68 years old when he took office in 1841, and Reagan was 69 years old when he was first inaugurated in 1981.

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When Reagan left office at the age of 77, he was the oldest politician ever to serve as president. Trump left office at the age of 74, making him the third-oldest person to hold office, behind Reagan and Biden.

Biden and Trump are not the only elderly leaders in the United States. This is a trend shared by both parties: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, is 72 years old, and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, is 81 years old. Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley was just re-elected, is 90 years old, and has no plans to retire. Independent Senator Bernie Sanders is 81 years old and has not indicated retirement.

In the House of Representatives, former Speaker Nancy Pelosi, 83, has just announced that she will seek re-election to her full 19th term. Republican Harold Rogers of Kentucky and Democrat Maxine Waters of California are both 85 years old. Democrat Steny Huger of Maryland is 84 years old. Two other Democrats, Pickcrell and Norton, are 86 years old. The list goes on, and none of these politicians have announced their retirement.

A few years ago, a pharmacist in the Capitol District made headlines when he revealed that he was filling prescriptions for Alzheimer's medications to members of Congress. Each of the 20 oldest members of Congress is at least 80 years old, making it the third-oldest House and Senate since 1789.

Is it wrong then for the contemporary politician, full of ideas and plans, Stefanos Manos, to say that if the 81-year-old Biden is running for a second term in the White House, then the whole future is ahead of him as well?