Don’t waste older talent
Von Drehle seems to believe that senior citizens should all step aside and let young people run the country. To support this, he claims that most presidents were younger people. But life expectancy was much lower in the past, and there were fewer older people around. Further, medical advances have enabled more of us to remain alert and vibrant for many years.
Many older people retain active minds, vigorous bodies, and enjoy a mature perspective on life. Most workers 55 and over are reliable and hardworking, and have a lower turnover than younger workers. Churches and other organizations find that seniors are among their most active volunteers.
Victor Korchnoi won the International Chess Festival at age 70. Charles Dana wrote of The Peaks of Medicine at 78. Verdi wrote
Falstaff at around 80; Goethe finished writing Faust at 81. George Bernard Shaw was writing plays in his 90s.
It’s a waste of talent to expect everyone over age 70 to withdraw from life or leadership. Of course young people should have a say about our country, but so should all of us.
Emory Burton, East Dallas