Growing Old(er)


Robert Reich published a column today on age. He titled it, “Joe, please don’t run again,” but he didn’t just focus on Biden.

Reich himself is 76 and all throughout the piece, he shared several of his experiences as examples of the things we encounter as we age.

Myself being a bit past the age of Robert, I can personally attest to many of the verbal blips and physical stumbles he pointed out and … maybe some of you readers can as well?

Although Biden seems physically fit and, for the most part, mentally sharp, there have been (and are) indications of future concerns. On more than one occasion, reporters have pointed out his “speech blips.” Although not a major worry, such incidents will most likely become more frequent as time passes.

The press has also reported on Biden’s several trips and meetings with world leaders, and this too could become a concern. Although he presents as physically fit for his age, this doesn’t take away from the fact such long journeys do take their toll on the mind as well as the body.

Obviously, none of us have direct control on Biden’s decision. All we can do is hope that he recognizes his own age-related predilections and will be cognizant of this as he makes his final decision.

(Unfortunately, as has been demonstrated by other “senior citizens” in Congress: the pull of politics is difficult to resist.)

18 thoughts on “Growing Old(er)

  1. Age may be a factor but should not be the determining one in whom we vote for. Such considerations as character, integrity, knowledge, experience and (pragmatically speaking) electability are far more important.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I rarely disagree with you or Robert Reich, but I have to respectfully disagree with you both on this one. As a person who has had a stuttering problem since childhood, I can tell you that stuttering, or “speech blips” does not indicate a lack of mental acuity. President Biden is in good health for his years on earth and is mentally as sharp as the sharpest knife in my drawer! Sure, we slow down, but that doesn’t mean our minds are in such decay that we should be put out to pasture. In a battle of wits, Biden could beat the former guy hands down. I stutter, but my brain still works, and so does Joe’s.

    Liked by 3 people

    • It seems that I didn’t place enough emphasis in the first sentence of my comment that age should NOT be a determining factor, which is what I intended to convey. When I said it MAY be a factor, I had health in mind….and even then, it may be outweighed by the other considerations I mentioned (as with FDR, for example). After all, I am an octogenarian with a few health issues, and who could possibly male a better President than me? 😀

      Liked by 2 people

      • I did pay attention to what you said, and I do agree that it should not be a determining factor … as long as a candidate is in good enough health to do the job, then age shouldn’t be a factor, or at least should be far outweighed by such things as education, previous experience in government positions, affiliations, and his/her position on the issues that are important to us all and to the continuation of this nation as a democratic republic. I don’t see another Democrat on the horizon as qualified and likely to win an election as President Biden, so rather than hand the Oval Office over to the likes of DeSantis or Cruz, yes, I do want Biden to run again. Heh heh … heck yes, mm, I would vote for you if you were running! You’re a good guy!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Jill, in this post, I am speaking more from personal experience than may be apparent. I generally avoid divulging my own age because too many tend to judge others by that factor alone. However, like mistermuse, I am an octogenarian and, as such, I feel I can speak with some authority.

      Of course not everyone is the same. Nevertheless, as we age, certain changes DO occur and the older we get, the more apparent they become. Biden appears to be in good health so that is working in his favor. He also appears to be mentally adept. BUT … each year that passes brings more age changes, and Biden would be 86 years old at the end of a second term.

      In NO way did I mean that his “speech blips” were to be taken as a lack of mental acuity! I was speaking more that he occasionally inserts an incorrect word — NOT that he is stuttering! In my own life, I’ve found myself doing this … and not even realizing it until my other-half points it out! I apologize that I didn’t make this clear.

      Re: the several world trips a president is required to take — in my mind, there simply is no getting around the stress involved, both physically and mentally. Younger folk can bounce back fairly quickly … older folk not so much.

      I hope we’re on the same page now.

      Liked by 3 people

      • I do understand, Nan … I’m only one decade behind you, but with my lifetime health issues, I’m probably pretty close to you and mm in terms of physical ability. And yes, there will be health issues with President Biden over the next six years, and he could even die. But here’s the thing, from my perspective — I don’t see another Democrat on the horizon who could win in 2024. President Biden is doing a good job — much better than he’s being given credit for in the media — and while his ‘approval ratings’ aren’t great, I think he could win again, IF he had the support of the Democratic Party. Of course, it depends on who the Republicans nominate and a lot can happen in two years’ time, but right now … who could win in 2024? Schumer? Newsome? There just isn’t anybody on the horizon that I see.

        As I said, I do understand your concerns, but I think we have to have perspective. Democrats go quietly about the business of governance, and don’t loudly toot their horns in the same way the Republicans do, so while there may well be a number of highly qualified Democrats out there, they aren’t well-known enough on a nation-wide basis to generate the enthusiasm we need. Not that Biden generates much enthusiasm, but I do think he’s accomplished a remarkable amount in his two years in office and that voters understand that. Sigh. At least I hope so, else I hope somebody strong comes into the arena.

        Liked by 2 people

    • My experience with the stuttering I overcame in my youth is it’s slipping back in here and there. In anger and frustration. Sometimes I get tongue tangled. Maybe nobody notices but me.

      Not as bad with dentures in …

      Liked by 2 people

      • I never outgrew mine, but I did learn to live with it and not be as embarrassed as I used to be. It’s a source of mirth among family, and others tend to just ignore or overlook it. Indeed, I’m sure teeth/dentures would be helpful!


  3. When you are running for high stakes public office, perception becomes an issue whether it’s false or not. I agree that Biden is mentally OK and physically fit, but he has never been a charismatic speaker and he will be the first to say so. And this gives the republicans fodder and they use it to the hilt.

    I believe it’s time for a change in both parties and we see it in some fine examples in the Democratic Party like AOC, Katy Porter, Adam Schiff and Hakeem Jeffries. But then in the Republican Party there are the more despicable Greene, Bobbert, Jordan and a few others. So younger age isn’t always a good thing.

    If the Orange menace is going to win, due to the cult, then I fear that no one will beat him and certainly not Biden. I think the democrats should be thinking about this very seriously. Remember when Obama came out of no where and won. Twice.

    Liked by 3 people

    • You mention Obama. Now that, IMO, is exactly what I think the Democratic Party needs! Someone with vim and vigor and FIRE! I guess I’m just tired of the old and doddering members of Congress. I do concede that age and maturity are good things … but youth and vitality are pretty hard to beat. As much as I detest the three “noisemakers” you named, one has to admit they aren’t letting any grass grow under their feet!

      IMO, the problem is the Democratic Party in and of itself has gotten too staid and stodgy. There are some vibrant, sharp, and SMART folks in the party, but no one talks about them. It’s like they’re too scared of making waves with the voters.

      Oh well. I’ve said my piece. What will be will be.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. A friend, past 80 himself, just wondered aloud how such a vast nation as the USA seems incapable to produce other leadership than geriatric white men.

    Is not the Vice president the natural successor as the party candidate, if the president themself are indisposed for one or a nother reason? She seems able enough and is not yet burdened by years. After all, if Biden proves to be too senile to keep up with the job and has to be deposed for medical reasons, it is her who will have to step up and lead the nation anyway. She has to be qualified to reach her position, right?

    To me the question of age appears as an “acceptable” excuse to get rid of Biden. When the real reason is, that the empire suffers no weakness from it’s leader, who showed the worst kind by losing a war. People are not going to forgive him, that the nation ie. themselves, each and everyone felt humiliated by the catastrophic retreat from Kabul. For some it was the panultimate proof, that they were right about him and to some it is the sheer unpleasentness of having have to explain, furthermost to themselves, that the defeat was somehow not a defeat at all, but a planned move.

    Empires hate leaders who lose a war. Biden may not have been responsible for the defeat, as it was for long in the making and the hobgoblin simply finished what was inevitable for him, but as the leader in charge the tribalism of people demands – wether knowingly, or unacknowledgedly – that he saves the day, even against impossible odds. It is some inherrent authoritarianism, wich Tildeb has mentioned here at times, that drives masses of people in this respect.

    It is precisely why Putler has not withdrawn from Ukraine, even though the “special operation” failed spectacularly and the Russian standing army has lost any edge to win. It is why Gorbatshov lost power and ultimately the Soviet Union. Old age of Biden may be a real enough concern, but it also is a convinient excuse to get rid of him. Same as with Watergate was a convinient excuse to get rid of Nixon, who had lost the war in Vietnam. For Carter it was the fact, that he was humiliated by Iran. There are plenty of similar examples throughout history. A mighty ruler deposed after losing in war alledgedly because of some other reasons, that were no concern until then.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Well made points, rautakyy … which you seem to do on a regular basis. 🙂

    As you pointed out, many leaders/presidents legacies are based on their “military actions.” But putting that aside, OVERALL, Biden seems to have done well by our country. And perhaps if he runs and is (probably) reelected, he will continue to do the same. Nevertheless, speaking from personal experience, I continue to have some age-related concerns.

    One of the “saving graces” (if you can call it that) is that most all -good- leaders actions/decisions are greatly influenced by the scores of “support people” who provide input on suggested directions. (Sidenote: this is one of the MAJOR failings of Trump … he only listens to, and acts on, the ideas of people who agree with him.) So in that respect, Biden’s age could become somewhat secondary.

    In any event, time will tell. And who knows? Maybe “fate” will make the decision for us. And I leave that outcome to one’s imagination.


  6. Our well liked – should I say loved, at 95% approval ratings, year after year – president Niinistö visited yesterday the main military training of the year and slept with the troops in the snowy forest in a tent just like a regular trooper. (Well, maybe he was not awakened in the night for guard duty, or to keep watch on the heater.) He is 74 years old. People respect such antics, and I have to admit I do too. After all he is the chief of our DEFENCE forcees.

    I agree about Trump. He and some other major Capitalists, like Musk, seem to exist in bubless of their own. Everybody has their own “bubble”, but it is like these individuals have been isolated from the rest of the humanity for so long, that they need to create the universe around them and themselves in it over and over again because other people offer no reflection to them. This may be why they appear to have lost contact with reality and why they need to explain their own exellence all the time, just to give meaning of their existance to themselves – because, who else?

    I for one am satisfied how Biden has fared so far. I did not expect much, as his best quality seemed to be not Trump, but on the shoulders of the US president rests more than justc your country. He has been very professional about the number of crisis he already has had to face. The disaster in Afghanishtan was not because he did not mind the analysis of security advisors and military, but more because none of them predicted the rapid fall of the Afghani government. Though they should have.

    Old age comes to us all, who do not die young. Some accumulate wisdom along the way, but not all. The most intelligent person may be just a nother numbskull without wisdom and only the most rare have any very early in life. So, I guess it is natural, that we tend to choose older leaders.

    Liked by 1 person

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