When should they step aside? Should there be age limits? What about term limits?
In June of this year, the Washington Post [one of my favorite papers, btw] published an article titled: “This Senate is the oldest in American history. Should we do anything about it?” Among those who had his name and likeness featured in the article was none other than Iowan senator Chuck Grassley, who just recently — at the age of eighty eight — announced his intentions to seek re-election in 2022. On election day in 2022, he will be 89 years old and, should he win, will have been 97 for a few months in January 2028 when his six year term would officially be over.
At this point, it almost has to be considered a joke how utterly absurd it is that an 89 year old actively seeking re-election for public office, but frankly that there are no term or age limits to stop them from doing so.
Of course some would argue that it is ageist to suggest he should not have this position. I would like to argue that at some point, people can reasonably question whether someone’s age will determine whether they are capable of holding that office. After all, a person must be at least 30 before they can be sworn in as a US Senator, which is an age limitation no one seems to have an issue with. So why, then, is it considered ageist or unreasonable to consider whether 90 is too old? Personally, I can’t help wondering why someone who is older than the vast majority of the residents at my grandmother’s nursing home would even want to seek higher office.
H takes a unique [to say the least]type of individual to want to run for higher office at that age. The overwhelming majority of people who even live to that age would not have the desire, even if they were in the best physical condition. Those are meant to be the sunset years, aren’t they? A time to look back on one’s life, reminisce, surround yourself with family, and soak in all the beautiful little things about the world around us we all too often take for granted. So then what would motivate a financially comfortable politician to even consider running for re-election at that age?
At the end of the day, it really isn’t that difficult to understand.
￼The thing is, Grassley isn’t even the oldest Senator! The oldest is California’s Diane Feinstein, who while she has not announced her intentions to run for re-election, has filed the paperwork to do so if she wanted to. These lawmakers really do seem to have a gut-wrenching fear of not only handing over their own power, but the country overall to younger generations. Generations that are overwhelmingly progressive in their thinking, and with very different ideas for how they envision the future. It’s fascinating, isn’t it, how so much of the discourse surrounding millennials still makes it sound as though they’re winey college students who eat too much avocado toast when in reality, they’re between the ages of 26 and 41?
At some point, the hunger for power and the unwillingness to hand it over becomes so obvious it’s almost comical, and I would have to argue that’s certainly the case when it comes to Chuck Grassley.