Opinion | Should We Worry About Joe Biden’s Age?

To the Editor:

Re “Biden Soon Turns 78. Get Over It,” by Jennifer Senior (column, Nov. 13):

I am a 74-year-old retired newspaper reporter who at age 14 met that font of youthful political expectation, John F. Kennedy, then a senator stumping for the presidency. Mr. Kennedy, the youngest person to be elected president, shares some important traits of governance with President-elect Joe Biden, the oldest person to be elected to that office.

Mr. Kennedy was intellectually curious and confident enough to surround himself with people smarter than he was. Mr. Biden is starting his transition by appointing the country’s most respected scientists and medical experts to his coronavirus task force.

Both Mr. Kennedy and Mr. Biden bring to the presidency a life forged in personal tragedy, giving them rare insight into the plights of others.

Age is relevant. Old age should be viewed as a chance to use the knowledge and experience accrued over a lifetime to do the things you’ve always aspired to do, to right wrongs, to go out the best you can.

From where I sit, in the same age bracket as Joe Biden, I think that’s exactly what he intends to do.

Greg Joseph
Sun City, Ariz.

To the Editor:

Jennifer Senior believes that President-elect Joe Biden’s age will not be a significant factor in his ability to carry out presidential duties and responsibilities. Not so fast. Yale New Haven Hospital has concerns about elderly physicians’ ability to provide safe medical care to their patients and requires a mental competency test for all physicians 70 and older. Other medical centers have similar guidelines.

Elderly physicians may not be as sharp as they were before reaching 70. They may make more mistakes. Pilots are asked to retire at 65, for the same reason.

Our presidents receive a full medical examination once in office. Should they be asked to take a mental competency evaluation as well? What if they fail?

Bill Somers
Worthington, Ohio
The writer is a urologist.

To the Editor:

As a member of the generation that said never trust anyone over 30, I now value the experience, insight and persistence of a battle-tested political veteran like Joe Biden. For those voters of Generations X, Y or Z who are aching for a younger leader, please be patient and ready to learn.

Think of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga. The hot young talent is not diminished at all, just elevated, by basking in the glow of the timeless old smoothie.

Richard Strickland

To the Editor:

Joe Biden and I belong to the roughly 16 percent of the American population who are over 65, the age when the employment market signals that it is time to leave.

Many of us are searching for opportunities to apply what we have learned during our careers, to draw on the “crystallized intelligence” cited by Jennifer Senior, to share our knowledge and insights with those who are working to achieve their potential.

Such opportunities are hard to find. The search for continued relevance and fulfillment too often is unsuccessful.

I am relieved that Mr. Biden’s application for the job of president has been granted. I hope his administration will think of ways that elder Americans can make meaningful contributions. In the meantime, a part of me envies Joe.

Marjorie Singer
New York

To the Editor:

Jennifer Senior asks us to “tilt the prism” and look at Joe Biden, who will be 78 when he is sworn in, as an inspiration and to be proud of “proof that we, as a culture, still choose wisdom and experience” to lead us. With all due respect, this is a lot of baloney.

Nobody I know voted for Mr. Biden, who is well past his sell-by date. We all voted against President Trump. No matter how you twist the prism, what we have is no great inspiration but an old, rather mediocre politician. Better than Mr. Trump, but that’s not saying much.

Andy Davis
Stephentown, N.Y.

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