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Hiring of a President 101

PC: Society & Diplomatic Review

By: Denise Ellison

According to Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution, there are but three eligibility requirements for candidates seeking the Office of the President: being a natural born citizen, attaining the age of 35 and having resided in the U.S for fourteen years.

Really? Is that all?

We are talking about eligibility requirements for the leader of the free world—the President of the United States! Clearly, our founding fathers could not have begun to imagine the extraordinary advances made by a modern America, nor the complexities of the world in which we live today.

America is truly the greatest nation in the world, but recent failings in leadership indicate that her future may well hang in the balance.The current Trump Administration has ushered in a troubling and disconcerting time for Americans everywhere—and the issues at stake far surpass partisanship.

No established corporation in America would consider hiring a CEO without having relevant experience or a corresponding background in leadership. That the qualifications to become President of the United States are so tenuous—is incredulous, not to mention perilous to the survival of American democracy.

The Constitution’s archaic eligibility requirement makes it easy for virtually anyone with an ounce of charisma, extreme wealth or a narcissistic and self-aggrandizing personality to become leader of the most powerful country in the world.

Once elected to office, the broad scope of unhindered power conveyed by The Constitution to the President is totally astonishing and—left in questionable hands—virtually irrepressible.

And therein lies the danger.

What the former Trump presidency has done effectively, is reveal the astounding lack of checks and balances in our bureaucracy, beginning with the absence of clearance protocols for public officials— and especially for our country’s Commander-in-Chief.

If anything, the Trump Administration has made a sound case for legislators in Congress to propose an amendment to the Constitution that expands the eligibility requirements for becoming a candidate for President of the United States.

To be clear, amending the constitution is no small feat. It states that an amendment may be proposed either by a two thirds majority vote in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, or by a constitutional convention brought on by two- thirds of the state legislatures.

Over the past two hundred years, there have been numerous proposals to amend the constitution—11,698 to be exact with only 27 amendments ratified and approved. None, however, have addressed the need to expand eligibility requirements for the Office of the President.

Granted, it was once both lofty and inspiring to think that virtually any kid in America could one day grow up to be President. Not anymore. We now live in a complex and ever changing world that demands prudent and competent leadership.

America can no longer sustain the aspirations of power-hungry businessmen, reality show hosts or movie stars. Today’s America is in dire need of dedicated and eminently qualified stewardship.

Even if we survive the damages inflicted by the former Administration, the dynamics that have ensued may have set a precedent for even more ominous candidates to follow. It would only seem prudent for Congress to instill qualifying measures to protect and uphold America’s core values and principles.

Proposing an amendment to The Constitution, would offer at least some protection against inept, unqualified or unscrupulous individuals ascending to the most critically important role in American leadership. Expanding qualifications for the presidency would help to ensure that future candidates would at least possess some demonstrable understanding of how a democracy works and a selfless dedication to ensuring its future.

Qualifiers for future Presidential candidates should include any combination of experience in: elected office; public advocacy; human rights; or international diplomacy. In addition, a psychological profile should be mandatory for all applicants.

As this unprecedented chapter in American history continues to unfold amidst an onslaught of investigations, impeachment proceedings, political posturing and civil discord, it is hoped that Congress will soon revisit Article 11, Section 1 of the Constitution.

There is one redeeming little proviso in the Constitution that shines brightly on the notion that a revision might one day be in order. It reads:

“No person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of President.”

That was 200 years ago. In the interest of protecting our nation, perhaps it’s time for congress to consider an update.




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