How old is too old to be president?
Wait, wait. Don't rush into this. Before you answer, let me remind you of what I have reported here dozens of times:
Babies' development can be predicted to the week. If she/he has not taken a first step or said a first word by a specified week of life, it's probably time to check with a pediatrician.
The other end of of life, however, is highly unpredictable. Some people's intellectual capabilities are compromised by age 50. Others sail into their eighth, ninth and even tenth decades while carrying on the work and interests they have always had, or taking on new ones.
So (discounting heavy physical labor), there is no date, no particular age at which a person can be labeled too old to work.
We complain about that here all the time, the rejection of job applicants based on whether they look like an interviewer's parent. It's called ageism and it begins to show up at a remarkably early age – about 40 for men and 35 for women and increases from there.
Nevertheless, growing old is not without intellectual consequence. We often laugh at ourselves about forgetting words – even whole concepts we were trying to talk about; aches and pains that wear down our mental and physical stamina throughout the day; and general slowing down we all recognize in ourselves.
Of the people currently in the running for U.S. president, Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden have been most frequently attacked for being too old for the job. As The Hill reported:
”Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Monday rebuffed criticism that he is 'too old' to seek the presidency, challenging critics to 'follow' him on the campaign trail.
“'It’s not whether you’re young, it’s not whether you’re old; it’s what you believe in,' Sanders said during a town hall event hosted by Fox News.”
Here are the ages of some of the people running for president. I've not listed them all because – well, it's just absurd how many think they are presidential material. Numbers are each person's age on election day 2020.
Bernie Sanders – 79
Joe Biden - 77
Donald Trump – 74
Elizabeth Warren – 71
Jay Inslee – 69
Amy Klobuchar – 60
Kamala Harris – 56
Cory Booker – 51
Beto O'Roarke – 48
Pete Buttigieg – 38
Those who want a younger president often argue that people keep growing even older year by year after an election and may die in office. Others like to argue that anyone can die unexpectedly at any age (just ask John F. Kennedy).
I'm with the second group on that question, but any old person knows intimately how much most of us slow down, tire easily, make jokes about our C.R.A.F.T. difficulties (“Can't Remember A Fucking Thing).
I want my president to be at the top of his intellectual capabilities.
Even so, I would vehemently oppose a cutoff age for presidential candidacy. They may be few, but people who maintain their mental acuity well into old age are out there and I don't see Bernie Sanders nor any of the other older candidates fumbling for words the way I do.
Now it's your turn. What do you think?