Evan Thomas’s Jan. 9 Wednesday Opinion essay, “How old is too old to be president?,” served as a reminder of the remarkable resilience of ageism. Amid an otherwise interesting assortment of historical allusions, a unifying theme could be found in Mr. Thomas’s column: Being old(er) is, in all probability, not a good thing. Hit a certain age and, as he puts it, you might be “worn out.”
Ageism is an interesting phenomenon. In the case of just about every other prejudice — e.g., based on race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, disability, etc. — reasonable people are at least aware of the idea that making sweeping judgments based on such identifiers is not okay. But ageism still gets a pass. We might ask why. Notably, Mr. Thomas lamented that older people “can be too confident in their judgments” and heedless of facts. Gosh, that could be said about lots of people, regardless of age, wouldn’t you say? Judging people on their age is getting old. Let’s make it a thing of the past.
Jo Ann Jenkins, Washington
The writer is chief executive of AARP.