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Jerry Brown Reflects on Mortality: "It's Inevitable"

Jerry Brown Reflects on Mortality: "It's Inevitable"

By Adam O'Neal - May 29, 2014

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Earlier this month, California's Republican gubernatorial candidates debated each in front of an Orange County audience. Gov. Jerry Brown, who is running for re-election this year, declined an invitation to the forum. Consequently, the hosts of the debate -- longtime critics of Brown -- placed a skeleton on the stage in his place.

Brown, of course, is very much alive. But at 76, the nation’s oldest governor is certainly further along on the arc of life than most. He told RealClearPolitics this week that he does contemplate death -- and has for a very long time.

“I’ve been thinking about my mortality since I entered the Jesuit seminary on August 14, 1956,” Brown explained, adding that he mediated on “death, judgment, hell and heaven” while studying to be a priest. (He eventually left the seminary and was never ordained.)

Asked what conclusions he’s reached after decades of consideration, Brown quipped, “I think it’s inevitable.”

And will he be OK in death?

“Ask me then. Those who know don’t say. And those who say don’t know.”

Brown also said that he doesn’t mind criticism of his age -- and he doesn’t consider it ageist.

“Criticism is well within the American political spirit of mudslinging. … I think they called Lincoln a monkey or something. I can’t remember, but they were treating him pretty badly.” 

Adam O'Neal is a political reporter for RealClearPolitics. He can be reached at aoneal@realclearpolitics.com. Follow him on Twitter @RealClearAdam.

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