The blessings of Biden’s birthdays | Opinion –

By Rev. Alexander M. Santora

Amy Walter and Tamara Keith predicted on “PBS NewsHour” last year that President Biden and the Democrats would take a drubbing in the 2022 mid-term elections. They were wrong. He did the best of holding on to Democratic gains as any president in decades.

Walter and Keith still appear on “Politics Mondays” on PBS. And are still wrong, stating that Biden’s age is a liability. The Star-Ledger’s Tom Moran just jumped on their bandwagon (”Biden’s a great president. But one term is enough,” Sept. 12).

“This is about winning, and your poll numbers are stuck at awful,” he wrote. “It’s not personal; it’s just business.”

But business can change a lot in 14 months until the 2024 election. One thing we’ve learned about polls over the last seven years: They are as reliable as meteorologists predicting the weather. Pollsters try to be scientific but it’s more an art — and a capricious one at that.

Moran’s mention of SCOTUS Ruth Bader Ginsburg was appropriate. She was greatly admired. Yet, despite many health challenges, which signaled that she was no longer up to the job, she clung on. And for what? It gave Trump one of his three SCOTUS appointments, who have caused enormous upsetment for the people of the U.S. She should have stepped down before God called her home.

There are examples of other leaders where the signs are there. Diane Feinstein’s multiple illnesses and absences indicate she has overstayed her time in the Senate. And while Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is clinging on, something is very wrong about declining in public as he is doing. Their health should matter more than hanging on to power, regardless of what it means politically.

The chorus of calls for Biden not to run has no basis in merit. Yes, he’s 80, but so are millions of people still active and working because they can. We crossed that threshold 50 years ago when we outlawed forced retirements based solely on age.

Whether you like Biden or not, he keeps a rigorous schedule of traveling, talking and exercising. He rides a bicycle, not a golf cart. There are some physical signs of aging, but that’s all it is. Nothing more, nothing less.

Imagine all that he has to juggle as president and acknowledge that his four-decade tenure in Congress and in the White House have prepared him unlike any other president in recent memory save for Lyndon Johnson.

And look at his accomplishments.

We should be thankful we have a president with the experience and tried-and-true testing at leadership and legislating in such a complicated and ever-evolving geo political landscape. Just look how he has guided the NATO alliance to support Ukraine. I wish he could push a peace treaty over the line, but he has restored the integrity of our international alliances after the disastrous dallying of Trump. No love letters, we know of, from North Korea.

I believe that democracy is on the line. More countries are flirting with autocrats and demagogues and that is a dangerous development. Biden is also wise enough to know that no relationship is perfect. India’s Modi is a dangerous man, but he still leads the largest alleged democracy in the world. Biden knows his failings but tries to salvage and support his egalitarian leanings. It takes a wise and prudent president to call out abuses but keep him in the fold.

There are many Democratic political understudies like California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer along with Cabinet pros like Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. Their day will come. Let them rack up the experience like Biden did so they are ready to step into bigger shoes.

In the meantime, let’s look to someone who has his position for life and almost unilateral authority: Pope Francis, who is doing pretty well at 86. Yes, he’s less mobile and has had some health challenges. But he lets us know what he is dealing with and adjusts accordingly. His mind is agile and his leadership is breathing new life into the Catholic Church. Some people in the church do not approve of his ideology, but there’s no doubt that he’s in charge.

He’s as old now as Biden will be when he finishes his second term. That’s should reassure all Americans.

Rev. Alexander M. Santora is pastor of the Church of Our Lady of Grace and. St. Joseph, Hoboken, and dean of the area churches. He is a graduate of Columbia University School of Journalism and writes the weekly “Faith Matters” column for The Jersey Journal.

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