Michael Hiltzik is a columnist for the LA Times. Although supposedly a business columnist, he writes about cultural topics that shape our world. In this column, he takes issue with media bias against older people. As a woman approaching her 85th birthday, I share his view. Fifty years ago, I was physically vigorous, not so much now. But I know so much more now than I did when I was 35. I dare say I’m less impetuous, less likely to be caught up in fads, less likely to be fooled. I would rather be led by a wise person than a relatively youthful fascist like DeSantis or an old liar like Trump. Age is of far less consequence than character and beliefs. (I was going to say “convictions,” but that word favors Trump, who is probably going to have at least one conviction by November 2024, an unenviable record.)

Hiltzik writes:

The cry is heard that America has become a “gerontocracy.” That’s supposed to be bad, it’s argued, because our superannuated political leadership is out of touch with the electorate and blocking younger and (theoretically) more vigorous and intellectually vibrant leaders from taking their hour upon the stage.

Earlier this year, CNN called President Biden’s age a “hot topic.” Leaving aside that news organizations such as CNN have helped make it a hot topic, the real question is whether it’s anything more than that. The answer is no….

The gerontocracy critique also threatens to deprive us of our most experienced leaders. Rather than remove poor performers from their sinecures, the current fixation on age could remove from our political and economic structures men and women who have spent decades learning about the world and offering the wisdom born of long professional experience.

The U.S. State Department, for example, requires its professional foreign service staff to retire at 65, “when they are at the height of their wisdom and knowledge,” publishing executive and author Michael Clinton observed recently, a rule he attributed to “toxic ageism.” Some corporations require their top officers to retire at 60 or 65, while most are still willing to make a professional contribution….

Claims that a political gerontocracy is somehow undermining American democracy — the theme of so much political navel-gazing— simply don’t hold water. They depend on the notion that as we grow older, our political outlooks coalesce into something at odds with the public interest. Where’s the evidence for that?

It’s widely noted that Biden and his likeliest presidential challenger, Donald Trump, would be the oldest president if either wins election in 2024. Biden would be 82 on inauguration day 2025 and Trump nearly 80. Does that tell us anything about how their administration would unfold? Obviously not.

Biden would almost certainly run on his record of creating remarkably inclusive and progressive White House policies and overseeing an economy of job growth and economic expansion in the wake of the pandemic; Trump, judging from his most recent speeches, would continue to flog personal grievances based on his groundless claims of fraud in his 2020 loss…

Some of our political leaders have notched their most outstanding achievement at an age decades later than when conventional wisdom holds that they should have retired.

The questions raised about the physical and mental capacity of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), 89, didn’t apply to former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco), who compiled what might be the most successful record in House history by shepherding the Affordable Care Act through Congress in 2010 at 70 and Biden’s progressive policies to enactment after the age of 80….

As for whether older politicians are out of step with the younger members of the American electorate, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) didn’t seem to have much trouble connecting with youthful voters when he ran for president in the run-up to the 2016 election, at age 75.

Nor are there signs that the liberal Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has lost the youth vote because of her age, 73. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) seemed to have little trouble getting reelected in the last election, when they were, respectively, 80 and 89….

Quite plainly, the best guides to politicians’ adequacy are their words and actual performance in office. Few reach the highest echelons of American politics without leaving a record to be examined.

Republican presidential hopeful Nikki Haley, a former South Carolina governor, recently took a swipe at Biden’s age, remarking that he would be unlikely to live to the end of his next term.

Does that tell you anything about what she has to offer as an alternative? No; for that you’d have to delve into her positions on gun control (after a deadly school shooting in Nashville, she called for more metal detectors at schoolhouse doors but not more gun legislation) or abortion rights (she’s against them).

Who shows more mental acuity? Joe Biden, who occasionally stumbles over his words (apparently an artifact of his youthful stuttering)? Or Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), who recently called for a “national divorce,” i.e., secession by red states, at the age of 48?

Does the age of Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott explain his boasting about signing a 2021 law allowing almost any Texan to carry a gun in public — “No license or training is needed,” he bragged in a tweet. Abbott was 63 at the time, a relative spring chicken. How has that worked out for his Texas constituents?