Check this out: List of current United States Senators by age
According to that, as of January 10, 2010, only 10 senators are under 50 years old, the youngest being 40, while 27 are aged 70 or older, the very oldest being 92.
To be a US Senator, one must be at least 30 years old and have been a US citizen for at least 9 years. Interesting considering 9 years before you’re 30, you’re 21. Just like to be President, you must be at least 35 and have been a US citizen for, that’s right, 14 years. Because apparently if you’re under 21, you don’t exist.
So what we have here is a system that considers anyone under 21 to be non-existent, considers the time after that up until 25 or 30 or 35 to merely be infancy, and only upon reaching one of those ages are you permitted to actually lead.
And even then, the youngest current senator is ten years past the minimum age, and it is notoriously difficult for younger candidates to have any chance of election, though it has happened many times. True, that does have more to do with these being high up offices, and people needing to show they’ve already held similar positions and done worthwhile work to deserve the job. Then again, there have been numerous elections that have been between an older incumbent whose corruption and inethical practices are well known and a young candidate with a much friendlier record, yet voters still went for the older one due to a society that believes higher age always means higher competence. The 2008 Presidential election, of course, was a notable exception.
Now don’t get us wrong. We’re certainly NOT trying to discriminate against the elderly nor trying to dismiss the very real age discrimination they face all the time. We’re not saying they shouldn’t be holding our high government offices. All we’re saying is that they and the middle aged shouldn’t be the only ones. We’re saying that while they do have very much of value to contribute to our society, that their children and grandchildren do as well.
While some may believe the older politicians are looking out for the best interests of younger citizens, not actually living those younger lives themselves, and those younger lives being very different from what their own youth was like, they can only look out for us younger citizens so much. Sure, we can vote at 18, and we’re of course working to bring that down to 16, and more and more we’re getting politically and socially involved, but even that can only go so far when the Senate, Supreme Court, and other high governmental entities are occupied almost entirely by those much older and thus less able to truly understand the issues that affect our younger lives, a misunderstanding that often overrides one’s ability to make a good judgment on a situation.
Of course, that raises the question of what the answer is. Lowering the candidacy ages for the Senate and whatnot would not only be near impossible with them being in the Constitution and all, but would do little good here as voters tend to mistrust younger candidates anyway, though this is rapidly changing, so actually a constitutional amendment might not seem so impossible after all. But that’s far from something to worry with right now. What to do now is lower the voting age, helping remove the idea that people under 21 or 18 don’t exist or aren’t truly Americans, and encourage more youth involvement all-around, whether in government or other areas of society. The good news is both of those things are on the horizon, and even though the older generations will do everything they can to paint it as harmful, we’re here to say that we’re Americans, too! And we have some ideas of our own!