Is Age Only a Number in Presidency?

Some governmental officials have reached the point where this world isn’t theirs to change anymore.
Joe Biden (left) and Donald Trump (right) are some of the oldest people to be president of the United States. They’re a big part of the discussion about having more young people hold office.
“Joe Biden and Donald Trump”/ Gage Skidmore, Sheelah Craighead / Wikimedia Commons/ CC BY-SA 2.0
Joe Biden (left) and Donald Trump (right) are some of the oldest people to be president of the United States. They’re a big part of the discussion about having more young people hold office. “Joe Biden and Donald Trump”/ Gage Skidmore, Sheelah Craighead / Wikimedia Commons/ CC BY-SA 2.0

President Joe Biden is 80 years old, the oldest person to ever hold office.

Donald Trump held the record before him at 77.

With the next presidential election coming up, people are starting to wonder if this trend bodes well for the country. Is experience all that matters? Or do we need people who better understand the problems we currently face?

“I think it’s crazy that people who should be in retirement are leading the country,” said Dhriti Pippiri, a sophomore at South Forsyth High School. “I feel like older people in office do not understand problems that are currently [occurring] in the country so they cannot stop them.”

One of the biggest concerns about our aging leadership is that their viewpoints no longer align with the rest of the population.

Some of the biggest problems we face today, like climate change, are long-term issues. The actions we take today determine the futures of everyone else. But when our leaders are reaching their 80s, it seems unlikely that they’ll live to see their legislation affect the people. With someone younger, they would be just as affected by the laws they pass as their constituents, leading to more meaningful laws.

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D) represented California as one of its two senators for 31 years. After months of battling health conditions, she passed away in 2023 at 90 years old. With a government shutdown on the horizon, Feinstein’s health impairments significantly slowed an already slow process to get an essential spending bill passed. 

Feinstein also missed almost three months’ worth of votes after a case of shingles. At any other job, retiring would have made more sense. But Feinstein didn’t.

“I just don’t think she could see what else to do on a daily, weekly, monthly basis,” former aide Jim Lazarus told Virginia Public Radio. “She felt well enough and alert enough and strong enough to serve.”

But is that a good enough excuse?

Being a senator isn’t just about her. She represented a population of almost 988,086 people. It’s her job to show up for all the votes every time to make sure all their voices are heard. If she can no longer do it, then she needs to step down and let someone who can take her place. 

It’s important for our presidents to have the experience to lead a country of 333.29 million people. Mistakes can be costly on the national level. But how will the next generation get the experience if all the spots in our government are taken up by people far older? 

At the end of another term, I’d be in my mid-80s,” Senator Mitt Romney told CNN. “Frankly, it’s time for a new generation of leaders. They’re the ones that need to make the decisions that will shape the world they will be living in.”

Romney said it perfectly. He has reached the point where this world isn’t his to change anymore. He’s made the decision to step back and let the next generation take the reigns. If more politicians decide to retire, we’ll be better off for it.

Will we get a new, younger president in the upcoming election? Probably not. But the people want change. It’s already happening.

Research shows more young people running for office from the local level to the national level. The lack of representation of younger generations is inspiring countless people to help run this country.

“More young people would solve problems more effectively because they will have more of a bias to the majority of the population and the working class,” Pippiri said. “Our president needs to be someone who will actually be part of our future.”

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About the Contributor
Avani Prabhu, News Editor
Avani Prabhu is a sophomore at South Forsyth High School. She is returning for her second year in  The Bird Feed and is excited to be back. Some of her hobbies include writing, drawing, reading, and playing Minecraft. She also loves to play board games and enjoys beating her brother in games like chess and Monopoly.  She loves to create things and share them with other people. She has several guppies but is obsessed with cats and hopes to get one in the future. Avani is very passionate about the environment and hopes to one day become a Biologist.