Stop Blaming Biden for his Age: Blame him for his Real Problems

Biden’s signature legislation, the ‘Inflation Reduction Act,’ is a milquetoast approach to this existential crisis, a situation that the President himself has repeatedly acknowledged is an ‘emergency.’ Indeed this is an emergency, but the IRA pretends that there is still room for incremental action. His celebration of that bill as ‘the most ambitious for fighting climate change’ is despicable when the bar is so low it’s actually nonexistent and when this is only an initial step. In fact there was that room for incrementalism when I was a toddler, the first time Biden ran for president. Now? Now we must have radical changes immediately. Not 2050, not 2040, right now.

And by the way, all this push for Electric Vehicles is already causing incredible damage [links to The Washington Post]. Those rare earth metals don’t mine themselves. Lithium doesn’t make its own way to China for processing. We cannot live as we have been living, merely switching out fossil fuel vehicles for battery-powered vehicles.

Much worse, this president, like the previous especially, is enacting inhumane policies [NY Times] at our borders, policies that even violate international law [United Nations], and he does so in my name and in your name.

But meanwhile, let’s definitely focus on this man’s age. [heavy sarcasm] [links to NY Times (sorry I ran out of gift articles on the last one lol), CNN, NPR]

Literally, his age doesn’t matter. If it were Bernie up for reelection, very few of the current ageist folks would be saying anything about age—excepting naturally the Right, which would be peddling that mess as the only means of overcoming Sander’s appeal.

There are many critiques of the Biden administration. These critiques are not merely valid but actually necessary. However, the man’s age is not one of those critiques.

To the contrary, his age is a benefit. While I know firsthand that wisdom is also conveyed through navigating intense/extensive trauma, despite all the trauma I’ve endured and had to incorporate into my sense of myself (my understanding of ‘healing from trauma’), I know that I am yet lacking something essential to infallibly actionable wisdom, namely the perspective that accumulates with time.

I don’t react nearly half as intensely to heckling as I once did. I’m more deliberate every year, more measured, in my response to injustices. Over time my ability to discern the alternatives of a given situation, the vast majority of which appear at first as either/or propositions, continues to develop. These are all the work of experience accumulating over time.

There are tremendous benefits to aging. In our nonculture, however, we’ve come to idealize youth and ‘innocence’ (read: naïveté). I invite us to question this assumption, to challenge ourselves to see the potential flexibility of an older adult’s worldview, and to wonder what on earth could be the social value of naïveté and the lack of critical thinking capacity that comes with it???

Furthermore I wonder whether there isn’t a misattribution here: is it that Biden, the man himself, is too old, or is it that his ideas have aged such that they’ve gone stale? The man or his ideas? In case this is going overlooked, let me point out that these are different: too many young people carry sclerotic ideas; a great many older folks yearn for new ideas, who spend their long lifetimes without ever experiencing calcification of thought.

We could also speak of this ageism as an intentional distraction: if we’re so busy arguing about how old is too old to be president, then we are not going to be discussing what Biden has actually done and what he has not done, nor (more importantly) will there be much room to think carefully about how this president has conducted affairs.

In regard to the all-important how, I think immediately of the withdrawal from Afghanistan, which started too late, was conducted under unnecessary pressure, and was planned based on horrifically faulty assumptions. But Biden’s maneuver was deflection: ‘No one,’ he and his team assert, ‘would argue that we should’ve stayed in Afghanistan! We did the right thing by getting out!’ The remainder of their comments repeat the debate about withdrawing from Afghanistan, as if that were the public concern, attempting a distraction through rehashing a long-settled public position. In fact there were serious problems throughout the withdrawal that could have all been mitigated. (And no, their other defense, that the previous administration forced their hand, is not any more acceptable when it was entirely up to Biden and his team how to withdraw, and surely no one forced them to maintain their flawed assumptions.)

It seems to me that the ageist focus on Biden is another smokescreen to cause debate over nonissues in order to avoid valid policy critiques. The move is potentially even more effective in a campaign against the former president: in this scenario Biden need only maintain an aura of centrist dignity, fighting off perceptions of age-related incapacity, in contrast to Donny with the Combover’s hate-filled instability. (And no, you shouldn’t bet on any of Donny’s voters bothering over the age of their multiply bankrupt cult leader; the human mind is like a spring of contradiction and half-thought, lazy enough to not notice discordance.)

10 responses to “Stop Blaming Biden for his Age: Blame him for his Real Problems”

  1. The life expectancy of an eighty year old man is seven years. And health begins to fail slowly years before death. Including cognition and energy levels. Odds of him being capable in five years are not very high. He is not fully functional now.


    1. Interesting! But that’s a pretty grim assessment of aging. I’ve known people in their 90s with more energy than I and extremely sharp cognition—and they didn’t have access to the kind of care Biden has had. I won’t pretend I like the man or can even stomach voting for him next year. But I’m saying it would be better for all of us if the public discourse were more concerned about his serious failings in his role rather than speculating about cognition/capacity/functionality—because let’s face it, only the man himself and his doctors know that, and anyway, there are so many pressing concerns about his administration over the last few years and ongoing from which we are distracting ourselves (or being distracted) by this speculative debate over possible futures.


      1. Disclosure. Biden was born November, 1942. I was born June, 1942. That may be why I think about aging. And, you are right, assessments are grim.

        Even more grim is thinking the two candidates may be Biden and Trump. That is really grim.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oho! Yeah my grandmother (who raised me) was born that year, too. I’m a wee Millennial (mid-30s), but despite that I’ve been thinking a great deal about age for a while, lately in the context of the aging-effects of stress on the body, registered at the cellular level, yikes… I appreciate your perspective. —As a total aside, I wonder suddenly how a grim view of advanced age contributes to premature deterioration?


      3. Oh and yeahhhh… I’m trying to accept that electoral reality at the moment. With every legal action against the former president, his base is even more galvanized. So he’ll very likely win the primary no matter the particular Republicans running against him. I’m much less confident what happens in the general election: it depends on people voting for Biden again who, like me, can’t consent to his views of the world, how he’s handling desperate people begging for a chance at security, the oil drilling…. on and on, and all together they far outweigh his restraint against Putin and his personal relationship with Xi Jinping, or whatever else.

        As a historical anthropologist focused on late fifth-century Athens and occasional student of late-Republican Rome, I can assure you our own situation is both desperately grim and (probably) not as dire as that of Athens at the end of the 400s BCE or the Romans between the Gracchi and Augustus. Things are wildly precarious. But there’s still hope, and reasonable hope at that, since the majority of our military personnel would not be swayed by a political cause as a matter of personal principle—not all, but a strong majority.


      4. I majored in psychology and went to law school. After Trump was elected I was shocked and wondered how we got to where we were. I stared reading history books, starting with Rome in 100 a.d. Seven years later I have a pretty extensive history education, self educated, without all the final exams. My conclusion. We are in a mess, with prospects not good. If we run out of fossil furls in a fee decades, as predicted, we will go back to farming, herding and fishing. life was much more violent in the agricultural age. Wars and conflicts dye to drought and other weather problems and crop failures. Rome did great during the warm period with abundant crops. Then the weather cooled, crop production fell and do did Rome. Looks like the future for us to me.

        I know, people should think positive. I do, I am positive the future us grim.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Oooo sounds like you and I share many interests. Psychology *and* agriculture *and* more-than-modern history?! All I’d like from life is a small, self-sustaining farm to think critically about our species through time and write all the things. But also, yeah… most people don’t realize how fragile human social configurations are. The Mycenaeans and Minoans, along with every other group sharing the Mediterranean with them, are a great example of the fragility. (Egypt is the one great counter example: the Nile and buffer-zone deserts gave them the ability to ride out all the shocks down to the Romans).

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Oh but also, if you go back 233 years further, the fall of the Roman Republic is a case study for the contemporary US. 😬

        Liked by 1 person

      7. (And AHAHAHA that’s a positivity I can finally like!)

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Living independently on a small farm is a pretty satisfying life. I grew up in Appalachia. Chicken farmers, others raised crops, cattle, hogs, or timber. They lived good lives. I moved to the activity of Atlanta and worked for a big company for forty years. Since 2009 I have read and spent time writing. I miss working with people and those relationships. Farming was not for me. Too much manual work, not cut out for, and too much alone time. Like being a writer. Lots of time alone.

    Liked by 1 person

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