Age is More than Just a Number: Joe Biden’s Historic Presidency

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Marley Dias, Editorials Editor / Politics Editor

Often the phrase “Age ain’t nothing but a number” is used to describe its insignificance, but when you are the leader of the free world, it comes into play. President-Elect Joe Biden is 78 years old and will be the oldest president of all time. 

When President Reagan left office, he was 77 years old and faced many accusations that he had dementia and other mental deterioration caused by age. In 1994, he announced that he did have Alzheimer’s disease, but it is inconclusive whether he was suffering from this condition during his presidency. 

Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills and, eventually, the ability to carry out the simplest tasks, according to the National Institute of Health

Regardless of that fact, President-Elect Joe Biden will be starting his term at an age larger than any other president before, and some expect challenges to arrive due to his age. Last year during the September Democratic debates, he commented about record players that alarmed the audience.

When discussing educational inequities, he said, “Social workers help parents deal with how to raise their children. It’s not that they don’t want to help, they don’t know what to play the radio, make sure the television — excuse me, make sure you have the record player on at night, the — make sure that kids hear words, a kid coming from a very poor school — a very poor background will hear 4 million words fewer spoken by the time we get there.” 

He was trying to raise a point about the “30 Million Word Gap” study conducted a Stanford University, proving that “By three years of age, there is a 30 million word gap between children from the wealthiest and poorest families”. It seemed he still believed record players were a common household item, only reminding audiences of his seniority. 

The mention of record players still stands as alarming in this context, given their current unpopularity in the last two decades after the digital revolution of music. Now, most people listen to music using streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music, and record players have grown out of style to reference the way Biden did.

His comment was an isolated incident and not a representation of Biden’s demeanor or health. Still, it did make some think that he was out of touch with current generational tokens. 

There are not many worries to have about Joe Biden’s age, as he proved his spritely and exciting attitude throughout his presidential campaign and will most likely continue to show his youthful energy during his presidency.