I am 66 years old. I am, as my doctor says, in very good shape for someone my age. I still lead an active life. I can walk, shovel snow, rake leaves, and babysit grandchildren for 12 hours a day. My mind is still sharp enough that I can work as a professional editor, write books, teach, and learn new computer technologies. I have discovered that there is some wisdom that comes with age. (If good decisions come from experience, and experience comes from bad decisions, then I have certainly made enough bad decisions to have learned something.)
On the other hand, my memory isn’t quite what it was, I don’t play hockey or baseball anymore, and while I can still put in a 40-hour work week, there is no way I want to return to working 60 to 80 hours a week. I certainly wouldn’t contemplate taking on the most stressful job in the world.
Which brings me back to Americans.
The leading Republican candidate for president is Donald Trump. He is 69. If he is elected president, he will be 70 when he takes office and 74 when he finishes his first term.
The leading Democratic candidate is Hillary Clinton. She is 68. If she is elected president, she will be 69 when she takes office and 73 when she finishes her first term.
The second leading Democratic candidate is Bernie Sanders. He is 74. If he is elected president, he will be 75 when he takes office and 79 when he finishes his first term (if he doesn’t die of old age first).
What is wrong with these people that they think they are capable of taking on a ridiculously stressful job and becoming the leader of the free world at such an age?
And what is wrong with the American people that they are apparently convinced that these are the only viable choices for president?
The situation in the United States is such (the country is so large, so wealthy, and so technologically complex) that it takes enormous amounts of money to run for president. The myth that any American can grow up to be president is now nonsense. By the time candidates gain enough fame, money, political favours, and powerful connections to have a shot at being president, they are most likely too old for the job.
I am not saying that senior citizens should never run for president. But that does not mean that only senior citizens should run for president.