Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Requirements to Be President of the United States

Normally, I don't write about hot button topics on the blog. I stay away from political and religious debates. I don't bait the bear with whether Heath is a better cowboy than Nick. However, the latest round of presidential candidate bull and the press reporting the stories has put a burr on my shirt tail.

I'm sick of the whining and finger pointing of candidates or their supporters bemoaning their opponent's ability to run for an office because they are not considered a good, practicing, member of a certain religion.  Excuse me?

Have you ,politicians, aspiring politicians, political supporters, members of the Press, and everyday citizens (just for good measure), bothered to read the Constitution? You know, the document that lays out the ground rules for the 3 branches of government (Executive, Legislative, and Judicial)? I realize that reading the original document in its beautiful English Roundhand script might prove difficult for some, but the document has been printed.

Article II, Section I of the Constitution deals with the requirements to run for the office of President of the United States.

 "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; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States."

Let's look at this line by line, shall we?

No Person except a natural born Citizen, that means you have to be born in the United States, and not just the 48 contiguous states, but Alaska and Hawaii are also bona fide states. At least that's what I learned in grade school, but I also learned that Pluto was the ninth planet in our solar system. Pluto seems to have lost favored planet status, but I'm pretty sure Alaska and Hawaii are still states.

That phrase Natural Born Citizen means your parents could have emigrated to the USA from Europe, Asia, Africa, etc. or Pluto.  If you were born in this country, you are automatically a citizen and you can become President of the United States even if your parents are citizens of another country or planet!

Let's continue. Or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President . The Constitution was adopted in 1787. Someone around at that time would now be some 224 years old, so that ship has already sailed.

neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, You have to be 35 years or older. (And there is no cap on how old is too old) The 15th. Amendment to the Constitution granted male Citizens the privilege to vote regardless of race or color.  The 19th. Amendment to the Constitution extended this right to women. So as long as you are 35 years older or older, it doesn't matter whether you are male, female, blue, green, purple or any other color. You can be President of the United States.

and been fourteen Years a Resident  within the United States. Ok, this last statement may be a little fuzzy as it doesn't address whether your 14 year residency must be consecutive, or residency as an adult.

Let's recap.There are only 3 simple requirements to be President. You must be a natural born Citizen. You must be 35 years old or older, and you have had to reside in the United States for a period of 14 years. Period.

No where in the Constitution does it state you have to be a good, practicing member of a particular religion.
You don't even have to practice a religion. You aren't required to have diplomatic or previous political experience. Being a member of a certain race, color, or sexual orientation is not required. Being married to the opposite sex or same sex is not a requirement. These aspects of a person's background shouldn't even come into question!

And members of the Press? Shame on you for reporting the he said, he said, she said. When ridiculous issues of whether one is a member of a cult or not, arise, set the record straight and remind your readers or viewers that this is not a requirement to be president.

If you're in Washington, DC, you can visit the National Archives and you can see and read the original documents. Admission to the National Archives is free! If you can't travel to Washington, DC. you can visit The National Archives on line and can read the documents and download images of the documents yourself.

Maybe reading The Declaration of Independence, The Constitution, and The Bill of Rights, should also be a requirement to run for any political office.


  1. Excellent post CJ-- the craziness has to stop

  2. I think you should send this to the editor of the Washington Post and/or the New York Times....