Sorry, but that candidate’s just too old.
You know who I mean. Or maybe you don’t.
Maybe the candidate who triggered my “too old” bias during the recent Democratic presidential debates is the one you’re convinced is most qualified to steer our ship of state into a safe future.
And maybe the candidate who made you think “too old” is the one I found to be the smartest, best prepared and most alert. I’m talking about Elizabeth Warren, who at age 70 is as energetic as a world-class soccer player and as smart as a chess champ.
But I digress.
There’s nothing new in the question of how old is too old to be president, and the notion of “too old” has long been in the eye of the beholder.
What’s new in 2019 is that there are half a dozen Democratic candidates old enough to qualify for Medicare and three, like the current president, who are in their 70s.
What’s also new is that the age span between the oldest and youngest candidates is the largest it has been in modern history, from Pete Buttigieg, who’s 37, to Bernie Sanders, who’s 77.
The novelty alone makes age a talking point in the upcoming election. But in a world rife with ageism, is it fair to talk about the candidates’ ages?
“Absolutely,” said Dr. Jay Olshansky, professor of epidemiology at the University of Illinois at Chicago. “I’m not going to sugarcoat aging. Aging yields changes in physical and cognitive functioning, and the older you get, the higher the risk. There’s a reason we’re talking about this.”
The problem, however, is the way we talk about it, as if the number itself is a measure of ability.
Olshansky’s conclusion, based on his recent research: “Chronological age should not be a relevant criterion used to judge presidential candidates.”
Read the full article here.