Friday March 4th 2016
I am sure that I was no different than hundreds and even thousands of other young American children back in the 1950’s/1960’s when asked the question…”What do you want to be when you grow up?” And of course, every young boy (we were years away from women’s lib) would respond from everything ranging from a jet fighter pilot, GI Joe, Buck Rogers, Superman, a doctor, a fireman all the way to that prestigious person, President of the United States.
Yes, that’s right, my generation was taught that any boy in America could and had the right to grow up to be President. Even I thought that this was possible for me. I was a second generation American. My father’s relatives were just like thousands of other immigrants at the turn of the 20th Century “Coming to America” landing at Ellis Island in New York Harbor in search of a better life for their children and themselves.
So what are the requirements in order to run for what has become the most important Leader of the Free World and maybe even the world itself?
According to the U.S. Constitution which is the Document that guides and governs all actions that conveys how America should be run clearly states that a person must be:
- A Natural Born U.S. Citizen
- Be at least 35 years of age
- And has lived in the United States for 14 years.
Now of late, there seems to be some confusion over the letter of the law as to what a Natural Born Citizen implies. WE were taught back in our day that you had to be physically born on US Territory. That if you were born to American parents overseas that that was not acceptable. In today’s political climate this appears to be an issue or a non issue. There are many, many reasons why someone would want to grow up to be President but unfortunately, the road to get there has become muddled. In today’s world, it seems that you need to be part of a political machine. It seems that you need to already hold a political office and running for President is a natural progression. It seems that all too often we find people who run for office with their intent is on being a professional politician. This IS NOT and WAS NOT the intent when the Founding Fathers back in the 1780’s were writing the Constitution. We are in the midst of watching as the “established” Parties are trying through the democratic process to determine who will be their choice for the candidacy to run for President of the United States. Clearly the people have a major say but the Party is running scared and doing all it can do to influence and ensure that a “political” person of their choosing is chosen. Let the games begin. I am sure by now that you have realized that I am referring to the current race for President and includes two guys by the names of Trump and Sanders. The point of running for an office is to serve the people that they represent. Emphasis on the word “Serve”.
Oh the world of politics. We hate it and yet we can’t seem to get enough of it. Thus, it is so important to refer back to history from time to time. I say this because what is being portrayed in the press is that there is upheaval in the Republican Party. That there are major splits. There are issues with the Democrats as well. So I am going to go back in time to the mid 1860’s during the American Civil War. The current President, who by the way had more failures in his life than you can shake a stick at and who was not a professional politician knew that if an amendment to the Constitution declaring the rights and citizenship of the recently freed Black slaves was not passed before the Civil War was brought to an end who knows what would have happened to them. Well believe it or not, there was a rift within the Republican Party. 3 different points of view and each one thinking they were right. Lincoln was able to bring about a successful resolve to this matter but at great cost. Let’s now jump to the 1980’s when a man by the name of Ronald Reagan tried to become President of the United States. A former Hollywood movie star and yes, even a former governor of California but when the time came to run for President, he too had to buck the machine and the name calling that went with it. I wonder where the United States would be had Reagan not been elected? Under his watch the U.S. managed to revive the economy, managed to once again have pride and patriotism, managed to bring about an end to the Cold War.
In a phrase that Dr. John C. Maxwell, the World’s #1 Leadership and Management Authority (and my mentor and partner) uses in his latest book “Intentional Living” states…”I want to make a difference doing something that makes a difference with people who make a difference at a time that makes a difference.” I add to this a phrase from Charles Dickens’ Classic Novel “A Tale of Two Cites”…”It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.” I will add just a bit more and say that “It is the times”. People get into politics for many reasons the most important of which is because they feel a calling to serve others. To put others first and to add value to them. To find a way to connect and not just try to communicate. Politicians need to remember that defining moments will always define your leadership and that if you find yourself getting kicked in the butt enough times, you will either get your “but” out of the way or realize that you are making a difference because you are clearly out in front.
So as I bring this to a close, I state again that anyone born in the United States (male or female) can aspire and grow up to be President and we need to once again teach our children to dream to grow up to be the many things that await them out there that in many cases have not even been thought of yet.
So yes Mommy, when I grow up, I want to be a Leader…the rest will follow.
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