Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Why Younger Leaders Get My Vote

Everyone has their list of priorities when it comes to deciding who will receive their vote. I've revised my list and my new No. 1 is age -- the younger one wins. 

Joe Biden is 78. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is 80. "Moscow Mitch" McConnell runs the Senate at age 78 and Minority Leader Charles Schumer is 69. 

Thank goodness Kamala Harris is only 56. 

I do not completely discount life experience as valuable in a leader. A few miles on one's personal odometer teaches us what works and what doesn't in navigating through life. At best, experience helps us avoid making the same mistakes if not twice, then at least not too often. 

But studies show the older someone gets the harder it is for them to quickly absorb new information and reach a decision. Old solutions become the fallback when confronted with a new crisis or challenge. Memories naturally fade. In leaders, the desire to remain relevant can overtake the desire to do the right thing. 

Is there a better example of bad judgement by an older leader than Pelosi's plan to host a dinner party for 50 people while the latest wave of the pandemic washes over us? And I'll bet it wasn't 81-year-old Majority Leader Stenny Hoyer who talked her into canceling it. 

California Gov. Gavin Newsom will appoint Harris' successor in the Senate. Whoever he selects will work alongside Diane Feinstein who, at age 87, is the oldest sitting senator. Only five other senators were older than Feinstein when serving, including Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, who rolled onto the floor at age 100. 


We will not benefit from the ideas and energy needed to deal with the issues of our century by electing, or sticking with, leaders likely to fail their next driver's license test. Experience is good, but has its limit in decision making. New must be the new new. 

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