Yes, there is a place for older people in public service

By Scott Fein | July 17, 2023

The President’s age has been on the minds of many. A legitimate consideration but might there be another perspective. The question of whether an old, experienced man should engage in politics has been a concern since the Greek philosopher Plutarch grappled with it nearly 2,000 years ago. But more so than ancient Greece, our world is fragile, autocrats threaten the use of nuclear weapons, our climate is at the tipping point and international and domestic relationships are frayed. Who should we choose to guide us through the maelstrom? There is unquestionably a mental and physical decline that comes with age, but can it be outweighed by the steadiness of experience, management with moderation, and, a sense of how actions relate to the past and may influence the future. One recalls the late Richard Ravitch, who help shepherd New York through a fiscal crisis in the 1970s and at the age 78 agreed at the behest of the Governor to re-enter public service as Lieutenant Governor and help steer us through yet another crisis. All of our years are numbered, but those whose years are more than likely numbered in single digits, may provide a political perspective so desperately needed. Youth and energy are unquestionably the keystones of a successful society, but maturation may be the quality of a successful leader in times like these.

Scott Fein, Editor, Making A Modern Constitution: The Prospects of Constitutional Reform in New York.