I stole the following from conservativecathy444 on Tumblr. If s/he takes issue with my blatant thievery, I’ll take this down. But, what is said here needs to be spread around. Often. I could wish I were as eloquent.
I have always taken issue with the idea that somebody should or even could be “qualified” to govern in this country.
… I just hear this literally every day, and it’s something I feel strongly about.
What qualifies a person to be president? What kind of resume do they need? A long career in national politics? Perhaps a few terms as a governor or Congressman/Senator? A Law or Political Science degree? Ideals and principles that align with those of the majority of the population?
This country was conceptualized, fought for, framed, created, and run by radical revolutionaries whom we would all call “unqualified” by today’s standards. If George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson ran for President today, we would call THOSE MEN “unqualified” based upon their pasts and their lack of political careers, rather than judge them upon their principles, their passion for justice, their religious values, their stance on rights (and yes I understand that some of them exempted massive chunks of the population from voting rights in favor of landowners, but even then they wrote to protect ALL of our rights, even those of us whom they didn’t consider to be citizens in 1776) and the things that truly determine whether or not they would be a just, fair, intelligent, and competent leader. I also STRONGLY disagree that the ability (money, time, means, speech writers, PR people/spin doctors, TV contacts, etc.) to WIN AN ELECTION denotes the ability to govern.
The only official qualification to be US President is be a citizen 35 or older.
WE WOULD NOT ELECT GEORGE WASHINGTON – who was UNANIMOUSLY ELECTED TWICE – TODAY because he was basically a British aristocrat, but who was “just a farmer” with effectively NO EDUCATION whose highest official position (until the war) was that of, basically, an appointed county clerk. He was just a rich boy whose inherited money afforded him the time and means to come up with revolutionary ideas.
JOHN ADAMS had extremely old-fashioned (many thought “outdated” even then) ideals. He was a simple schoolteacher and then a lawyer who DEFENDED the British soldiers in the Boston Massacre. He had NO POLITICAL CAREER before the Continental Congresses and the Declaration of Independence. People would consider that unqualified today.
THOMAS JEFFERSON – the main author of the DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE – was another rich boy with an inherited fortune and radical, revolutionary ideas. He defended slaves seeking their freedom, he proposed reforms to slavery, and he believed (at a time when slavery was normal here) that ALL PEOPLE were born with personal liberty. He had NO POLITICAL CAREER until the second Continental Congress and that whole Declaration of Independence thing (many of the ideas for which he developed while in court defending slaves, fairly radical at that time).
JAMES MADISON, who drafted the CONSTITUTION and the BILL OF RIGHTS was “just a FARMER” and local MILITIA LEADER and never held an office higher than STATE LEGISLATURE until he wrote, arguably, some of the most important documents in the history of the world. But really, aside from that, he’s another rich boy with the time and money to be radical – no real political qualifications.
WE WOULD NOT ELECT ABRAHAM LINCOLN TODAY because he was just a weird frontiersman with no education and ZERO DC EXPERIENCE – I sincerely doubt we would have ever elected him to his State House today.
Ulysses S Grant was a lazy student who grew up to be practically a drifter, with NO JOB and NO qualifications AT ALL until he got caught up in a certain war.
And shit, RONALD REGAN WAS A FUCKING ACTOR. HOW WAS HE QUALIFIED?? But many conservatives consider him to be one of the greatest presidents of their lifetime, if not the greatest.
If these men, these GREAT men, the fathers of our country – many of them YOUNG MEN in their 20s and 30s, mind you – had not been in the right place at the right time, in the middle of a revolution, we would not know their names today. If they tried to get their names onto a ballot right now, with little to no experience up on Capitol Hill, nothing more than local government service, we would not give them a second look. Not to mention, ALL of these men were “extremist” revolutionaries with opinions, convictions, and beliefs that were incredibly incendiary at the time.
Congress is only in session a short while each year because people are not MEANT to be career politicians. People who are just regular folks, good people from YOUR town, or even YOU yourself… WE are the people who are supposed to be running the government. A Congressman’s salary was only ever meant to pay for travel and expenses and the sacrifice of time off work. It was NEVER meant to be a living, much less a living that’s better than most of OURS. Nobody is supposed to WANT to be a politician. It is a DUTY that you should feel you need to take up, something to which you are nominated by those around you who see leadership qualities and (AND) a passion for justice in you. Politics in the United States was never intended to be a career!
This country has become so corrupted, has moved SO far away from what we were originally intended to be, that I assure you the men who fought for and won our freedom, who risked everything to break off from a tyrannical king and forge a brand new way of life, are rolling in their fucking graves. We have words like LOBBYIST – a person whose entire JOB is to openly wine and dine and BRIBE our politicians on behalf of huge corporations in exchange for favorable legislation (which more often than not HARMS US INDIVIDUALS while helping those huge corporations) – in the headlines on the daily and nobody bats an eye. We have career politicians who hold the same seat for decades, through scandal after scandal, who have never so much as read a single letter from a single constituent. That is NOT how this country was intended to be run.
We have people who make fortunes – millions and millions of dollars throughout their lives – spending their entire lives in politics, completely and utterly cut off from the REAL PEOPLE they govern, and that is not how it’s supposed to be. The intent was for working men like YOU AND ME – the governed, those actually affected by laws – to sacrifice a couple months out of our lives each year, once or twice, and then get back to life.
Congress should not be full of lifers whose entire careers are built around getting elected, who are rich beyond measure and well above the law; it should be full of THE COMMON MAN.
Our government should be people who know what it’s like to actually be subject to laws and regulations, people who speak to their neighbors, regular people who WORK FOR A LIVING and face hard times and who understand THE REAL AMERICA.
And the office of president is no different.
And I think A LOT (if not MOST) Americans feel the same way. That’s why we voted for Obama: he was young, he was “new”, he was not a politician, he hadn’t yet been corrupted by the DC machine. That’s what people love about Ron Paul: he is STILL a doctor, he still practices and has a real life outside DC, and while he continues to get re-elected, he GIVES BACK HIS SALARY because he is not a politician. And I think that’s what people love about Trump: he is not a politician, he (obviously) doesn’t have political scientists and journalism majors writing his speeches and press releases for him, he hasn’t been practicing debates and campaign speeches for decades, he doesn’t scramble for damage control, he certainly doesn’t watch his mouth, he is prone to saying the wrong thing. Those things lead people to believe that he – while wealthy – is ONE OF THEM rather than APART FROM THEM and would, therefore, make a good leader. People think that, because he IS them, he would look out for them and actually have their interests – instead of election – at heart.
Whether people look at the founding of the nation, look at the news and the recent past, or just “feel that way” and don’t know why, the people are OBVIOUSLY completely DONE with “the establishment”: career politicians. We can all clearly see that career politicians are corrupt, out of touch, unfamiliar with the needs of their constituents, prone to scandal and theft and lying, NOT representative of us and NOT on our side. Career politicians don’t care about the will or the needs of the people; they care about elections and continuing to secure that paycheck, and that is most definitely NOT in our best interest as the governed. That’s why the system is set up the way it is, and I think that’s why this election is so weird and awful, so important. Because people are tired of being governed by the actually unqualified.
And I’ve said it a few times before, but not on this post, so I should point out that I AM NOT A TRUMP SUPPORTER MYSELF. I am a Libertarian (actual active party member), and Trump is juuuuuuuuuuuusst a bit too authoritarian for my tastes. If I’m being perfectly honest, I would probably vote for him if I knew it would prevent Hillary from winning, but he’s certainly not my first choice. But I DO understand his appeal to people. I do understand why people are drawn to him. He comes across as an actual human being with faults and opinions, rather than a robotic, plastic, impossibly clean cut politician OR a flip-flopper who is obviously simply saying whatever words their staff has advised them will persuade people to vote for them. I’m just saying I can understand why the people who like him do like him. And that I don’t think ANY “politician” is somebody I would want leading this country.
(WHOO! Sorry that was SO LONG!! I don’t think being a politician qualifies anybody to be president; quite the opposite, in fact.)