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Dementia: 2022's Word of the Year

AMERICAN THINKER - Noel S. Williams - DEC 10, 2022

Actually, dementia is a devastating condition. Apart from memory loss, symptoms include difficulty communicating, reasoning, planning, problem solving, and executive functions. These are indications that should alert us to impaired cognitive functioning in our political leaders so we can offer them a cognitive test.

Image: Gage Skidmore/Gov. Tom Wolf

The 2022 Word of the Year is… oh, wait a minute, I forgot. Oh, yeah, it’s “dementia.”

Actually, dementia is a devastating condition. Apart from memory loss, symptoms include difficulty communicating, reasoning, planning, problem solving, and executive functions. These are indications that should alert us to impaired cognitive functioning in our political leaders so we can offer them a cognitive test.

Dementia is one of the major causes of disability and dependency, especially among older people. Though age is not determinative, impaired cognitive functioning among our elderly politicians is apparent. Indeed, several keen observers, including Joe Concha, have noted the geriatric composition of our legislature.

With co-morbidities like the disease of liberalism, it produces demented Dems like Biden, Pelosi, Feinstein and Fetterman -- though Fetterman has other medical issues making him incompetent. In fact, even absent dementia, progressives are quite bonkers; for example, harboring liberal economic views can lower conscientiousness and increase neuroticism.

Perhaps overlooking the “mother of all parliaments,” some like to claim that our Senate is the world’s premier debate chamber. How long can it maintain that reputation with members like Dianne Feinstein of California and senator-elect Fetterman?

Age is just one risk factor for dementia, but it’s disconcerting that the average age of members of the House at the beginning of the 117th Congress was 58.4 years; the average age of senators, 64.3 years. Even more troubling, the risk of dementia rises as you age, especially after age 65. No wonder Elon Musk declared that people over 70 should be barred from political office.

That’s wishful thinking, because the Constitution applies no upper age limit for the Presidency or Congress. Neither does it provide for term limits; in fact, a majority of delegates to the Constitutional Convention of 1787 believed that longer serving members of Congress would become more effective.

The Supreme Court ruled a constitutional amendment is required to limit the number of terms members of Congress can serve. In the meantime, during election debate season, we (debate commissions, sponsors, or even opposing candidates) might extend the option for geriatric candidates for statewide office (say, above the standard retirement age of 67) to take a cognitive test. Those who refuse will at least be identified before mail-in balloting kicks in.

Congressman, and former White House physician, Ronny Jackson has noted Biden’s dementia-related symptoms, and has recommended he take a cognitive test. I see his point: Biden’s bizarre behavior, from shaking hands with a ghost to being escorted by the Easter bunny, is alarming. Perhaps more disconcerting are his ominous overtones about nuclear Armageddon, and his warnings of severe illness and death. Can it get much worse: the ugly Grim Reaper in Chief has dementia? If we get the leaders we deserve, what have we done so badly…?

Dementia can manifest itself with childlike behaviors, as when Biden threatens to punch people, or when Pelosi petulantly ripped up President Trump’s State of the Union speech. Indeed, Nancy Pelosi is almost as incoherent as Biden, the Australian’s Foreign Editor Greg Sheridan observed. Her MSM minions can’t protect her by claiming this recent video was doctored -- just see the closed captions. Her 2022 press conferences were almost as uncomfortable as Biden’s befuddling presentations.

Incoherence manifested from dementia were also evident when she confoundedly conveyed that tax cuts are unpatriotic, or that Trump’s DACA proposal was subterfuge to make America white again. Her communication and reasoning skills were questionable when she impulsively arranged for a photo on the Capitol steps (and then doctored it) to commemorate white men no longer representing a majority of the Democrat caucus.

Those suffering from dementia often become suspicious of those around them, accusing them of improper behavior. After her sexist disparaging of white guys trying to negotiate an immigration deal, petulant Pelosi bizarrely claimed that Dreamers -- otherwise known as young illegal immigrants who commit disproportionately more crime -- make America more American.

That brief review of petulant Pelosi’s misstatements and misdeeds just about encapsulates all the dementia symptoms mentioned above. Thankfully, her demented leadership is finally relegated to the scrapheap of hissy history, though the new leader of House Democrats, Hakeem Jeffries, is potentially prone to the liberal disease.

It’s a sensitive subject, but California Senator Dianne Feinstein’s cognitive decline is even more noticeable. Other than to provide a solid Democrat vote, should she really be serving in supposedly the World’s most deliberative legislative body? At 89, she’s had a long, remarkable career already.

Though his softening brain is tragic, and not age-related, we can ask the same of Pennsylvania senator-elect Fetterman. Does he have the wits to advocate for his constituents, or is he merely a rubber stamp? He was pretty witless during his debate with Mehmet Oz, beginning with, “Hi, Good Night, Everybody.” Then it went downhill from there. If Joe Manchin can be led up the garden path by Chuck Schumer’s subterfuge, what chance does Fetterman stand?

If we followed Musk’s suggestion, then about 21 senators would be barred. That may be too draconian because many elders are quite functional. Dementia is not a part of normal aging; for example, Senator Chuck Grassley is 89, but still has his marbles.

More immediately, during the 2024 election debate season, we might shame geriatric candidates out of their bunkers to the cognitive testing center. Actually, it doesn’t take very long, and can even be administered remotely, so scheduling inconvenience would be an implausible excuse to hide. Caveat emptor: if voters choose to ignore the results, they might get the demented candidate they deserve.

President Harry Truman lamented that seniority and senility are both “terrible legislative diseases.” The average age of senators in 1951 was 56.9. Now it is up to 64.3, with commensurate increases in senility. Biden has also proved that senility can be a terrible presidential disease. That’s why the word Dementia deserves to be the 2022 Word of the Year.


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