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To Be or Not to Be - President of the United States

Dianne Lehmann

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Who in their right mind would want to be President of the United States? Speaking as someone who is somewhat disillusioned with our system for selecting a President, I have often been heard to say, “Anyone who wants to be President probably shouldn't be President. " It has been my experience that anyone who seeks a high (or higher) position in their company, community or government, usually has a personal reason for it. Maybe it is to make more money than the next guy, or an axe to grind, a need to feel special, an agenda of some sort for sweeping changes that they have gotten into their heads will make life better for everyone because they know better than any of us what we all need. And no, I don't personally know any politicians and have not been “burned" by any. I have just lived 55 years on this earth and seen a few things. And you don't want to get me started on the Electoral College.

Here are my thoughts on the issue of selecting a President of the United States. We should convene a panel (let's not call it a committee and no, I do not want to appoint a committee to select the panel) that will select a President based on qualifications. Okay, I will admit that someone (possibly the entire population of the United States) will have to decide what qualifications must be met to be selected President. Some things to consider in an eligible individual might be: how well do they perform under pressure; how good are they at staying healthy under continually stressful situations; in the past, have they made good decisions in difficult situations; are they really a team player; are they tolerant of others and other ideas; can they admit when they are wrong? I am sure that if you give it some thought, you could add many more qualifications to the list.

Then there is the issue of eligibility. Currently, you have to be a natural born citizen of the United States, at least 35 years old, and been 14 years a resident of the United States of America to be elected President. My husband, who thankfully has no desire to be President, was born in Germany. His family came to the States when he was eight years old. He is now 55 years old. He has no German accent, spent the majority of his schooling in the United States, is American in every way and yet can never be President. He is kind, tolerant, and wise beyond his years, has a real desire to help and, in my opinion, has the potential to be a good President. My point is that by disallowing those born in other countries, we could be missing out on some really good Presidents.

Possibly, the criteria for eligibility should be: 1) a potential President must be at least 35 years of age. Presumably, we have acquired a modicum of wisdom by that time. 2) A potential President must have resided in the United States for a minimum of 35 consecutive years. That way, someone of a nationality other than American would have lived here for as long as a natural-born 35 years old.

Then there is the issue of the term of the President. Considering that the President would have no choice in the matter of being President (remember what I said about he/she who wants to be, shouldn't be), the term probably should not be too long; maybe only two or three years. Also the shorter the term, the less time wasted if the chosen individual turns out to have been a bad choice. The person selected should have guarantees that what ever job they are performing at the time they are chosen to be President, will still be available to them at the end of their term, should they so desire. I am sure that there are other provisions that would need to be made that would allow someone to be conscripted into the office of President with grace.

There is a very good chance that this is not the answer; but it is something to think about. I know that if I were chosen (ain't gonna’ happen); I probably wouldn't be very happy about it; maybe downright angry about it for a while. But I also know that I would do the best job that I could. I would quickly learn what I needed to know, surround myself with people a lot smarter than me and really listen to them. Now, are you ready to hear my ideas about paying income tax?


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