Bear with me as I rant against ageism in America. The special counsel report on President Biden’s handling of classified documents really punched my button. My purpose is not to debate whether Biden has the mental capacity to be president. My beef is that Americans are stereotyping the elderly as being as being doddering, well-meaning people with poor memories.
I actually skimmed the report and found this:
“However, for the reasons summarized below, we conclude that the evidence does not establish Mr. Biden’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Prosecution of Mr. Biden is also unwarranted based on our consideration of the aggravating and mitigating factors set forth in the Department of Justice’s Principles of Federal Prosecution. For these reasons, we decline prosecution of Mr. Biden.”
Then, in my opinion, comes the cheap shot. The report states that they cannot find sufficient evidence. Then, the special counsel adds:
“We have also considered that, at trial, Mr. Biden would likely present himself to a jury, as he did during our interview of him, as a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory. Based on our direct interactions with and observations of him, he is someone for whom many jurors will want to identify reasonable doubt. It would be difficult to convince a jury that they should convict him-by then a former president well into his eighties-of a serious felony that requires a mental state of willfulness.”
Why would you even take it to trial if you did not have sufficient evidence? Why did the special counsel throw this in?
HOW AGEISM IN AMERICA IS DEFINED
Ageism is defined by the American Psychological Association as discrimination against older people because of negative and inaccurate stereotypes. They point out that it is so ingrained in our culture that we often don’t even notice. The association notes that ageism is still socially acceptable in many respects.
AGEISM IN AMERICA IS RAMPANT
Consider this: nearly one-fifth of people over the age of 65 are still working. Additionally, the 75-and-older category of workers is the fastest-growing age group in the workforce.
Ageism at work is widespread, with over 40% of workers aged 40 and above having experienced ageism at work. A whopping 65% believe workers face ageism in today’s workplace. Sadly, highly talented workers are being overlooked for tasks, projects, and jobs, simply because they are deemed too old.
AGEISM IN AMERICA AND MENTAL CONDITION
Time Magazine states: Attacks on people’s age and mental condition often ignore the reality of growing old in the U.S. today. The average U.S. life expectancy rose from 68.2 in 1950 to 77.8 in 2020, and medical advancements mean that people are not only living longer, but are often at their maximum cognitive capacity deeper into old age. The prevalence of older people with dementia “declined significantly between 2000 and 2012,” a 2017 study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found.
Chronological age in and of itself is not a good indicator of what a person is capable of doing,” says Manfred Diehl, a professor studying lifespan developmental psychology at Colorado State University.
The special counsel rants that President Biden had a poor memory, saying he could not remember the dates his son died, when he became vice president, etc. “And his memory appeared hazy when describing the Afghanistan debate that was once so important to him.” (The debate happened in 2009). And, heaven forbid, he referred to his notes.
Never mind that, the day the special counsel was interviewing Biden, the president was busy dealing with the Hamas attacks on Israel that had happened the day before.
To be honest, I cannot remember dates either. I cannot tell you the day my father or mother died, the day my father-in-law or brother-in-law died, etc.
At one point the special counsel interviewed Ms. Hogan. The report states,” When interviewed, Hogan did not recall the August 2010 meeting with Mr. Biden. She did, however, identify her handwritten talking points on “best practices.” (And the president was supposed to crisply remember everything from 2009?)
I spent thirty years interviewing people about things that happened in the workplace and, I can tell you, crystal clear, sharp memories were hard to come by, especially after several weeks had passed. I would have to prompt their memories: Did this happen in the summer or winter? On or about March 3, did you…?
AGEISM IN AMERICA FINAL THOUGHTS
For our country’s sake, we need to focus on what people can actually do, not what we think they can or cannot do because of their age.