How Old Is Too Old?

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When Ronald Reagan was elected President in 1981, he was 69 years and 349 days old. At that point in time, he was the oldest person to ever be elected as POTUS. Although many considered him too old to hold the office, some years later Trump came along and at age 70 (and 220 days), he was chosen to become the U.S. President.

Then in 2021, the record was surpassed when Joe Biden was voted in as POTUS at 78 years of age.

In this article, the author (who believes we need a constitutional age limit for president) writes:

It’s obvious that we are living longer and are generally healthier as we age than previous generations. But it’s also true that the vast majority of us slow down, both mentally and physically, as we head into our eighth decade.

Even former President Jimmy Carter weighed in on the topic when, in 2019, he commented: “I hope there’s an age limit…If I were just 80 years old, if I was 15 years younger, I don’t believe I could undertake the duties I experienced when I was president.” 

Yet both Trump (who will be 78) and Biden (who will be 82) have both considered running for the office again in 2024.

Of note, there are several members of Congress who are also serving at advanced ages:

  • Diane Feinstein, age 87
  • Chuck Grassley, age 87
  • Don Young, age 87
  • Nancy Pelosi, age 80
  • Bernie Sanders, age 78
  • Mitch McConnell, age 78

While the U.S. constitution does specify a minimum age for elected members of Congress and the President, it (rather unfortunately) does not address a maximum.

Interestingly, according to various polls, more than half (58%) of Americans say that there should be a maximum age limit — with most suggesting 80 years of age. However, to my knowledge, there has been no legislative action or discussion on the matter.

(Hmmm. Considering the above list, I wonder why …?)

While it is true that chronological age can be deceiving (nearly everyone knows individuals who are far more vigorous than their advanced age might suggest), mental and physical capabilities DO diminish as we progress in life. And while there may be some truth to the sayings that “age is a state of mind” and “you are only as old as you think you are” — can we put our trust in such adages when it comes to running a country the size of the United States? Especially if an event arose that required a “snap decision” that could affect millions of people?

I tend to think not.

(It is my sincere wish that the roster of 2024 presidential candidates will include candidates that can walk straight and think clearly. 🙂)

Long May It Wave?

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Some of you may have read recent news reports related to a “flag issue” taking place in Boston, MA. If you haven’t, here is an article about the dispute.

According to the article, the challenge has gone all the way to the Supreme Court and they are scheduled to hear the case today (1/18/22), with a possible decision by the end of June.

In my opinion, this is just one more example of Christians trying to overstep their bounds.

Yes, the Constitution talks about freedom of religion, but this doesn’t translate to “religion” entering into every facet of public life. It means those who are “religious” have freedom to worship without governmental intrusion or obstruction.

Interestingly, the Biden administration is in support of the action, as is the ACLU — which has presented a brief that states: “The city (cannot) designate its flagpole a public forum for private speech and then deny access to an otherwise eligible speaker based on viewpoint.” 

On the other hand, Boston officials contend that the flags on the city’s flag poles are a form of government speech and the city has a right to avoid raising a faith group’s flag as it would then be conveying a religious message. (I AGREE!)

This argument has won in the lower courts but in September, the Supreme Court agreed to take up the case and clarify what counts as government speech.

From my non-religious point of view, I see this as simply one more effort to make in-roads towards meeting the goal of the Christian Nationalists. Minor, yes, in that it’s a “city” issue. But Major in that the decision made by the Supreme Court may very well demonstrate the bias many of us believe exists among its members, as well as portend future actions by this group that involve religious issues.

Christian Nationalism

Image courtesy of iStockphoto.com

I just came across an EXCELLENT article entitled, “Here’s where Christian Nationalism comes from, and what it gets wrong.”

Since some of you may not be familiar with this movement and/or the ideology behind it, here is an excellent explanation from the article:

It holds that, like Israel of the Old Testament, America is God’s chosen instrument to fulfill his purposes on Earth. Its adherents believe that America was intended, both by its founders and by God himself, to be a Christian nation, and that defenders of that birthright are divinely appointed to reinstate it by means of political power.

I’m sure many of you who watched the videos of the January 6, 2021 debacle saw individuals carrying the Trump and Confederate flags — but did you also notice the several participants who were carrying Christian flags and wearing clothing with slogans such as “Jesus 2020” and “Jesus in my savior. Trump is my president“?

Christian Nationalism is very popular among many conservative white American evangelicals; in fact, there are reports that some pastors even encouraged their members to attend Trump’s rally.

I really hope you will take the time to read the referenced article because it not only provides some history behind the movement, why its establishment in government has become so important to evangelicals … and even more importantly … why there is an urgency to activate it in the U.S.

The article can be found (link removed) — use PDF file below.

Necessary Qualifier: The article author is an ordained minister (among other things) — and although he believes America needs the Christian gospel, he does NOT support “Christian Nationalism.”

NOTE: Here is a PDF file since most visitors were unable to access the article directly:

Christian Nationalism

Tyranny, They Say!

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From my limited knowledge of politics, I get the impression (from various actions that have taken place over the recent past) that Republicans want to State-legislate and only call on the Federal Government when they get into a pickle.

If my thinking is on-target, then it would seem it aligns with something Heather wrote in her most recent “Letters From An American” newsletter (1/7/2022):

From the nation’s early years, lawmakers who wanted to protect their own interests have insisted that true American democracy is local, where voters can make their wishes clearly known. They said that the federal government must not intervene in the choices state voters made about the way their government operated despite the fact that the federal government represents the will of the vast majority of Americans. Federal intervention in state laws, they said, was tyranny.

Following is a portion of one reader’s response to Heather’s remarks (obviously, tongue-in-cheek):

Now that we’ve determined we don’t need Federal government … let’s go a step further. Make each state handle everything on their own. The people they put in office will have no say in anything outside their state. Oh, and wait, that’s too much governing from Albany to say what Buffalo or NYC should do so each place needs isolated government.

We won’t need federal Congress anymore, send them home. We won’t need a President, each Governor will independently lead their 1/50th of the country. All financial resources will come from their own citizens. No more tax money coming from CA or NY where everyone complains about high taxes. We’ll use that money for ourselves.

The only thing we’ll have at a Federal level will be a representative to oversee Federal lands. Just some small agencies.

This all just sounds ridiculous and you all just thought I … must have gone crazy.

But this is exactly what Republicans want to happen. When it does they’ll want to do away with their state government with the exception of banning abortion and voting.

Somehow, I find it difficult to imagine such a scenario would be successful.

But maybe that’s just me.

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Image by DaModernDaVinci from Pixabay