WNPR

What Does It Mean To Be 'Too Old' or 'Too Young'?

Apr 18, 2018

Joe Biden is seriously thinking about running for president in 2020. He's got a wealth of political experience and institutional knowledge. He's vibrant and in good health.  He's also seventy-five-years-old. Many of us are quietly wondering if he's too old for the job.

On the flip side, the teenage activists from Parkland, Florida are mounting the first serious challenge against the power of the NRA after a Valentine's Day shooting at their high school killed seventeen of their classmates. Like Goliath of the Bible, the NRA underestimated the skill and youth of an opponent whose method of warfare they didn't understand. 

At some point in our lives, most of us wonder if someone is either 'too old' or 'too young' to be doing what they’re doing - especially when what they're doing brings them more power than we think a person of that age deserves. 

Age is chronological but also hierarchical. My mother used to tell me to respect my elders when I was young. And I did. Yet, there inevitably comes a moment when the younger generation eclipses the generation that came before. The power of one ebbs as the power of the other flows. 

Today, we're in a strange time. Advances in medicine and technology are giving more power to the young at a younger age at the same time the older among us are living longer - many beyond ninety years. The transition isn't pretty. One is ready to take over. The other is not yet ready to go. 

How do we determine when someone is 'too old' or 'too young'? Upon what do we base those decisions?

This show is the 23nd installment of our ongoing experiment: Radio for the Deaf. Watch a simulcast of signers from Source Interpreting interpreting our radio broadcast in American Sign Language on Facebook Live.

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Colin McEnroe and Chion Wolf contributed to this show.