Early in the classic movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail, King Arthur approaches a peasant named Dennis from behind and mistakenly calls him old. Dennis quickly retorts that he is 37, so he is not old. This may not be technically true, as the average life expectancy during medieval times was less than 40 years old.
This leads to a hilarious exchange between Dennis and our young king. Dennis has no idea that England even has a king, as he did not vote for one. Arthur explains that the Lady of the Lake gave him the sword Excalibur out of the water, which signified by divine providence that he would be king. Dennis then declares that women lying in ponds and distributing swords is not a basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power comes from a mandate from the masses.
This, in turn, leads to a great political conversation about power, authority, and oppression, which you can view on the YouTube link below if you have three minutes and could use a good laugh.
Less of a laughing matter is that next year, we are coming up on yet another congressional and presidential election season. We will do our best over the next 14 months to keep you informed, not take sides with either party, as there is plenty of blame to go around, and we will try to poke some observational fun at what is going on in this highly charged political environment.
Let’s begin by talking about a topic that many candidates and news organizations are talking about… is there an age at which you should no longer be considered a viable candidate for office?
If it seems like our elected politicians are older than ever, it’s because they are. As you can see in the graph below, nearly a quarter of our congressmen and senators are over age 70. This is more than double the percentage that it was at just the turn of the century.
In the Senate alone, 34 of the 100 senators are age 70 and older. This may reflect both demographic and healthcare trends. It definitely shows that it’s hard to defeat an incumbent. This is true on both sides of the aisle.
Many do not want to leave office because they have gotten used to having great power, privilege, and wealth. This recently led former South Carolina Governor and current Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley to state, "The Senate is the most privileged nursing home in the country". Whether you agree with her or not, it is a topic that is being openly debated this election season.
We all know that age should probably not be the only deciding factor when determining who is competent to run for office. 93-year-old Warren Buffett recently sat in front of more than 30,000 people in Omaha, Nebraska, for nearly six hours with his 99-year-old business partner, Charlie Munger, and answered questions from the audience. Based on their track record, their answers, and their sense of humor, there is more to competency than age.
This will be a hot topic that many people bring up over the coming electoral campaign months. This will be framed not only by people's perspectives but by their agendas and wishes for the future.
Our friend Dennis from the Monty Python movie above tried to claim that 37 was not old. By the way, the movie was made in 1974, meaning that next year, it will be 50 years old. In my opinion, the movie shows no signs of aging. This is not an opinion that is shared by my wife, Rachel.
Over the coming months, many politicians will try to make the case that they are still young enough to be reelected...yet again. Election outcomes will determine whether they convinced enough voters that 80 is the new 37. We will continue to try to keep you in the loop with these important topics as we continue "Moving Life Forward".
© 2023 Jesse Hurst
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