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Age only matters if you’re a cheese

I was born in 1942; I am now 51 years old. How is that possible? If you know, please send a comment through Gettysburg Connection.

Speaking of age, Republicans are trying to convince voters that Biden is not only old, he’s also actually senile. That’s why his poll numbers are low, and why he is not given credit for his accomplishments, including an increasingly healthy economy. There are times he gives the impression of being slow and frail.

mark berg

But Trump is also old. He mixes up names, offers “facts” that are transparently false, makes nonsensical statements, and continues to lie about his defeat in the election of 2020. However, he says all this so loud and so confidently that unless you see it in print, you may not realize he’s a modern version of comedian Al Kelly, a double-talker. Double-talk is speech that is impossible to understand, usually a mixture of purposefully unintelligible words and random, nonsense syllables – in other words, gibberish. People laughed when Al Kelly spoke. Trump’s speech might be funny if he wasn’t so dangerous.

In an article in Time magazine, “The Weaponization of Biden’s Age,” Mauro Guillen, Professor of Multinational Management, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, wrote, “At the end of the day, however, the current debate over the impact of age on the presidential race has descended into ageism, which is a serious conscious and unconscious bias we all fall for ever so frequently. The American Psychological Association has determined that it is one of the ‘last socially acceptable prejudices.’ My research on demographics and the economy indicates that we are wasting the talents of many people above the age of 60, 70, or 80 because we unjustifiably deem them not capable of performing a job or any job. It is simply not true that younger workers are always preferable. As human beings, we start to decline from a cognitive point of view when we are in our late twenties. But, typically, experience more than compensates for cognitive decline. It is fair to argue that Biden’s legislative and presidential records speak to the importance of experience in American politics” [my emphasis].

And as Ashton Applewhite, author of This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism, suggests age is “part of our identity. But it’s ageist to attribute a value to age, whether negative or positive. And it’s no more acceptable to dismiss a candidate on the basis of age than it to do so on the basis of their gender or color.” Applewhite explains how older adults have access to more information, their attention gradually expands, and their wider worldview allows for better judgment. Older brains are more flexible and resilient, and their capacity to integrate information, a sign of intelligence at any age, is wide and deep. Older brains make many more connections than younger ones because older people have made many more connections over their lives; that’s why it takes them longer to find a word. Accessing information takes older people longer than it does for younger people, who have fewer memory files and connections.

The fact that Biden has lived so long indicates that his genetics, his lifestyle, his access to quality healthcare, and his luck set him apart from many other American men of his age cohort who have already passed away. Statistically, the average American male age 80 is expected to live another seven years, long enough for Biden to complete a second presidential term and then some.  One of Biden’s strongest qualities is his demonstrated ability to put together a competent team of policymakers and advisers in key positions. While he would be an octogenarian – as would Trump – during a second term, Biden has already proven his ability to work with younger people. By having a younger cabinet and White House staff, he will be able to incorporate their new ideas into his vision for the future.

In his posting on the website The Bulwark, Jonathan Last noted Biden’s deft foreign policy maneuvers and ability to get infrastructure legislation through a divided Congress show he’s “the wisest guy to sit in the Oval Office” in decades. “That’s not in spite of his age, it’s because of it.”

President John F. Kennedy relied on older advisors throughout his presidency. This was in part due to his own relative youth and inexperience in national politics. They, along with others, played a significant role in shaping Kennedy’s presidency. Their experience and wisdom helped him navigate the challenges of the Cold War, resistance to the civil rights movement, and other major issues of his time. For example, Dean Acheson, Secretary of State under President Harry S. Truman, provided Kennedy with valuable advice on foreign policy matters.

“It’s not the years in your life that count, it’s the life in your years.” Abraham Lincoln

Mark Berg is a community activist in Adams County and a proud Liberal. His email address is MABerg175@Comcast.net.

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Donate Gardner
Donate Gardner
1 month ago

Excellent article! Thank you for explaining the benefits of experience and wisdom that comes with advanced age. This is what we need now more than ever.
Very few true leaders are left in our three branches of government. Very few true statesmen in either house of legislature, and only a handful of true, uncompromised jurists in our judiciary system.
Biden, despite his age – or rather BECAUSE of it – is one of the last few statesmen representing this country.

Jeanne Duffy
Jeanne Duffy
1 month ago

And when you are voting for a president, you are also effectively voting for a team of advisors whom the President selects. Biden has put together a team of experts who are invaluable to him in these turbulent times. Trump’s team, as he has made clear, would be only loyal people who agreed with him about everything.

Donald Marritz
Donald Marritz
1 month ago

Thanks for sane and coherent and factual commentary

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