I usually disagree with broad generalizations used by writers like John Balentine to bolster often-weak arguments. However, given the voting patterns in the 2020 election, there may be some truth to his most recent slap at old people, whom he called “old fools.” The “wise young people” voted for Biden in much larger numbers, while the “silent” generation favored Trump. (“Remember the Maine ties to Sept. 11,” Sept. 10).

The observation of old fool politicians’ poor decisions also has some validity, considering that nearly a quarter of the Senate is made up of Republicans between the ages of 70 and 87, including the great Constitution-mangler, 79-year-old Mitch McConnell. It is worth noting that Biden is not alone in his septuagenarian presidency; Trump’s and Reagan’s tenures spanned their 70th decade, so they may all be in the old fools club. On the other hand, one danger of such broad statements about age and wisdom is that the numbers just don’t support it. Most U.S. presidents were in their 50s and 60s during their terms in office. Four whom historians consider among the very best were Lincoln and FDR, both in their early 50s, and Teddy Roosevelt and JFK, in their 40s. Among the very worst was Franklin Pierce, 48.

Following Balentine’s historical narratives is a little like that old parlor game, Gossip. One person tells another a theory or idea, and after it is repeated enough times, it becomes completely changed, with little or no connection to the original context.

The hazard of using too few sources in researching any event is that you may end up repeating unsupported gibberish. The internet has amplified the dissemination of misinformation with everyone spouting opinions as though they were facts and accepting anecdotal stories without questioning the motives or veracity of the source. It is better to judge people on their own merits, rather than painting them with the broad brush of bias so often used in this country.

Susan Chichetto
Bath