Now that America has two candidates for president from which to choose, I have a suggestion for how to judge their qualifications:
Ask them about the Constitution.
When the winner of the November election takes the Oath of Office, they will swear to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. You’d think that document would be the center of attention when considering who’s qualified for the job. But how often are candidates asked about it?
Granted, I haven’t watched every debate and media interview, but I have a rough estimate for you:
Zero. Zip. Notta.
Here’s a question for Hillary and Donald. Name three rights protected by the Bill the Rights other than freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and freedom to own the biggest damn gun money can buy. Every candidate for national office should be asked that question, and they should be able to easily answer it.
Can they tell us about our right to a free press, to a fair trial, to protection from illegal search and seizure? Can they tell us about the Executive Branch’s constitutional role in a system designed to balance power with the Legislative and Judicial branches?
We really need answers to these questions, but they’re not being asked so we’ll never know unless the candidates volunteer their answers. But hey, that’s not sexy. We’d rather know why they named their cat Fluffy.
An eighth grade social studies teacher could come up with better questions to ask candidates for high office than the talking heads presently entrusted with that job. Hell, eighth grade social studies students could ask more relevant questions! If you interview someone for a job, you’d think that the primary questions would center around the nuts and bolts of doing the job.
Presently, we as a country are not following the Constitution, or are only following it when convenient. We’ve equated freedom of speech with freedom for billionaires to pour endless amounts of money into getting their pet politicians elected, and this is all right according to the Supreme Court. We’ve created exceptions to the right to a fair trial and expanded the definition of terrorist to include anyone who speaks out against the government and war and participates in non-violent protest. Government agents can search your home and seize your property without a trial or even pressing charges. You can be detained indefinitely and held in secret even inside of the United States.
And that only scratches the surface of ways our Constitution is being used as toilet paper. We’ve allowed our Congress to abdicate its responsibility to print the nation’s money, and instead a private banking cartel known as the Federal Reserve does that job. The president does not have to seek Congressional approval before attacking another country on their soil. Treaties with other countries can be worked out in secret and passed through Congress without debate or even attention. These are all violations of the word and/or spirit of the Constitution.
If we’re not going to follow the Constitution, why bother having one?
So please, tell our media to ask these questions. Insist that candidates running for high office—including for Congress and governor—actually know and understand the rights they swear to defend and the powers they’re granted by the people as our representatives. Otherwise, we might as well just turn running for president into the Miss America Pageant.
At least in that contest the contestants are asked questions relevant to the job they seek.