Hey, Mitt Romney, no one should be goaded into retiring, not even a president

The Utah senator has every right to call it quits. But his call for President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump not to run again borders on ageism.

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President Joe Biden speaks outside Independence Hall, Thursday, Sept. 1, 2022, in Philadelphia and former president Donald Trump speaks to supporters at a rally to support local candidates at the Mohegan Sun Arena on Sept. 03, 2022 in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.

President Joe Biden speaks outside Independence Hall, Thursday, Sept. 1, 2022, in Philadelphia and former president Donald Trump speaks to supporters at a rally to support local candidates at the Mohegan Sun Arena on Sept. 03, 2022 in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.

AP/Getty

So now U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney is jumping on the President Joe Biden-is-too-old bandwagon.

The former Massachusetts governor, who received the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, announced he won’t seek reelection. And, in videotaped remarks, the Utah Republican called on Biden, 80, and former President Donald Trump, 77, the front runners in the presidential race, to not run again, too.

According to Romney, the country would be “better served” if Biden and Trump give way to younger candidates seeking their partys’ nominations.

“Frankly, it’s time for a new generation of leaders,” Romney said. “They’re the ones that need to make the decisions that will shape the world they will be living in.”

The World Health Organization says ageism “refers to the stereotypes (how we think) prejudice (how we feel) and discrimination (how we act) toward others or oneself based on age.”

The 2020 National Poll on Healthy Aging found 82% of older Americans reported experiencing ageism regularly. The survey found that:

  • 65% experienced ageist messages from the media.
  • 45% experienced interpersonal ageism.
  • 36% had internalized ageism.

As I wrote last week, ageism is tolerated because many of us have internalized it or don’t recognize it.

But ageism can cause harm.

“Ageism can change how we view ourselves, can erode solidarity between generations, can devalue or limit our ability to benefit from what younger and older populations can contribute and can impact our health, longevity, and well-being while also having far-reaching economic consequences,” according to WHO.

“Ageism is associated with earlier death (by 712 years), poorer physical and mental health, and slower recovery from disability in older age. Ageism also increases risky health behaviors, such as eating an unhealthy diet, drinking excessively, or smoking, and reduces our quality of life. In the United States, one in every seven dollars spent on health care every year for the eight most expensive conditions was due to ageism (U.S. $63 billion in total),” the organization found.

I can think of a few reasons Biden and Trump shouldn’t be in the running, let alone at the forefront of the next presidential race, and none of them has to do with age.

Biden has a stressful family situation. Besides having Republicans come after him with an impeachment investigation, his son Hunter Biden was indicted on three gun charges Thursday.

No matter how old you are, you never stop being a parent. No one would blame Biden, who has suffered family tragedies, if he stepped back for that reason.

And Trump’s situation is even worse. He’s the first former president with a mug shot. Do I need to say more?

Romney’s decision to give up his seat comes at a time when the question of “how old is too old?” to occupy the White House is a hot topic.

At 76, Romney is at the point when those who can retire are saying adios to a 9-to-5.

Still, stepping aside isn’t easy.

After all, for many of us, our self-identity is tied to our work.

“What do you do?” is often asked as an icebreaker.

As if our careers determine our worth.

They don’t.

Besides, is it Romney’s place to shame Biden and Trump into calling it quits?

Sen. Mitt Romney announced he won’t seek re-election. Sen. Mitt Romney in 2020 became the first senator in U.S. history to vote to convict a president from their own party in an impeachment trial.

Sen. Mitt Romney announced he won’t seek re-election. He also called for President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump to retire.

AP

Deciding to retire from something you love and see as a calling is stressful enough without being pushed.

For those considering retirement, I encourage you to plan beyond your finances — like how you intend to use your free time.

Whatever you do, keep moving.

“Retiring from work is a major life change that can bring stress as well as benefits,” according to the HelpGuide.org website, a nonprofit mental health organization.

No one should be coerced into retiring.

For more information on retirement readiness, go to: https//www.helpguide.org/articles/aging-issues

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