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Age and Experience

13 February 2008

In yesterday’s comments, I saw a concern I have heard from many people about Barack Obama: “He’s so young.” I was going to reply in the comments, but I’m frugal (reduce, reuse, recycle), so why use as a Haloscan comment what can be used as an entire blog post?

Barack Obama is currently 46 years old. If he were elected, he would be 47 at his inauguration.

John F. Kennedy was 43 when he took office.

Bill Clinton was 46 at his inauguration.

Barack Obama is not that young for a president.

Now, in my very unscientific survey of the people who have voiced the youth concern to (or around) me, I’ve come to the conclusion that often what is actually being voiced is, “Barack Obama is not one of us—that is, he is not a Baby Boomer.”

It freaks me out when I say things like, “Remember twenty years ago when…” and I am remembering something that happened when I was an adult. It freaks me out when, in order to remember something solidly ensconced in my childhood, I have to remember thirty years back. So I understand why there could be discomfort with someone not of Bill Clinton’s or George W. Bush’s generation running the country. But we’ve had Boomers in the office of the president for the past 16 years (I remember when Clinton was elected, and I was a young newlywed — eeeek!).

Often (but not always), wrapped up with Obama’s age is the concern that he doesn’t have much experience. In all honesty, I think what is more important for a president is the type of team he selects. Most of Bush’s team (Rove, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz) were so rigid in their ideology that they blocked out any dissenting voices and plowed ahead with their aggressions despite reasonable arguments against their plans. If this country can survive (albeit barely) such blatant mismanagement, then I don’t see how someone wise in the choice of advisors, with a vision for consensus-building (and without the fractionating baggage of distrust by such a large proportion of the population), couldn’t be trusted with getting the United States out of the muck.

****

School was indeed canceled today, so we’re going to have to play musical laptops, and I will need to carve out a quiet space for doing some work and not be distracted by shenanigans tempting me to do some knitting instead (I’ve switched knitting projects right now and boy, am I excited about what I’m doing!). What I’m trying to say is, forgive the treacly end to that last paragraph, I just wanted to get this posted before the day completely got away from me!

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