How old is too old?

To the editor:

I am at an age where I often have to hunt for my keys. I have not found them in the freezer yet, but I wonder…?

Politics aside, perhaps one of the reasons our federal government suffers from colossal gridlock and dis-function has to do with Father Time.

Playing Devil’s Advocate: Would our pickle taste better if we prohibited folks — pick your numbers — over the age of 68 from running for a first term as President, as well as easing the Senate Majority Leader and the Speaker of the House out to pasture at age 75?

Our current Lone Ranger President, whatever you think of him, at 72 relies way too much on “Executive Time” and dangerously heating an already boiling pot, unable to learn new tricks.

Would he have done better in his 50s or 60s?

Reagan was a sharp, creative, hands-on leader in his first term, with mental slippage evident in the second…

I worry about electing a President Joe Biden or President Bernie Sanders who would turn 80 in a first term.

But we benefit from having seasoned elders in our government. A recent example was the late patriot, John McCain. Their accumulated wisdom needs to be available and heard. Many learn how to get things done by interaction and compromise with people riding different horses. Also they will have had the humbling experience of being wrong, out-flanked and eating crow a time or two, leading to respect for their protagonists.

Maybe nobody but Nancy Pelosi has the skills and weapons honed over decades to hold together her herd of cats in the House spitting at the extremes, and bring them to the middle for critical compromises — we hope. Neither John Boehner nor Paul Ryan had much luck de-fanging the Tea Party in similar circumstances when they were in charge, younger than the lady from San Francisco.

Still, we generally become less resilient and more stubborn as we age. We may see winning that last fight and taking no prisoners to be critical for our legacy — damn the consequences. Should our most powerful federal executive and legislative leadership positions be in the hands of people young enough the live with those consequences?

Personally, I prefer voting for people with birth dates after 1950 to fill our most critical elected positions.

Tom Runholt

Marshall

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