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Thoughts on Mandatory Retirement Age

I recall a time when mandatory retirement age became illegal.  The age discrimination law passed in 1967 – the year I graduated high school.  It didn’t personally affect me – I was 17.  Still, I can think of a few reasons we might want to revisit the idea. 

The Dakota – the Sioux – as well as the Metis and many other tribes – use the term “elder.”  Just being old isn’t enough to be an elder.  I think it’s because growing older is mandatory, growing wiser is optional.  At any rate,  vigorous people are supposed to lead, elders are there to provide counsel and wisdom.

Today, I see William Shatner, at 90, returning from a brief trip to space – sounding much more comprehensible than our elected leaders.  Perhaps actors  need to communicate better than politicians to stay in business.  On the other hand, that is a frightening thought.  Look at the folks who have held the nuclear briefcase.

Time was when Ronald Reagan was a president – he was darned near 74 when he left office.  If Trump runs again, he’d be older on the next inauguration day.  Biden was 78+ when he went in.  Pelosi is 81.  McConnell is 79.  Nothing personal folks, but at 71, my body gives me frequent reminders that my best days are in the past – and I don’t believe these folks are a whole lot more immortal. 

When the Constitution was drafted, life expectancy was a whole lot lower.  The founders called for a minimum age of 25 for a representative, 30 for a senator, and 35 for a President.  Joe , Nancy, and Mitch have me wondering.  Would it really hurt anything to put a maximum age of 70 for  these elective offices?  Of course that may just mean I’m a bit curmudgeonly and think that anything is good if it turns professional politicians out.

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