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The Captain's Log

The Captain's Log

Should there be an age limit for members of Congress?

Political party aside though, there should be an age limit for all members of Congress and those working in politics
Mitch McConnell, photo by Gage Skidmore, Flickr

Towards the end of August, Senator Mitch McConnell went viral for suddenly freezing at a press event in Kentucky, which was the second time in weeks that he struggled to respond to a question and required help from others. He first froze up on July 26 in D.C.,but a spokesperson for him said in a statement at the time that he “felt momentarily lightheaded and paused during his press conference” (CNBC). However, video evidence shows that it was more than just a pause; it was an extended period of silence and confusion. 


For McConnell to experience another episode only a few weeks after is very concerning. It raises the question about  whether or not there should be an age limit for members of Congress. McConnell is 81 years old and currently serving in his seventh term as the Senior U.S. Senator of Kentucky (R), which he has held since 1985. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that his health scares coupled with his age should serve as a sign to retire soon for the good of this entire country. 


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However, it doesn’t look like McConnell is going to step down any time soon, as he is continuing his campaign for reelection. If he were a woman, the demand for him to retire would be deafening and if he were Joe Biden, the demands would be even worse and The Daily Wire would create a 2 hour rant on why he’s incompetent. But since McConnell is a Republican man, he will probably continue his position unscathed and continue to stumble in public with no consequence. 


Political party aside though, there should be an age limit for all members of Congress and those working in politics. Just as the Founding Fathers had an age minimum for running for office, shouldn’t there be a maximum? Age doesn’t always equate with intelligence, and if we want the smartest and best individuals to run our country, then sometimes that means voting for someone younger who has mental acuity. 


McConnell’s age is not his fault, but holding on to a position of power for an extended period of time when your health is struggling can easily be seen as more dangerous than being the bigger person and resigning. Recently, it seems like the U.S. Government is being led by many elderly individuals – from Joe Biden, who is the oldest president ever at 80 years old, to Senator Dianne Feinstein who is 90 years old. 


Experience and age do not always equal good leadership, and I personally think that no one above the age of 80 should be able to have any type of position within Congress. Many regular jobs require retirement at 80, so Congress should too. Time will only tell what will happen with Mitch McConnell’s re-election campaign and the many other older senators, but there is no doubt that there should be a maximum age limit for those in office.

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Fiona Sullivan, A&E Editor
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