Time to let younger people take the lead

Neither President Joe Biden, 81, nor former President Donald Trump, 77, is necessarily too old to be president. Their biggest flaws are not their ages, it’s that they are blocking and discouraging younger people from getting a chance to lead the country.

It’s because the two nominees are so certain that they are best suited for the job of leading the country and that they, more than anyone else, are best able to manage a nation of 335 million people. They seem to think that younger leaders are not as capable as they are. Their ego tells them that they are a winner.

No disrespect to my elders, but it’s time that they — myself, at age 72, included — make room for others on the podium. We may be wise and witty and experienced and still active in our Social Security years, but we don’t have to be in charge forever. Nor should we be.

We had our time at the top, but now it’s time to let others try. And until we step aside and give others a chance, they will feel disconnected, disinterested and disheartened at the political direction of the country. Who can blame them. It’s their country for the next 20, 30 or 40 years, not ours.

Just because we are living longer with better medical care and healthier lifestyles doesn’t give us the right to extend our leadership past its expiration date. And that date should not be based on whether we can still give a speech, make a decision or convene a meeting, but on whether younger people are ready to lead and deserve the chance.

A nation led by older people is more focused on Medicare than child care; more interested in senior discounts than the price and availability of infant formula; more preoccupied with remembering the past than looking to the future.

Though it’s not all our fault for hanging on to power with our arthritic hands. Younger generations need to put down their smartphones, take out the earbuds, click off the video streams or whatever else is on their screen and sign up to lead. It should be their time, but only if they pay attention.

The inattentiveness of 20-, 30- and 40-somethings creates a void, a lack of candidates for elected office, a shortage of volunteers to run community groups, an empty leadership chair that by default often is taken by older leaders who figure someone has to do the work.

The frustration of 50-somethings that they have to keep waiting while their elders refuse to step down leads many to give up and do something else with their life than run for office.

Just look at the Polident grip in Congress. The calendar says 20 members of Congress are in their 80s. The average age of the U.S. Senate is about 65. The average age in the U.S. House is close to 60.

Trump and Biden reflect more the age of Congress than of the country. I must have missed that provision in the constitution. I hope the Democrats and Republicans will decide it’s OK for Father Time to sit out the next elections and let a younger crowd take over. It’s their turn.


Reader Comments(0)

Rendered 06/18/2024 06:07