A question is making the rounds in some circles: At 79, is Joe Biden too old to be President?
When this sort of mental challenge arises, I find it a good exercise to apply the situation to my own life. So, I reframe the question: Am I too old at almost 71 to continue playing rock and roll music?
The first question I ask myself is who is being affected by our actions and efforts as we continue to try to do our jobs in our advanced age? Is someone being helped or harmed by what we, Pres. Joe and I, are doing?
The first person who comes to my mind who might be affected by my sometimes creaky efforts to pose as a rock and roll animal is my wife. Becky is good with my extracurricular gig, she tells me, as long as I enjoy it and don’t hurt myself. Well, I don’t jump off stages, do splits or leap around a la Mick Jagger. So except for occasional hand cramps, my health risks seem minimal.
I suppose millions of people might be affected if the president did or said something egregious owing to his age. But except for some verbal missteps, clumsy gaffes, and misremembering of history, I can’t think of anything he’s done that might be actually dangerous. But, then, my memory isn’t as sharp as it used to be.
Retro Dan would be affected if I stopped playing because he is one-half of the Retro Brothers. He and I still do okay playing songs we have been performing for the last five decades. People still hire us, so the marketplace seems to be voting for us to continue.
Mick Jagger, 79, as well as Paul McCartney, 80, are still out there doing a fine job at what they do. The marketplace still gives them money to keep going. True, the Marketplace is way more financially enthusiastic for Sir Paul and Sir Mick than to Tip Jar Norman and Dan, but that’s the way the Voice of the People, aka the marketplace, is supposed to work.
Pres. Biden also is playing his tunes the best he can via the Voice of the People, which is how he was elected. (I know, I know. Some would dispute that.)
The curious thing about the age question is that some in Pres. Biden’s own party are making the loudest noises about his age. The other party tries to throw any and every distraction his way as he attempts to govern; that’s how politics is done these days. I also understand that both major parties are made up of factions with sometimes radically differing ideals and desires. Party control of the presidency is an effort to stay in power and, if possible, maybe work for those ideals and desires.
Recent polls show approval ratings are pretty low for our current president. (I know. I know.) This is at least part of the reason for the noise to replace him. Voting is like the marketplace and if the customers aren’t buying what you are selling, you need to try something else.
Sure, President Biden moves a little slower, makes errors and forgets things. So do I. Just ask Becky. And ask Retro Dan about the wrong chords I play and the song lyrics I blank out on. Songs I have been playing for 50 years. But we’re still giving it a shot.
We citizens, most of us, want government officials who are knowledgeable, logical, empathetic and true to their word. It helps if they are nice. If we find out later we didn’t get what we bargained for, well, there’s always the marketplace. Try something else. And, remember, you don’t have to put anything in the tip jar if you don’t want to.
Norman Knight, a retired Clark-Pleasant Middle School teacher, writes this weekly column for the Daily Journal. Send comments to [email protected]