Point: Old officials bad for youth


    My grandfather doesn’t tell me what I can and cannot do in life. At 22 years old, I am fully capable of setting my own rules and regulations.So in the same way, I don’t want old politicians with antiquated ideas deciding my future.

    According to a government profile of the 109th Congress, the average age of senators is 60.4 years, the oldest in history. The average age of representatives is 55 years.

    Some of those senators formulated their core beliefs before the civil rights movement was cool and before Vietnam became annoying. I’m not saying members of Congress are behind the times, but someone born before World War II, such as ex-Ku Klux Klan member Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia, should consider passing the torch.

    Contrary to the adage, older doesn’t necessarily mean wiser.

    Why should an 88-year-old senator draft legislation he likely won’t benefit from, or men and women 30 and 40 years my senior argue on behalf of myself and others my age.

    Every generation is more progressive than its predecessor, so it’s only natural for newer ideas, seemingly radical at times, to become more and more popular. I think younger people would be more motivated to participate in politics if they could relate to those who have the power to make change.

    No one can decide our future better than ourselves. Unfortunately, it isn’t as simple as declaring your intention to run for office. One must be at least 30 years old to serve in the Senate and a representative must be at least 25 years old when taking office. The youngest member of Congress is Republican Rep. Patrick McHenry of North Carolina, 30. The youngest United States senator is 41.

    There is also an age limitation on our most powerful of offices: one must be 35 to attain the presidency.

    John F. Kennedy, our 35th president, became our youngest-elected leader when he was inaugurated at the age of 43. President Theodore Roosevelt was our youngest president; at age 42 he assumed presidency from President McKinley, who was assassinated.

    Both Kennedy and Roosevelt, though not spring chickens, were young and capable of running the most powerful nation in the world. I don’t consider 35 to be the dividing line between youth and adulthood.

    If I can vote at age 18 then I should be able to run for office as well.

    Starting this year, I’m not voting for parties; I’m voting for ages. I’m going to search the ballot for the youngest candidate. You’re 23 years old with no experience? You’ve got my vote!

    John-Laurent Tronche is a senior news-editorial major from Fort Worth.