Famed underachieving Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is not allowed to be president of the United States. You see, she was born in 1989 and just turned 33 in October. The U.S. Constitution dictates that the president must be a minimum age of 35.
In view of the ongoing fiasco of the Biden administration and the fact that Joe Biden turned 80 earlier this week, there is movement afoot to place a maximum age cap for serving as president. Some say the right age for that is 75. That would disqualify both Joe Biden and Donald Trump from running for the White House in 2024.
According to some commentators, our forefather Avraham was 75 when he discovered that there is a G-d in the world and that He alone is the sole Sovereign with a unique relationship with the Jewish people. Avraham was 99 when he was circumcised and 100 years old when he had his son Yitzchak.
Last week’s Torah reading states: “Avraham was old, but still immersed in daily life; G-d blessed Avraham with everything (including a son).” In other words, it seems Avraham was becoming elderly and seeking to slow down in some fashion. Don’t forget that his wife Sarah had just passed away so there must have been some turmoil in his life.
Had Avraham been younger, he may have gone out to find a shidduch for Yitzchak himself. But as the Torah states, he delegated the effort to Eliezer, whom he trusted implicitly, and instructed him on which Divine signs to look for in order to orchestrate the match between Rivka and Yitzchak.
The realities associated with age changed dramatically from the generations prior to the Flood as compared to the generations that followed. For example, we know that Avraham lived to the age of 175 and Yitzchak to 180. Before the Flood, as we know, Noach lived till 930; his descendant Chanoch, the Torah tells us, died young at the age of 500.
Here in the U.S. today we have an issue with the age of our leadership, but issues far different from what those early generations had to contend with. Biden, according to many health experts, is experiencing rapid cognitive decline. That in itself is not the problem for the U.S.; the real troubling aspect is that Democratic Party leadership, with the assistance of the mainstream leftist media, are pretending there is nothing amiss and that Biden is doing a great job.
In a few weeks, in the Torah, we will be introduced to Moshe at the age of 80, when he stepped up and followed the Divine directive to lead the Jewish people. His older brother, Aharon, who was the first kohen gadol, at age 83 was granted the privilege of Divine service in the Mishkan. As far as the elders of Israel, well, I suppose we can assume that most were, in fact, rather elderly.
Here in the U.S. in the aftermath of our midterm elections, we are also dealing with leadership and age. If you watch videos of Biden during his lackluster and soft-schedule campaign leading up to the 2020 election you get the impression that compared to today’s Joe Biden he was much more spry, responsive, and alert. The contrast to the president today is, frankly, shocking.
Biden will be 82 in 2024. If he wins and serves until 2028, he will be 86, the oldest president in U.S. history. Observing him today and realizing how much he has deteriorated since 2020 one can only draw the conclusion that the Democrats are either kidding or lying, the latter being the most likely choice.
Outside of the fantasyland that the White House has become and in the aftermath of the Republican takeover of the House of Representatives, some more sobering decisions that have a lot to do with the ages of the personalities involved in our political process are under discussion. Speaker Nancy Pelosi at age 82 has decided to step away from leadership of her party, but of course will continue to serve in the House. Her Number 2, Congressman Steny Hoyer, at 83 years, is also planning on stepping away from leadership.
For now, Joe Biden is hanging in there and acting like he’s running again, basically because the Democrats have no one of any value to replace him. Biden’s low rating in the popularity and job performance polls are higher than that of Vice President Kamala Harris, so that does not exactly bode well for the future of the party.
This is not about age discrimination but rather about cognitive sharpness and the ability to effectively interface and communicate with other world leaders on behalf of the U.S. Of course, anyone can misspeak, but few have done so with the comic consistency of Joe Biden. Last week while speaking in Cambodia he said that he was in Columbia. Of course, he was reading from a teleprompter, which has led some over the last two years to say that whoever is operating the White House teleprompter is the person who is really running our country.
It’s important to recall how we got into this situation in the first place. Senator Bernie Sanders, also an octogenarian, was about to take the lead and win some primaries unless the Democrat Party handlers figured out a way to take him down politically. Right behind Sanders as a probable Democrat candidate was Senator Elizabeth Warren, another disaster waiting to happen to the country.
That left them, for better or for worse, with Mr. Biden. You know the rest of the story.
These days, too many of our elected leaders seem to have overstayed their welcome, never mind their effectiveness. One of the Trump platforms, if he manages to be successful in his future run for the presidency, is the introduction of term limits on all levels of government.
Up until rather recent times, the concept existed that with age and experience come competency and, hopefully, effectiveness. Perhaps that is why Hashem did not really communicate with Moshe until he was almost 80 years old, and maybe that is why Avraham did not really interface with Him until he was 75. By today’s standards their careers would be drawing to a close rather than just beginning.
There is another dimension to leaders as they advance in age, and we’ve seen it in Israel. Bibi Netanyahu is a great and natural leader of Israel, but at 73 years of age he may see things differently than he did at 50.
Ariel Sharon was a great leader of Israel until he reached his mid-seventies and began thinking about his legacy and how history will remember him. That’s when the idea of the withdrawal of all the Jews from Gush Katif was created. The situation was the same with Yitzchak Rabin just prior to the Oslo Accords, which was meant to surrender most of Judea and Samaria to Yasser Arafat and his terror-inclined cohorts. Both Sharon and Rabin made terrible miscalculations. Their intention was to be remembered as peacemakers, but what they planned didn’t work out.
Young leaders like Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, 44, and former UN ambassador Nikki Haley, 50, are potential national leaders who have more to consider than how they will be remembered in the history books.
At the same time, don’t think our leaders from Biblical times had it so easy. Avraham faced a lot of opposition and there was more than one revolt plotted against Moshe and Aharon. Back then G-d was on their side—that was made pretty clear. Today, all we can do is hope that is so.
Read more of Larry Gordon’s articles at 5TJT.com. Follow 5 Towns Jewish Times on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for updates and live videos. Comments, questions, and suggestions are welcome at 5TJT.com and on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.