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The Summit Pinnacle

The Student News Site of Summit High School

The Summit Pinnacle

The Student News Site of Summit High School

The Summit Pinnacle

Same Old Same Old

The average age of American politicians is way too high

Mitch McConnell became a viral meme after he froze for over 30 seconds during a press conference. McConnell, aged 81, has been in office since 1984. Why does a man who can’t form complete sentences still hold a position in the Senate, almost 50 years after his initial election? 

McConnell isn’t an isolated case; multiple politicians, such as our current President, have stalled and stuttered their way through news conferences. Which begs the question, where are the younger voices?

As the 2024 presidential election approaches, the front runners are already apparent. Despite the fact that candidates have to be 35 to run, Gen-X is the only option for most American voters. Former President Donald Trump, aged 77, and current President Joe Biden, aged 80, both have their fair share of issues. Trump recently became the first indicted president in history, and Biden has been a letdown of a leader to many.

Biden earned the nickname “Sleepy Joe” after he was rumored to have fallen asleep during one of his speeches. The nickname, coined by Trump, is tossed around on news broadcasts and social media frequently—yet Biden is only three years older than Trump.

“Neither Trump or Biden are suitable to run the country,” said Summit junior Clare Crawley.

The average age of the senate is over 65. Age and experience are valuable and necessary traits for any politician—but if they’re drooling on press stands instead of doing their job, retirement seems to be the best fit. Just like how elders pushing triple-digits shouldn’t be driving on busy roads: health and mental capabilities decline as you get older.

According to the World Health Organization, as people age, they are subject to many mental and physical conditions, oftentimes experiencing multiple at once. Especially in important elections, such as the presidential office, one’s health status could mean the difference between an incompetent president, or a president who will act on what they promise. 

“Your age can be an asset in how you’re able to represent your constituents, or it can be a limiting obstacle,” said Summit Government teacher Marni Spitz. 

America can’t seem to get rid of the same group of potential elects. If our politicians truly care for the greater good of the country, why not recognize that its agenda is evolving everyday? Why not step down, and pave the way for voices of the new generation?

Annie Karni, a congressional correspondent for the New York Times, claims that politicians become “afflicted with an inability to imagine a life after giving [their job] up.” Power hungry government officials will stake their claim and hold onto it for as long as they can because they are attached to their position. Many politicians, such as Strom Thurmond, have died while in office rather than retire.  

The solution to the excessive amount of elders in office is tricky. How can the government have an equal spread of ages while also staying true to democracy?

“There should be a maximum age to run, as well as a minimum age,” said Summit junior Olivia Heizer.

Others believe that the current system in place is meant to combat the problem.

“I think term limits work, because you have people from the older generation and the younger generation. It’s great to have all those ideas in there,” said Summit Government teacher Kelsie Layana. “But when the majority is just from one generation, it creates an unbalance in how our country is represented.”

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that different generations hold such separate views. Older generations typically lean more towards conservatism, and younger generations are generally more liberal. To have the majority of the government built up of the older generation is the opposite of democracy. In order for fairness to be absolutely assured, a new wave of politicians—preferably of which hold views that align with a younger generation—need to also be included in today’s government.

“It’s always important to have someone who will listen to the experiences of others and makes an effort to understand that,” said Layana.

To have an entire state represented by a rich white man isn’t exactly representative. Many men who have held office for such long periods of time still cling to their ideologies of the past. The unbalance in the United States government doesn’t cater to this, and the next four years aren’t looking any different.

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About the Contributor
Scout Crockett
Scout Crockett, Features Editor

Scout prides herself in her journalistic instincts and exquisite taste when it comes to music and films (she’s an avid Bowie listener and her favorite movie is Zoolander). When she isn’t writing lengthy articles, Scout is most likely found curating her unachievable dream closet on Pinterest, navigating her endless stacks of books, or enjoying an overpriced latte—all while procrastinating her heaps of homework. Scout is excited to continue her work at The Pinnacle as one of this year's Features editors!

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