Senator Mitt Romney announced he won’t seek reelection to his seat next year so that a “new generation” of leaders can step up.
I’m not sure how easy a time he would’ve had getting reelected, but let’s take him at face value in his reasoning.
I don’t think our actual problem is chronological age. Hear me out.
Benjamin Franklin was pretty much the old man of the American Revolution. But he was a polymath, an inexhaustible lifelong student, and seeker of knowledge. As such, he was a magnet for younger cast members in the founding story of our country. “Young at heart”.
Pope St. John Paul II served from 1978 to 2005 and was a dynamic world and faith leader throughout his reign—but there was an electric phenomenon around this man and young Catholics. They responded, historically and consequentially, to his rallying cry of “be not afraid” to leave worldly things behind and follow Christ. It had been true even from his days as a young priest and bishop in postwar Poland, and it never stopped. The result being that there is a vanguard of JP2-inspired priests, nuns, deacons and laypeople energizing Christianity around the world, especially the developing world.
Chronological age paled next to the vibrancy, sincerity and timelessness of what these men represented to much younger people then, and now.
We don’t just need younger political leaders, especially if they’re already “old at heart”.
And some of them got old while they were very young.