Opinion By Linda Sutter – February 9, 2024
Ladies and gentlemen,
I am compelled to address a topic that weighs heavily on my mind: the impact of aging on our community and the imperative need for cognitive accountability, especially among our elected leaders.
We find ourselves in a community where the passage of time is evident in every corner, where the wisdom of age is revered, but where the challenges of maintaining a sharp mind often go unacknowledged. And yet, when it comes to those entrusted with leadership positions, the stakes are higher than ever.
Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a Tri-Agency meeting, an event meant to foster collaboration and progress within our community. However, what I witnessed was disheartening. The chair, a figure of authority and responsibility, demonstrated a noticeable decline in cognitive acuity. Despite the best intentions, the agenda was repeated not once, not twice, but three times, and the meeting could not be brought to a fruitful conclusion. It was a moment of embarrassment for all present, and it shed light on a sobering reality: our leadership, like all of us, is subject to the effects of aging.
We must come to terms with the fact that our abilities may wane as we grow older, and nowhere is this more evident than in the realm of leadership. The chair’s inability to fulfill their duties was not a reflection of their character or dedication, but rather a stark reminder of the natural progression of life. It is a realization we must all confront, for none of us are immune to the passage of time.
As members of this community, it is incumbent upon us to recognize when our leadership has reached its zenith and to gracefully acknowledge when it is time to pass the torch to the next generation. It is a testament to our commitment to the greater good, to the integrity of our institutions, and to the legacy we leave behind.
Let us not shy away from the difficult conversations, but rather embrace them with humility and compassion. Let us honor the contributions of those who have served with distinction, while also acknowledging the inevitability of change. And let us, above all, strive to uphold the principles of accountability, transparency, and respect, for they are the bedrock upon which our community stands.
In the face of aging, let us find strength in our unity, courage in our convictions, and hope in the promise of tomorrow. Thank you.