North Texas Daily

President Joe Biden’s battle against ageism

President Joe Biden’s battle against ageism

President Joe Biden’s battle against ageism
April 10
13:46 2021

President Joe Biden announced that he would be running for reelection in 2024 during his first presidential news conference on Mar. 25. This has caused a lot of stir recently as Biden was reported to aides that he was considering only serving for a single term. Not a lot of people have faith in Biden’s ability to serve as president should he serve past a second term. At 78 years old, he is currently the oldest president to serve. He’s going to turn 82 in 2024 and turn 86 if he completes two full terms in 2028. However, this shouldn’t be a detractor of one’s capability to serve.

There is a saying that ageism is a fact of life in the American workplace and Biden has been fighting the uphill battle of this before he even took his oath of office. There was an incredible amount of campaign ads attacking his age with pictures of him looking clueless and withered, courtesy of photoshop. Ageism is a silent form of prejudice. Negative stereotypes undermine and criticize the status of elderly people. Take “Ok Boomer” as an example. At first glance, it’s a retort at boomers who berate or blame younger millennials or Gen-Z for problems. But if we look at the term as more than a playful comeback, it’s conditioned us to be dismissive of an older population of people whether we intend to or not.

Mental health and memory often have a negative connotation with senior citizens. The media has more than played a role in causing the public to question Biden’s mental health. I remember watching videos of Biden’s speeches at rallies, press conferences and interviews and being slightly alarmed at the stammering or slight repetition of his words. Biden’s stammer is not due to old age, but due to a stuttering problem that he has grown up with. Though stuttering can be reduced by speech therapy, it’s not a condition that can be cured.

What causes people’s apprehensiveness about the age of Biden is not purely limited to his mental and physical well-being, it’s because we are walking on uncharted territory. We’ve had sickly presidents serve in the past, but we associate older age with declining health.

Former President Ronald Reagan’s age was always made an issue during his time in the oval office and Biden was older in his first day in office than Reagan was on his last. However, it can’t be overlooked that Biden had more votes cast for him than any other presidential candidate in U.S. history. Age didn’t play a factor for Biden’s supporters casting their vote for him, his policies aligned with their views.

What isn’t often brought up is Biden’s physical health. Biden works out five days a week and refrains from smoking and drinking alcohol, according to medical reports acquired by The Guardian. His physician reported that his cholesterol levels and his blood pressure are perfectly healthy. Despite his physical health being on point, Biden is self-aware and has stated that he would only serve one term if he felt his body was not up for a second run. God forbid if something happened to him, there is a presidential line of succession with Vice President Kamala Harris being able to take up his role in leading the country.

At the end of the day, we can’t point the finger at Biden’s age and use it as a deterrent against him. That mindset is narrow minded and an excuse at its core. Judge the policies of the man before you judge the man himself. Time is a fact of life not something to be weaponized against a particular demographic of people.

Featured Illustration by Pooja Patel

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Adrian Maldonado

Adrian Maldonado

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