Age Is An Annoying Number
Our Inaugural Friday Discussion discusses kicking out old people.
Happy Friday, everyone. Thanks again for taking the time to read Okay History.
The idea is to take a current topic, explain how we got here historically, make an outrageous suggestion, and put it out to the readers for some discussion. Friday Discussion is just a working title. I'm going to send it to our marketing team and see what they think. Okay History's marketing team is basically just Phil.
For our inaugural Friday Discussion, I'd like to talk about the age requirements of our elected officials, what they are, why we have them, and how they need to be changed.
I was inspired by this tweet earlier this week.
Forget the silly suggestion that is slapping on a marketing term for groups of people born during certain brackets of years. Then skipping over "Generation X" and instead hand power to "Millennials" and "Generation Z." Focus on the greater issue – the skipping over the generation on the other side of the Boomers – the Silent one – that also remains in power.
Here's some background on the age requirement. Article Two of the United States Constitution states that you need to be a certain age to hold federal office. It's 35 and older to be president. Senators need to be 30, and House of Representatives members, it’s 25.
I guess this idea was that back in the 18th century, being 35 would be considered old. Back then, the average lifespan was 38, but rich white guys tended to live twice as long.
Advancement in health that keeps us alive longer despite Super Sizing our Wendy's orders and drowning ourselves in craft beers, shows that our leaders across the board are much older. The President of the United States entered office at 78, and it's painfully evident that Biden is not as sharp as he was when he served as Vice President fifteen-odd years ago.
His predecessor took office at 70 and now wants to come back. Why not? We seem to favor people who have been long-time members of AARP.
Last month we saw a tenured Senator from California, Diane Feinstein, get roasted by the press on her abilities to remember names, repeat questions, and praise Lindsey Graham for anything.
Feinstein is 88 years old. She was born in 1933. The Cleveland Guardians would wait to win their latest World Series title 15 years later in 1948, haven't won since, and hold the longest title drought in baseball. She’s old.
The 88-year-old has filed the paperwork to run in 2024. If we can't elect 21 years to Congress, I gotta ask, why are we keeping 88-year-olds in power?
In the 117th Congress, the average age is 65. Octogenarians are scattered all over the place. There are seven Senators over the age of 80. My math skills say that it is 7% of the body. There are six members under the age of 50. Remember that includes two decades. That doesn't seem very representative.
The Speaker of the House is 82. The Senate Pro Tempore is 82. Can we get someone in leadership who is 42?
This isn't a new topic. Robert Byrd served to be 97. Strom Thurmond retired at 100. Thad Cochran of Mississippi was written about much the same way as Feinstein, and he ended up retiring at 80. But we didn’t have Okay History back then to shine a light on this topic for the Tens of Tens.
Why do we have minimum requirements? Presumably, it has to do with maturity. But as we see with Madison Cawthorn, just meeting the age requirement does not make you mature.
But why not age caps? The United States military has age limits for enlistment. I missed joining the army by five years. You have to retire from your job of putting covers on the TPS Reports at some point. Why not government officials? (We aren’t touching the Supreme Court today – we are working on something for the future)
For discussion, I propose that there needs to be a Constitutional Amendment that prevents anyone from serving in federal office past the age of 75. That means our pool of elected officials would be anywhere from 25-75, and I think we can pull that off with no issues. (Except, of course, the tenured people who work down the street here need to agree with it)
What do you think? Should we have age caps? Or do you think we should continue allowing people advanced in years to serve like they are driving a car, only the bar of being capable is even lower?
Drop a comment in the comment section and see if this becomes a larger conversation like between two brothers when I suggested we Abolish the Senate.
Have a great weekend!