Cross Currents: Should presidential age requirements be updated?

The Channels Opinion Pages | CROSS CURRENTS


Alloy Zarate

Illustration by Alloy Zarate, 2020

August Lawrence and Alloy Zarate

Currently the minimum age to be eligible to serve as President of the United States is 35. Some people agree that the knowledge, wisdom and experience that come with age are what any decent leader is made of. While others believe “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” that a country needs a young and in-touch commander at the helm. Should the presidential age requirement be lowered? Or is 35 the optimum age to be eligible for the presidency? At the opposite end of the spectrum, should a maximum age be enforced earlier to keep our leaders fresh and ensure everybody is represented in government? The Channels staff tackles the subject in this week’s Cross Currents:


August Lawrence, Opinion Editor

With age comes experience and with experience comes wisdom, which is necessary for our presidential advisors, but it does not mean wisdom can’t be found in the youth as well.

For too long America has been a country run by the older generations; those who are out of touch with today and have no idea what a modern America looks like or needs.

The older group of American presidents should move aside and let a much younger perspective take charge. There shouldn’t be an age requirement for eligibility to run for President of the United States.

Right now, the age requirement to be president is 35. This is too high.

An American president needs to be in tune with and understand the latest social issues and trends to be an effective leader.

A younger president would naturally relate to and be more interested in their people. 

John F. Kennedy was 43 when he became president.

Kennedy was the youngest president ever, notably famous for his landslide victory against 48-year-old Richard Nixon, winning with a platform of invigorating change and revitalization.

Kennedy’s “We choose to go to the moon,”speech, when he promised America would always be a youthful, forward-thinking country, is arguably his most famous.

America needs a younger view on things to get it’s best done. Do we really want an out-of-touch retiree as president?

The average life expectancy when the Constitution was signed in 1787 was only about 38. Factoring in a higher murder rate, a lack of proper sanitation, and the outdated medical knowledge of the time, its writers must not have expected future candidates to pass middle age when they outlined the presidential requirements in the second article.

America needs experience, yes it’s true, but more importantly America needs youth and energy at its head.


Alloy Zarate, Features Editor

Old men don’t accurately represent America.

The life expectancy for white men, the most privileged in society, at the time the constitution was written was mid-thirties, but the same goes for the younger age. The death rate was wild.

The requirement to be 35 to run for president makes sense.

So it makes sense that the founding colonizers weren’t thinking to include a maximum age limit for the presidency. But they also thought that the people they kidnapped and enslaved should be counted as three-fifths of a person.

Times are changing. The constitution is long overdue for a total revision and needs to include a cap on age to run for president.

Gen Z learned how to drive yesterday, we’re not ready to be in the most influential position on the planet.

But it’s time that we also keep people old enough to have opposed bussing in the 70s away from the oval office.

I get that it takes a long time to build up a reputation that Americans can trust. But in all that time, you may become out of touch with the realities of the modern American.

Joe Biden just became the oldest man to take the oath of presidency. When he was my age, gas cost 25 cents per gallon, there were no Americans in space and the country was still segregated.

There are old people in America and should have representation in the government, but the role of the president is to lead us into the future.

Someone who likely won’t be around to experience the true repercussions of their actions shouldn’t be the one shaping the nation.

At the same time, someone freshly out of college shouldn’t be able to throw their hat in the ring.

A seasoned politician going up against a child on a national stage would be embarrassing.

Young people have enough ego, exactly what we don’t need in a president.

The minimum age works, and should stay as it stands. But with Biden expected to end his first term at 82 years old, maybe it is time to rethink whether it would be better to enforce an updated maximum age.