During a debate with Walter Mondale, the question of age was raised with Ronald Reagan.  Reagan quipped, “I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent’s youth and inexperience.”

 We will not be witnessing a debate about anything youthful in this year’s presidential race.

President Trump is 74 and presumed Democratic nominee, Joe Biden is 77.

Through the years, candidates have participated in debates about the issues our country is facing at the time of the election.  Debates usually involve the incumbent bragging about his job performance and his accomplishments while his opponent criticizes and questions the decisions made by the current administration.  Always the same format.

Their answers, of course, always have the ‘party’ response, which is laid out prior to the debate.  Both Republican and Democrat responses have remained stagnant over the years because new ideas would involve learning a new script.

I usually watch the televised presidential debates even if I have already decided on a candidate. Watching it always involves eye-rolling because campaign promises are easy to make and difficult to keep.

Debates are traditionally a way for the candidates to introduce their party platforms.  This year President Trump has challenged his opponent, former Vice-President, Jo Biden to a different kind of political test.

Trump has repeatedly questioned the mental fitness of Biden.  Last week, it was reported that Trump thinks Biden would fail a simple cognitive test and challenged him to take one.

Never, have I ever heard a presidential candidate challenge the other to a cognitive test.  Voters should be concerned if that is the ‘hot topic’ this election year. What is next? A winning game of horseshoes?

Trump said he took the test and doctors were “very surprised” when he “aced” the cognitive test. The White House has refused to say when he took the test or why.

Biden said he had taken several cognitive tests recently. Why? Did he fail one?

I still want to know why the doctors were surprised at Trump’s results.

 When told about Biden’s claims during a Fox News interview, Trump insisted Biden must have meant coronavirus tests because he could not pass the other test.

The thought of these two questioning each other’s mental faculties would be laughable if this country were not in the middle of a pandemic and unprecedented racial division.

While the rest of us have real concerns about things going on in this country that directly affect us, these geriatric yahoos want to play the age card.

The test that Trump took in 2018 was the Montreal Cognitive Assessment.  It consists of 30 questions that take about ten minutes to complete.  The patient must identify pictures of animals, name the day, date and month of the current year and repeat a series of five words immediately and again a short while later.

For the record, people in glass houses should not throw rocks.  The reality is they are both slipping cognitively.

In February, Biden told a crowd of supporters he was running for the Senate.  In June, he mentioned the 120 million people who have died from COVID-19.  It was 120,000.  He said Democrats “choose truth over facts”.  He slurs his words and has memory lapses repeatedly.

Trump has just as many elder bloopers.

He referred to the 9/11 attacks as 7/11 multiple times.  At a press conference in April, he told reporters Americans were getting “one million eight hundred and seventy thousand million tests.”  He tweeted that two of his greatest assets have been mental stability and “being, like, really smart.”  And let us not forget the infamous question about the possibility of injecting bleach inside the body to kill the virus.

We have a minimum age limit of 35 to be a candidate for president.  Maybe we should have a maximum age.

Studies have verified that aging does cause decline in numerous cognitive skills.  One study suggests general knowledge and comprehension peak at 50 years.  Vocabulary, which is a measure of accumulated intelligence peaks at late 60’s and early 70’s.

Various studies proved that it becomes more difficult to pay attention and multi-task as we grow older. 

As a society, we value age.  Older people are supposed to be more knowledgeable and experienced, but at some point, we all suffer from age-related issues.  As a senior myself, I can verify that. First it is our eyesight, then our hearing, then we cannot remember why we walked into a room.

Being President of the United States has tested the stamina of younger men.

These two arguing over which seventy-something years old has the most ‘senior moments’ makes me want to take a nap.

Anita McGill is a former publisher of The Sentinel. She can be reached by email at anitamcgill99@gmail.com.

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