I have a thought. Maybe it’s a good one. Maybe not. I’ll let you decide.
It occurred to me that in America, we love proficiency tests. We test teenagers with both a written and practical test before issuing them a license to operate an automobile. Many states even require employees of restaurants to pass an exam to get certified to prepare food. Lots of professions require schooling and proficiency testing before one can practice a certain field of expertise.
Yet here are the only prerequisites for becoming President:
- He/she must be a Citizen or Natural Born citizen of the United States of America.
- Must be at least 35 years of age.
- Must have resided in the United States for at least fourteen years.
That’s it. There is no requirement for the candidate to possess any type of knowledge or expertise in order to become the most powerful person in the world. The entire US military and our nuclear arsenal are in the hands of anyone that can raise enough money to campaign for the office and convince enough people (through a rigged electoral system – I’ll leave that for another article) that they should sit in the Oval Office. To be honest, I’m amazed that I never questioned this before. This is insanity.
I’m seriously thinking of contacting my representatives in Congress and proposing a Bill that would establish a standard of competence that anyone running for President or a seat in Congress would be required to meet before they would be eligible to get their name on a ballot. In order to meet these requirements, a test would be administered by a non-partisan panel that assessed the applicant’s knowledge of Government, History, Geography, Economics, Law, Ethics, Language skills, Problem solving abilities and Scientific knowledge. In addition, an independent psychological exam would be performed to determine the mental and emotional fitness of the applicant. Anyone failing any portion of the test would not be granted certification to run for public office on a state or federal level.
I also think a criminal background check and full IRS audit should be required. Normal citizens are required to undergo background checks for nearly every job now so why aren’t we checking our politicians? An IRS audit would prevent future presidents from failing to disclose their financial holdings that might prove to be conflicts of interest or tax fraud.
The most recent presidential cycle opened my eyes to many things. Not the least of which is how disastrous it can be if a highly unqualified candidate slips through our election process and lands in the most powerful office in the world. I’ve also learned that our current process is deeply flawed. We cannot rely solely on the judgement of the American people to select the best candidate or to properly vet anyone running for office.
The citizens of the US cannot allow this to happen again. We have a right and duty to demand better and we need to ensure this through a constitutional amendment. Too much is at stake to allow a mistake of this magnitude to ever happen again.