Time For Amendments #28 & #29 !!!

My father was a ‘self-made’ man.  Armed with only an eighth-grade education, after serving in the military during World War II, he worked his way from the bottom up to become a successful hotel manager for one of the largest hotel chains at the time (1950s-1960s).  With a few exceptions, those days are over and today an education is a ‘must’ in order to achieve a lucrative and satisfying career.

constitution

The framers of the U.S. Constitution wished to make the office of president accessible to a wide range of people, common people, people who understood the needs of the nation and its people.  Therefore they did not stipulate an educational or experience requirement in Article II, clause 5.  The only eligibility requirements are:

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.

In 1787, when the Constitution was drafted and subsequently ratified, it was rare for a man to be college-educated, and in fact only about 60% of adults, excluding slaves, were literate. Making a college degree a requirement would have limited the number of people eligible to run to a handful of scholars.  And making experience in federal government was a no-brainer … the Constitution was establishing the federal government, so there was no possibility in 1787 for anyone to have experience in the newly-created government.

Throughout the years, as times and attitudes have changed, there have been a number of amendments to the Constitution … 27 times, to be exact. Some amendments are to correct oversights in the original document, others to accommodate more modern thinking, such as the 13th amendment, ratified in 1865, prohibiting slavery, or the 19th, which prohibits denial of the right to vote based on gender.  The original Constitution has proven to be a viable foundation for a democratic government, and has certainly withstood the test of time.  The world, however, is dynamic, constantly-changing, and there are areas of the Constitution that need tweaking from time to time in order to keep up with ‘progress’.

I think the time has come to seriously consider two new amendments to the U.S. Constitution: First …

  • Limits the number of times that a person can be elected to Congress to two terms of six years each for senators, and three terms of two years each for representatives.

Term limits for Congress were initially left out of the Constitution because the framers, though several had concerns, ultimately feared such a rotation could lead to governmental dysfunction.

Pros:

“Even good men in office, in time, imperceptibly lose sight of the people, and gradually fall into measures prejudicial to them.” – anti-federalist Melancton Smith, 1788

“I apprehend that the total abandonment of the principle of rotation in the offices of president and senator will end in abuse. But my confidence is that there will for a long time be virtue and good sense enough in our countrymen to correct abuses.” – Thomas Jefferson, 1788

Cons:

[The] greater the proportion of new members, and the less the information of the bulk of the members, the more apt will they be to fall into the snares that may be laid for them.” – James Madison, 1788

constitution-2

Constitutional Convention – 1787

By 1995, some 23 states had adopted term limits for their Congressional delegations.  But in May 1995, the Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, ruled that in the absence of a constitutional amendment, neither states nor Congress may limit the number of terms that members of Congress can serve. Today, there is still debate over the value of term limits, but a recent poll shows that 3 out of 4 citizens are in favour of limiting Congressional terms.

More recently, in January of this year, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Representative Ron DeSantis from Florida, proposed a Constitutional amendment calling for term limits similar to those I stated above. In order to become law, the proposed amendment would need to be passed by a 2/3 majority in both chambers of Congress, then be ratified by three-fourths of state legislatures before going into effect. It faces an uphill battle, at best.  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is against the idea, said, “We have term limits — they’re called elections.”

Until the last decade or so, my thinking was along the same lines as Senator McConnell.  I believed that only those congressmen and women who were doing a good job would be re-elected.  But, Mr. McConnell himself is a prime example that sometimes even the worst of the lot will be re-elected, for whatever reason.  It is too bad, in a way, because we will likely lose some valuable talent if term limits are imposed, but I do think that it is an idea whose time has come.

Second, I would propose that we have a combined education/experience requirement in order to run for president, requiring a relevant four-year degree OR at least one of the following:

  • Served as vice president of the United States.

or

  • Completed one six-year term in the U.S. Senate

or

  • Served at least six years (three full terms) in the U.S. House of Representatives

or

  • Served at least four years in a cabinet post requiring Senate confirmation

or

  • Completed a four-year term as governor of a state

or

  • Retired from the military after achieving the rank of four-star general or admiral

If this sounds too restrictive, consider that every president dating back to President Truman would have qualified under these requirements except the current officeholder. In addition, the candidate should at least have read and understand the U.S. Constitution.  Perhaps a simple written test?  He/she should at least understand what it is they are swearing to uphold when they take the oath of office, unlike the current officeholder.

I do not anticipate either of these to become ratified amendments, at least not any time in the foreseeable future, but I do think that both are ideas whose time has come.  Both have been proven to be shortcomings in our current law, allowing Congressmen to stay in office long after they have forgotten that their purpose is to serve We The People, and allowing a thoroughly incompetent, unqualified man to become president. Just something to think about …

22 thoughts on “Time For Amendments #28 & #29 !!!

  1. I did enjoy reading this post Jill, thank you for the information on the constitution and also your opinions and suggestions.
    I don’t feel that confident or qualified to comment on your suggestions and leave that to you and your fellow citizens.
    One of the problems seems to be that Capitol Hill has been so polarised by pressure groups that consensus has faded away; thus people lost confidence in the system, thus in desperation the current President.
    I would only humbly suggest…Lobbyists, they should be curtailed, even limited to civic groups (I know they would be liable to being influenced by Money and Extremists, but you can’t get perfection in any form of govt.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Roger … you make me laugh when you say you are not qualified to ring in on this! You probably know more about U.S. politics than 75% of the nation’s citizens!!! I agree with your take on lobbyists … the NRA being one of the biggest and, in my book, the most evil, Koch brothers running a close second … it sends to We The People the message that it is only about how much money one has, not whether one’s vote counts. Oh woe woe, and thrice woe! Fornacazoni!!!!! (How am I doing???)

      Liked by 1 person

      • HI Jill.
        You can most certainly use Fornacazoni as far as lobbyists are concerned!
        You’re doing absolutely fine, and when you are vexed by something and your granddaughter is around don’t forget ‘Oh…spiffle!’ (a Mary Poppins accent does add a certain something ) 😉

        Liked by 1 person

        • Did you ever hear the children’s song: Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo? It has a catchy little tune and nonsensical lyrics. Well, I found myself, earlier today, singing a made-up few lines to the tune of Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo. Fornacazoni, cute macaroni …. 😀 Oh, and by the way, the granddaughter is 22 years old, and has friends whose language is even saltier than mine, so no worries that her tender ears will be corrupted 😀

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Term limits are a great idea….for OTHER district representatives. I’d be the first to say “go for it,” until someone plans to limit MY representatives. Most voters want to either retain the status quo…on the premise that “the existing evil is better than the unknown evil,” or throw out “all of ’em” and elect new ones that will (in theory) change everything for the better. Look at all these Trump Loyalists who are in the news now saying “I voted for him, but now he’s betraying me by taking away my health care, deporting my husband who should be exempted from being considered an “illegal.”

    The world has always been run by Oligarchs…from huge nations to little townships.

    I also like your proposed amendments… I do question that having a college degree or prior experience in governing is any guarantee of common sense OR intelligence. Some of our worst legislators (we all know who they are, on a personal level) are Harvard grads. The average Trump supporter tends to be suspicious and resentful of college grads.

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    • Yes … sigh … but who could have predicted that the people of this nation would be stupid enough … or unenlightened enough … to actually vote the man into office? It’s rather like … you don’t think you have to cover all your electrical outlets because you think your child would never stick the handle of a spoon into one. Until she does. Then you cover the outlets. We have a saying here in the U.S. “it’s like closing the barn door after the cow got out”. 🙂 BIG hugs!!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Excellent post….As you well know ‘Amendments’ take an immense amount of ‘courage of conviction’…..AND getting around those who hold the reins of power….often the privileged. 😉 Hugs!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Excellent suggestions. You know I am all for term limitations — despite the arguments against them which strike me as self-serving. I would prefer to see a few newbies stumble about the halls of power than to see professional politicians grasping for power with both hands.. And please note Jefferson’s reference to “virtue.” This was a given at the time: citizens would exhibit the “social virtues” that directed them toward the common good. It might have been true then, but it certainly is not now. So much of the success of a republic depends on education and the possession of the social virtues. But then our republic seems to have transmogrified into an oligarchy with the likes of the Koch Brothers at the helm. I notice they are setting up a fund to put pressure on Congressmen to vote as they are directed by the wealthy. Talk about “virtue”!!! Good post, my friend. Much food for thought here….

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, my friend! I think the greatest compliment any post can receive is that it provoked thought! At least, for me.

      Yes, I agree with you on term limits, though, as I said, I used to think differently. No longer do tha majority think so much of the ‘common good’, and not even what is best for them, but rather of what they ‘want’ at the moment. Greed and immediate gratification seem to have replaced the virtues of which Jefferson spoke. After last year’s fiasco, it becomes obvious that we cannot trust the voters to weed out the bad. New blood is sometimes a good thing, and I think we need some of it in Congress.

      And yes, several of our European friends have commented that we are on the path to oligarchy … it may well be so.

      Thanks again!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I totally agree that representational democracy needs to be fixed, not just in the US but in the rest of the world as well, but I’m not sure specifying such a list of requirements for POTUS would work the way you hope. If anything, it would mean the entrenchment of professional politicians rather than the reverse, and I believe that professional politicians are a huge part of the problem. I would rather see an honest, naive man elected as /our/ Prime Minister. At least his mistakes would not be malicious. As for the present incumbant of your highest office, perhaps a mandatory lie detector test?

    Liked by 2 people

    • You are quite right in that my suggested list would likely keep the ‘honest, naive man’ from office. My list, I suppose, is more of a knee-jerk reaction to the current officeholder and a solution to keep this fiasco from EVER being repeated! And yes … a lie detector test! Although, I read an article the other day that said it is possible that he is so entrenched in his lies, has come to believe many of them, that he could possibly pass a lie detector test! Sigh. 🙂

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