You read that right.
Captain Morgan, the rum brand, wants to amend the Constitution and change the age at which you can run for president to be lower. Their argument is that there are a lot of ‘millennials’ who are changing the world in other ways that could change the world through politics.
This movement has not been enthusiastically supported by really anyone, and before the 2016 election cycle, this would have been laughable and probably a joke to boost sales. But now, we have a former reality television star that might actually be president, so why not let a 30-year-old run for president?
If you don’t know, the stipulation that someone running for president has to be 35 years or older comes from Article II, Section 1, Clause 5 in the Constitution:
“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.”
As the Constitution tends to be, it is filled with language that is almost intentionally ambiguous. Does the person need to be a natural-born citizen or a citizen of the United States? How are they different? Here, they appear to be rather interchangeable. Does that mean Arnold Schwarzenegger could run for president? What about Justin Bieber?
The Constitution never specifies what a ‘natural born citizen’ is, and that been rigorously debated in the courts recently, especially recently with former candidate Ted Cruz running, who was technically born in Canada to a Cuban father and American mother. Is he an American citizen because his parent(s) were?
Now, there are a lot of people who hold up the Constitution as if it was ripped out of the Bible or something equally holy, and this comes up any time there’s a question with either of the first two Amendments. But it’s just a document, like anything else the government passes, and it has been and will continue to be amended as time goes on. (To be fair, though, I do like freedom of press; let’s keep that one around.)
Am I saying that Captain Morgan has a legitimate and good point? Goodness no. This kind of millennial-centric thinking isn’t going to go over well with literally anyone else outside of that group and will never get passed or considered, even if it does get the required 10,000 signatures.
I do think the idea isn’t in the wrong direction though. If Donald Trump is elected president, he will be the oldest president ever elected, older than Ronald Reagan, at 70, and if Hillary Clinton is elected, she will be the second oldest president ever elected, at 69. (Ronald Reagan was 69 and 11 months when elected). Some people were worried about John McCain being too old to be in office, and he was 71 when he ran against Barack Obama in 2008.
With age comes experience, I understand and respect that, but there’s something to be said about getting some fresh blood in the mix. I’m not saying that fresh blood needs to be Justin Bieber, and I’m also not saying we need a bachelor president at 25 (can you imagine the media hysteria that would cause?). Fresh blood doesn't equate to inexperience, it means new people with new ideas.
I’m 22 years old. I don’t have a lot of experience watching politics outside of the last maybe eight years. I do know that something has gone terribly wrong to have a government that doesn’t act on behalf of the people and doesn’t pass legislation, a government that goes on recesses or shuts down because they can’t pass the budget.
I’ve watched people accuse our president of not doing anything and at the same time ridiculing him for trying to do something. I’ve watched black people, gay people, transgender people, honest police officers, refugees and children slain and nothing happen. No policy change or coherent debate had. I remember someone saying the moment they let children (read: babies) die and did nothing, that was when they cared more about their wallets than their people. I wanted to not believe them but repeated reinforcement has shown me this is true.
I don’t know if its cynicism or desensitization, but I already have lost a lot of faith and hope in this government and this country. I don’t like the political system anymore, and I’m sure I will get chuckles and head shakes and ‘how naives’ because of this opinion because, as I said, I’m 22. What do I know? What should I care? I’m a millennial; I should go back to my selfie stick and my SnapChat and my "Pokémon Go" and let the real adults handle politics. Right, because condescension has worked so well in the past.
I don’t know what I want to say here. This article started out as a little anecdote about a rum company trying to drum up publicity, but here we are, in the dark reality that our country is on the fringes of what we all hold so dear. The worst part is that we can’t even be mad at ourselves. We chose this, we asked for it. Maybe I'm just tired of all the runaround.