Face Off: Is age a crucial factor when it comes to being a good world leader?

Face Off: Is age a crucial factor when it comes to being a good world leader?

Each week, two of our readers debate a hot topic in a parliamentary-style debate that doesn’t necessarily reflect their personal viewpoint. This week …

Veronica Lin, 19
All world leaders have crafted their own image – they are what they want us to see – and we can’t deny that age plays a big part in how people see them and judge their capability.

For starters, Barack Obama was a breath of fresh air for millions of American voters who had gone through wars and the 2008 financial crisis under the previous Bush administration.

During his presidential campaign, then-47-year-old Obama promised an affordable health care system, assuring Americans again and again that a new dawn is coming – in fact, he used “Change” as his slogan.

According to the Pew Research Centre, young people in the US are significantly more likely to vote for the Democratic Party due to their “liberal attitudes”. During his 2012 re-election campaign trail, “60 per cent of those under 30 backed Obama, compared to just 48 per cent of those 30 and older.’’ The outcome could have been a lot of different had he been 20 years older.

On the other hand, the behaviour of current US President, Donald Trump, has often been described as “unpresidential”. However, you have to give the guy a little credit for masterminding his incredible transformation from a businessman and reality TV star to the 45th president of the United States. 

In his Apprentice days, Trump single-handedly fired one contestant after another, and that classic one-liner, “You’re fired”, became his tagline. However, after announcing that he would be running for president, Trump began to show his tender side by spending time with his children and grandchildren.

Had he been younger, Trump – who is seen as someone who doesn’t respect women – would never have bested Hillary Clinton and taken his place in the Oval Office. Put simply, age plays a vital role in world leaders’ public profiles, and the current political scene would look very different if their birth certificates had different birth dates.

Angelina Wang, 17,  Chinese International School
In the current tumultuous global political landscape, the definition of what constitutes a “good” world leader can differ vastly from person to person.

While some may believe that age is a crucial factor when it comes to being a good world leader, I believe that is not the case. Instead, a leader’s ability to connect with people and having strong morals are the most defining characteristics, and these traits are not exclusive to certain age groups.

Firstly, a good world leader should be able to represent many groups of people within a state or country. Younger leaders may have more progressive ideas that better reflect the thoughts of modern society.

But that doesn’t mean older politicians can’t think progressively, too. For example, 77-year-old American politician Bernie Sanders, who supports liberal policies that target labour rights and economic inequality, has the backing of the country’s younger generation. 

Therefore, leaders of democratic countries should be elected based on their ability to represent their people, rather than an arbitrary age range. What’s more, a leader with good morals is crucial to the success of a country.

That is to say, a good leader should be able to promote good principles and lead by example, creating support for policies that may go against some people’s wishes but are better for their country. This skill does not rely on age: some of the most crooked world leaders have been older politicians.

In summary, we should elect a world leader based on their ability to do their job and their sense of judgment on very important issues that affect our planet. Younger candidates should not be dismissed simply for their lack of experience, or older candidates for their irrelevance. After all, age is but a number!

Edited by Nicole Moraleda

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This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Is age a crucial factor when it comes to being a good world leader?


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