Here we are again closing nearer to Election Day 2016 waiting to see who will win and be the CEO of these United States. The choices in candidates will be so starkly different, yet when we take the time to really pay attention to the issues that matter to the most people, we see that there are also stark similarities.
Every four years in November, the average voting American turns into a dedicated party pundit for their particular party. We listen to the talking points and the news stories and become economist, budget analyst, Foreign Policy wonks and social program experts. We volunteer to help register voters and work to encourage others to do the same, as long as they are voting for our guy.
This season has been no different in that we see everyday people calling into radio programs and writing Blogs about their political views. We see people with signs and posters stating where their loyalties lie. The political fever even bleeds over into our social lives; there are some bars that would be very dangerous if you were wearing a button or t-shirt for the wrong candidate. In realizing all of the points made earlier I decided to step back and take a look at why we or particularly me, get so wound up for the presidential race when I really don’t know what the rules are for being nor should I say becoming the President of the United States.
I think of myself as a very savvy voter; I understand the agendas of the major political parties at work in these United States as well as those parties that may not be as popular, but I never really asked myself “How do you become a candidate for President?”, or, “Who is actually responsible for vetting Presidents?” I was surprised and at the same time intrigued by what I found. Here are the criteria:
- Be Born a Natural Citizen – this means that you must be born on American soil and yes that includes Hawaii….
- Born outside of the United States to parents that were both US citizens at the time of your birth – One of my sons was born in Naples Italy @ a US Naval Hospital and was an Italian citizen for about a day until the state department issued him a social security number.
- There is a little-known loophole in the constitution that states you can be a candidate for President if you were born when the constitution was adopted in 1789. Sorry Arnold.
- You must be 35 years of age – Yep you could be as old as you want to be but never as young as 35. My belief is that in the time the constitution was written this may have been an acceptable age by which to expect maturity and compassion for diplomacy….But who knows, Kennedy was the youngest at 43 and good Ronald Reagan was the oldest sitting president in our history at 77 when his last term ended.
- You must live in the United States for at least 14 years – This one through me, I actually never knew that there was a time requirement. This was a new revelation and my first reaction was to ask rather the 14 years had to be straight or was this a total of 14 years altogether. Unfortunately this is one of the more vague parts of the constitution as there is no mention of whether one needed to be here 14 years consecutively or altogether. My other and more ambiguous question is why you would need to reside here for a decade or more to qualify if you are already a natural born citizen. I think of young children being born in the US and then being whisked off to be trained around the world and returned to the United States at 35 years old to run for President of the United States…I may write that novel one day…
Who is actually responsible for vetting candidates for President?
- The Federal Election Commission? – If you thought the FEC (Federal Election Commission) you would be wrong. In fact, its role is limited to the administration of federal campaign finance laws.
- Congress? – Afraid not, which I found strange but anyone who has read the constitution would be used to these vague mysteries.
- The leader of the House of Representatives? – Not at all unless there is a tie in electoral votes – The major power of the House is to pass federal legislation that affects the entire country although its bills must also be passed by the Senate and further agreed to by the U.S. President before becoming law (unless both the House and Senate re-pass the legislation with a two-thirds majority in each chamber). The House has several exclusive powers: the power to initiate revenue bills, to impeach officials, and to elect the U.S. President in case there is no majority in the Electoral College. In the event of a tie the candidates would have already been vetted and come to the end of the election.
- The truth is that candidates for President of the United States are only vetted by their individual parties. 99% of those in position to have the funding behind them for President meet and exceed the requirements for President. My thought of vetting was finding skeletons and exposing them to the world, but what I found is that the only validations being reviewed are being reviewed by those who have already drank the kool aid and would probably be able to overlook many things that the average Americans would not, knowing that the average American will probably never know.
The thing to do as a responsible voter is to not get caught up in the hype and the rhetoric of the campaign season. We as voters both rich and poor Christian and Buddhist Confederate and Yankee must go to the polls with our hearts open for our fellow Americans. This country is not built on the wigs of the rich it’s built on the blood sweat and tears of the electorate as a whole. Americans gave their lives and the lives of their mother’s, Father’s, Sons and Daughters for a cause bigger than themselves with the hope that their sacrifice would return 10 fold to their offspring and the future of this great nation.
We get caught up in things like who has the most ads, and who can tell the same lie a different way this time. Voters are actually waiting to make their decisions based on what’s said in political adds that are funded by who knows (Citizens United/ ACORN). The truth of the matter is that both the RNC and yes the DNC know that most of us have been brain washed to watch these ads and form opinions based on what is said and promised. The research shows that those that can get their message in the faces of enough people tend to win, no matter whether they have a prosperous, respectful, and meaningful vision for these United States. We have a responsibility as voters to cast our vote openly and honestly and live with the results whether our candidate wins or not. Once the election is over there should be no more party lines. We as the electorate should be focused on implementing the policies we agreed to with our vote that affect the American People of all walks of life. When this happens all Americans prosper not just a few.