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Wildcat Chronicle

The student news site of West Chicago Community High School

Wildcat Chronicle

The student news site of West Chicago Community High School

Wildcat Chronicle

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[OPINION] Politicians getting too old

Four years ago, the upcoming presidential election featured two of the oldest candidates in U.S. history. Four years later, nothing has changed.
The+White+House%2C+home+to+the+President+of+the+United+States.+%28Courtesy+of+CC0+via+rawpixel%29
The White House, home to the President of the United States. (Courtesy of CC0 via rawpixel)

Senior Reporter Eshan Amir is a one-year member of the Wildcat Chronicle who occasionally writes opinion pieces. The views expressed in this piece are his own.

This November, tens of millions of Americans will take valuable time out of their day to partake in the Democratic process. A fair amount will wonder: were these 80-year-old men the only viable options?

Throughout the history of the United States, public officials have generally been around middle-aged, early forties to mid-fifties. However, since about 1980, politicians have been getting significantly older. About 25% of Congress is now over the age of 70, a figure disproportionate to the percentage of the country at that age. 

The main concern with older representatives stems from a lack of confidence in their ability to lead the country. The vast majority of Democrats and Republicans alike explicitly want age limits for public officials, claiming that older politicians are out of touch, or worse, show signs of loss of mental acuity.

They have been proven right. In the months before she died, then-90-year-old Dianne Feinstein suffered from memory lapses and needed direct commands from her aides on how to vote.

The Capitol building, operating office of the United States Congress. (Photo courtesy of Trev Takes via Pexels)

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell publicly froze while taking questions from reporters. 

As the 2024 election approaches, situations like this raise questions regarding the ages of both candidates. Trump is 77, and Biden is 81. While not their fault, they are almost entirely removed from the digital age. Is it not time that the presidency is in the hands of someone more in line with the needs and circumstances of the majority of Americans living today? 

“Just 4% of Congress is under 40,” Madison Hall and Walt Hickey, writers for Business Insider, said. 

Of course, it is unfair to say that every person over any certain age is incapable of running for office. However, it is fair to say that shutting out adults under 40 is just as unjust.  The gerontocracy the nation finds itself in is setting up future generations for failure. It robs them of the chance to create the future they will be living in.

It is time for elected officials to pass the baton on to the working adults of today. Putting age limits on elected officials and getting working-age adults involved in politics is the best way to ensure the nation’s continuing success. 

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About the Contributor
Eshan Amir
Eshan Amir, Senior Reporter
Eshan Amir is a senior who partakes in watching movies, filmmaking, and photography in his free time. He strives to accomplish his best at West Chicago Community High School and acknowledges that WEGO provides a great space to meet new people and prosper social skills. After school, he plans to pursue a career in film making or the law industry. He is currently drafting a screenplay, learning the basics of criminal law, and intends on taking journalism to get better at communicating and listening to people.
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