Stop the Age Bashing


In the interest of full disclosure, I admit nine decades of age plus being well into the 10th influencing the following. 

Growing up in the era of experience gained in age being honored and respected, even venerated, it is frustrating to hear so much age bashing of President Biden and his pursuit of another term. It would be distressing enough if applied in this one case only, but it is overwhelming throughout the society.

Day after day in one situation or another there is the cry of it being time for the old to move on letting the young take over with their new ideas. It is not as if all new were good while nothing of the past was worthy. Likewise, not all old are adverse to change embraced by all young eschewing the past. It is trial and error with life’s experiences in an ever-changing society regardless of the age of the participants.

The problem is not age. It is dangerous short-sightedness of the population aided and abetted by those with their own agendas based on their aspiration of power for themselves rather than the good of the nation.

We all come into life with different potential producing vastly different results influenced by the environment/opportunity. Thus, we have two men of similar age vying for the most important office of the nation. With the exception of both experienced in holding this office of unlimited responsibility, there could not be more contrast in their lives.

With no reasoning whatsoever, some are questioning Biden’s mental capacity for serving another four years while ignoring the many more frightening signs of mental confusion emanating from the other’s loud egotistical personality.

Granted, the enhanced value of age in earlier times might have been generated by the relative few who reached the years that are now common. However, there is value in numbers. By no means do these elderly achieve these marks in the same condition be it physical or mental.

Just as each entered the world with different potential, each leaves with widely varying accomplishments and capacities. No one has yet found a way to know exactly when, where or how one reaches this end or where it leads. Medical science has its limitations and the human spirit its capacity to surprise us.

Predictions can fail us. Therefore, it behooves us to embrace other considerations when we compare. It is bizarre as to how we ever got into the questioning of the mental capacity of one who has served us admirably for decades while accepting that of the other with his serious illegal and immoral lifestyle shadowing his twisted explanations and plans for the nation should he be reelected.

In short, not all will get dementia whether a young death or “a ripe old age.” Time or age is only one aspect with a few years difference hardly a factor.

Living in a senior living facility, I see day after day the relatively young with dementia while those much older in years are “sharp as tacks.” It is my plea, my hope, my dream that such be recognized by society. Society needs every mark of talent we can muster.

It comes back to how life has been spent both in things we could control and things we could not. My experiences have been equal if not more valuable than my formal education. That is likewise true that President Biden’s occasional gaffe cannot hold a candle to the day after day roar of the red-haired egotistical dictator.

While it has the potential for the most damage, the political world is hardly the only area suffering from the idea that only the young have ideas to offer or are not locked into already failed ones. We need every iota of talent that we can muster to move in healthy directions for this war-torn split world.

Then, too, there is always the possibility in this changing world that failed ideas of the past could be the right thing for today. No matter the setting, timing is an issue: good, bad or otherwise.

I dare say that even unworkable ideas can be valuable lessons. Others that seem to be pipe dreams might be just the order or just another misbegotten hope. My caution, my hope, my dream, my plea is that more than age be considered in what the future might bring. We live in the moment.

Most particularly in the 2024 elections we must not let fear of possible slightly decreasing mental agility—not to be confused with capacity—based on age alone give us an inappropriate president who has already demonstrated the almost guaranteed unraveling of democracy.

Yes, I have a vested interest in more ways than one. The entire country has that interest, recognized or not. There is no room for bashing age. Just as in the past we all struggle to gain years, not to live in the past but to continue to experience life as we enrich the society by working with those to whom we have given life.

We, the old and young, must accept the experience of age as well as the excitement of youth and the intellect of both. There is strength in togetherness. It is time to “put our best foot forward” and stop the bashing of age.


  • Ruth Gadebusch

    Ruth Gadebusch, a former naval officer, was recently recognized by the League of Women Voters with its Lipton Award for volunteer work in various community endeavors. She was elected four times to the Fresno Unified School District Board, appointed by Governor George Deukmejian to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing and is an emeritus member of the Board of the Center for Civic Education.

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