Hcgl291_mccain_20080109223036A common statement I have heard, begun first by Chuck Norris in his campaign endorsement for Mike Huckabee, is that John McCain is simply too old to become president. I have thought about this a lot since I am aging myself. I sure hope, if my health is as good as McCain’s at 71, that I can still produce good work and be a leader in my own context. Aging does slow one down, certainly, but experience and age both offer many positive benefits not respected enough in the West. History bears out the fact that some of our greatest leaders were beyond 70 years of age when they did their finest work.

Today a column in the Wall Street Journal  by Ryan Cole, a DC based writer, raised this question and answered it better than anything I have read to this point. Whether you like John McCain or not this kind of thinking should put to rest the age question if you have an open mind. If age is a real issue here then it works in reverse and Obama is just too young! I do not think Obama being 46 or McCain being 71 is a real issue at all and I hope we avoid this one as we get nearer the election. I doubt, however, that some can avoid trying to make this a political issue, given the way campaigns are run these days. And I doubt that we will not hear that Obama is not ready for prime time since he is too young. (This was used against JFK and worked to help him. Once in office the Russians tested him and found out he was a strong leader who would not flinch!) Frankly, we do not know who is and who isn’t a great leader until they lead and that is what it is. With McCain we have more of a public record, than with Obama, but age is not the real issue in the end.

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  1. John February 27, 2008 at 1:35 pm

    Absolutely! Age doesn’t really matter in most contexts. It’s about leadership, maturity and the drive to know and the desire to “do” that matters most.
    I have a friend who just turned 21 who was recently elected to our city council in a town of over 100,000. He is currently the youngest elected official in the state of CA, and is also the youngest elected offical ever of a town over 50,000 people, in our state’s histor. This “Kid” is mature beyond his years, driven beyond measure and he has an insatiable appetite to know and do, and yet he does it with humility and a teachable spirit.
    On the other end of the spectrum, I have a dear friend who is turning 94 in a couple of weeks who puts most 39 year olds (that’s the age of this writer) to shame as far as work ethic, full calendars and once again an insatiable desire to know and to do. As a retired medical doctor, this wonderful friend became an author at 86, and is in the process of finishing his 15th article,his third book, and he is in the process of chairing the largest Christian writer’s conferences on the west coast– scheduled for 2009!! He leads a bible study in his home attended by people of all ages, attends BSF weekly and as the founding elder of our local presbyterian church, he served on the pastoral church committee and lead a charge to assist the congregation he has served for 60+ years to capture a biblical perspective for their incoming shepherd. He refuses to quit, and he continues to grow, learn, and stays humble and teachable. If he were running for president today at 94, I would vote for him. (even though he may walk a little slower than Obama) 🙂
    It’s about leadership, period. Young or old.
    Have a blessed day John…..I wish I could go to that conference and watch you and the priest.

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