By Carly Berndt, For The Miami Student
It is my honor to report to you that the qualifications to run for President of the United States of America have not changed since the year George Washington accepted the presidency.
In case your elementary education failed you — which it probably did — and you are at a loss as to what these “qualifications” are exactly, let me enlighten you: You must be a natural born citizen of the United States, a resident for 14 years and at least 35 years of age.
So, in 16 years I will be announcing my candidacy for President.
“Oh, but liberal lady who writes for The Miami Student, you have literally zero political background! How can you lead a country with such a small,
underdeveloped skill set?”
I mean, I’ll have met the qualifications, and I do plan on winning a lottery or two in that time span, so I’ll probably be okay. Fear not, brave reader.
There is one main question that I want to ask and address, which has been sparked by the reality show that has become running for president.
Why are our standards so low?
This, amazingly enough, is not meant to be an insult at a particular candidate — though I could write at least four books bashing several. Instead of attempting to dent the ego of an individual, this is an attempt to dent the ego of seemingly well-established institution.
When the Founding Fathers first wrote the Constitution, they probably were not accounting for the overwhelming amount of money that a single person could have at their disposal just in time for the 2016 elections.
Since it is impossible to write a law based on facts and futures that are unknown, it would be ridiculous to blame them for our standards falling to “Trump 2016” levels.
And, since it’s even a more ridiculous notion to think that voting citizens would be properly educated and free of apathy, the blame seems to naturally fall on our current government’s failure to update the qualifications.
I am confident in assuming that, at the establishment of our country and our Constitution, these three loose, not particularly challenging — albeit direct — qualifications had to do with some sort of “equality” ideal.
Taken completely out of context and real-world application, eugenics (or, rather the democratic, American society version of equal opportunity) seems like a great and noble idea. Until you read about genocide and forced sterilization, at which point eugenics kind of starts to sound like the completely inhumane idea that it is.
There are a lot of things that separate 2015 from 1789, like plumbing, an upsetting lack of powdered wigs and excessive wealth, to name a few.
But, let’s stick to talking about excessive wealth for the next 300 words or so.
Though the fact is not well known, the United States is one of the only developed countries that does not provide strict regulations on campaign funding and spending. Yes, laws about such limits do exist, but have you ever heard of a clean politician who was also a winning politician?
Campaign financing and the dirty words and actions associated with it is an entirely separate conversation — a conversation that should definitely be had, but, still, separate. It just so happens that money is a very easy way to point out the fallacies within our candidacy qualifications.
As long as someone can speak well (enough), meet the three preexisting requirements and shell out a couple million dollars, he or she can pretty much do whatever they want regardless of skill or previous experience.
Someone can run for President simply because they are rich. What’s scarier, someone can win the Presidency simply because they are rich.
It is very easy to point the finger at financing and the overwhelming importance that the role of money has taken on in our society — that’s why I chose to pick it apart. But, to bring the conversation back to the more-than-moderately concerning lack of qualifications needed to run for President, let’s say that money didn’t exist and had no bearing on the lives of people or politics.
We, as a society and as a political power, still need to step up our game. Do you know a lot of middle-aged United States citizens who should be allowed to run for President? Spoiler alert: you don’t.
In short, I have had job applications to Skipper’s that had greater requirements than the presidential candidacy. We should want a country whose standards are more than an individual with a quarter-life crisis under their belt and a checkbook or two. We should want better.