To make my position, quite clear… This opinion is NOT about age discrimination in ANY sense and any take-away to the contrary is pure mendacity!
In the recent weeks, news about a few elderly politicians’ age was mentioned in passing, yet under-reported. Notably, Sen. Diane Feinstein who will be 90 years in June. Sen. Chuck Grassley, also 89, will run when his six-year term has ended (he’ll be over 100 years if he wins and finishes that term)! Sen. Mitch McConnell is 81 years. Rep. Hal Rogers is 85 years. Rep. Maxine Waters is 84 years.
Out of curiosity I researched the ages of the Senate & House members and I was astonished!
Here is a list by age and years, as of May 11, 2023:
18 are in their 80s (11-R, 7-D), 32 are in their 70s (13-R, 19-D), 32 are in their 60s (19-R,13-D), 15 are in their 50s (9-R, 6-D), 3 are in their 40s (2-R, 1-D).
Here’s the link U.S. Senators. Note – today’s Senate is the 2nd oldest since 1789 (I researched that, too)!
13 are in their 80’s (2-R, 11-D), 62 are in their 70’s (22-R, 40-D), 119 are in their 60’s (70-R, 49-D), 111 are in their 50’s (-R,-D), 99 are in their 40’s (46-R, 53-D), 35 are in their 30’s (17-R, 18-D), one is in their 20’s(D)
Here’s the link U.S. Representatives.
8 republicans & 15 democrats have served in the 24-53 years of service category.
16 republicans & 19 democrats have served in the 12-23 years of service category.
25 republicans & 17 democrats have served in the 0-11 years of service category.
8 republicans & 31 democrats have served in the 24-53 years of service category.
43 republicans & 38 democrats have served in the 12-23 years of service category.
84 republicans & 95 democrats have served in the 4-11 years of service category.
90 republicans & 52 democrats have served in the 0-3 years of service category.
I concluded that our country is under gerontocracy control! What’s gerontocracy? It’s oligarchical rule in which an entity is ruled by leaders who are significantly older than most of the adult population. Yep, that describes the U.S.!
My gripe is NOT age, it is performance. The longer a person lives, the more likely he/she is to become physically frail. It’s a fact. Want examples?
Sen. Mitch McConnell was MIA a month (Mar ‘22) in rehab because of a fall forcing him take time-off and heal from a concussion. Sen. Feinstein was absent 3 months due to “shingles”.
When she returned it was in a wheelchair.
In addition to physical frailty, age brings on a crepuscular cognitive performance – dementia. May 17th, Sen. Feinstein denied having been away from D.C. “I’ve never been gone. I’ve been here, working…” She is in denial! Here’s a video link: I’ve been here!
I’ll spare you the many examples of similar videos of politicians displaying comparable conduct.
Mediocre (most all of Congress, in-my-opinion) career politicians’ greatest fear is losing the next election. Politicians who want to make real, significant changes that positively affect people’s lives will risk losing the next election. It’s apparent to me that a significant level of politicians will not do the “right thing” for fear of angering their constituents. This does not define a leader, it validates the Overton Window and Hallin’s Spheres approach to avoiding political suicide
Congress has a 17% approval rating and a 95+% re-election rate. Why? In addition to voters’ perennially short memories, it’s because elected leaders can (and DO) abuse their power to offset electoral challenges! They use the power of incumbency to deflect any worthy competitor. This, effectively, transfers power from citizens and into the hands of unaccountable career politicians.
How to disable (no pun intended) physical & mental political under-performers who are at the foundation of a feckless Congress? Term limits!
Supporters of term limits often argue that new legislators bring fresh perspectives, reduce the influence of career politicians, and encourage more citizen involvement in government. They believe that term limits can prevent the consolidation of power and promote a more dynamic political landscape.
On the other hand, opponents of term limits argue they can “undermine the principle of democratic choice by limiting the options available to voters.” They believe that experienced lawmakers can “bring valuable expertise and institutional knowledge to the legislative process.” Critics also argue that term limits can “lead to a loss of effective leadership and disrupt long-term policy planning.”
Here’s my take on the latter. The elder statesmen have corrupted Congress by setting the pace, tone, morals, values, character, opinion, distortions/mis-truths and behaviors for the freshmen which perpetuates, widens & deepens the corruption.
Elderly politicians should recognize their value as a mentor, guide, counselor – a public servant, not politician – and relinquish their “leadership” role.
Plutarch the ancient Greek philosopher, had a plan on understanding aging & politics – Plutarch, Sec. 6 Ethics & Politics – still relevant today!
To summarize: accordingly, politicians improve as they age because they continue to accrue skills and knowledge. He elaborates– it is a waste to lose such an amalgamation of counsel, wisdom and justice. A sensible, older politician must develop a heightened sense of modesty and restraint. They must not seek honors and attention, but deliberately avoid them.
Plutarch makes a practical point: preserve your dignity & usefulness by exiting and allowing others to lead with your savvy expertise as a ‘sextant’.
Overwhelmingly, 80+% of U.S. voters support term limits as successive, credible POLLS indicate. However, it requires 2/3 state legislatures (34) to propose a Constitutional Amendment by Convention (Article V). Congress is NOT motivated to act on its own accord, so the states must force the issue by way of a Constitutional convention. 38 states must approve (ratify) the Amendment into law. 19 states are in support of term limits with 12 in-process, as of Feb. 2023 (status).
I urge you to research this issue of term limiting legislators and purging our government of ossified politicians.
If you embrace term limits, sign the PETITION!
My position: I support term limits now, more-so than ever!
- Terms for Senators: 2 (6-year terms)
- Terms for Representatives: 3 (2-year terms)
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