I am in my early seventies, relatively healthy and vigorous, and have many friends the same age and older. We are undoubtedly marvels of this age, a growing segment of elders never experienced by previous generations and civilizations. But I am not what I was even ten years ago, certainly not what I was in my prime middle age. In spite of their frequent protestations to the contrary, neither are my peers. Among other things, we have much less energy, are far more rigid in our beliefs and outlooks, and react badly to the unexpected. I do not find us wiser than anyone else.
While there are lots of examples of bad young political leaders, it only takes a moment to remember some of the worst who aged badly _ Hindenburg, Mao, Louis XIV. In general, especially in perilous times, I would prefer to have a younger person in charge. As presidents go, we frequently forget that Washington was 57, Lincoln 52, F. Roosevelt 51, Eisenhower 62 when they took office.
And now, in a maelstrom of environmental, technical, and social upheaval, the gods are offering us a motley assembly of ancient crones.
Trump is a cackling old crazy uncle, charming with outrageous tales that everyone can ignore, waxing more extreme by the day, only caring that people tell him how great he is because he has done so much. Biden sits as somnolent paterfamilias, trying to hold the family together by reminiscing about days gone by. Warren is the ancient harridan, raving like Cassandra about doom and repentance. Sanders rants like any mad disheveled pensioner on a soapbox in a city park.
Ageism in leaders should be taken into account. Although nobody wants to hear it, old people are not young people. Old people are not adapted to the perils of a rapidly changing world. It is time that fact was called out and emphasized in the selection of our next nominees.