Presidential Qualifications This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

In the living, breathing words of our Constitution, Article II, Section I, Clause 5 officially decrees that, “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.” In more straight-forward terms, the framers of the Constitution have determined through this clause that no naturalized citizen may serve as president. Despite that this article discourages part of the American Dream – in which foreigners can change their lives, remaking themselves as U.S. citizens – this law
has become a subject of debate in recent years due to the rising political force of naturalized individuals, for example, Arnold Schwarzenegger (Austrian-born former California “governator”) and Jennifer Granholm (Canadian-born former governor of Michigan). Although amending this ruling would require time, effort, and thorough deliberation, I believe that natural-born citizenship should not be a requirement to be a presidential ­candidate.

Because America is known as a melting pot of all cultures, discontinuing this discrimination and opening the Oval Office to a promising “newcomer” would be a vivid example of meritocratic morals, broadening the American Dream to a more universal concept. America is a worldwide symbol of freedom and all of its benefits; being American is not only a birthright but an aspiration. Ridding our founding document of this restriction would prove that any goal is attainable when combined with the appropriate dedication and effort.

Instead of making our country stronger, this restriction on the qualifications for presidental candidates could very well rule out the best candidates from running. Millions of citizens in the U.S. today were born elsewhere, and among their numbers are the kind of highly committed achievers that would be perfect for this prestigious position, as displayed in past Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and Madeleine ­Albright, both of whom were born abroad. Having fought for their opportunity for the American Dream and the liberties it entails, immigrants may actually be more devoted to protecting the ideals of this country and the rights of its citizens than those who were born with these privileges. In addition, candidates with diverse backgrounds may supply the U.S. with important knowledge and understanding of foreign cultures while serving in our government. Diversity opens our nation up to a new world of possibilities and advantages that should not be foolishly overlooked by outdated Constitutional clauses.

In addition to the immigrants who would seek to run for office, it is also imperative to consider the rights of American-born citizens. By limiting the field of candidates, this decree strips citizens of their choice as voters. The inability to reflect citizens' beliefs and demands for how their government should be run violates ideals such as legislative supremacy and free will. Therefore, amending outdated Constitutional presidential qualifications would benefit not only naturalized citizens but natural-born Americans too.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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Imaginedangerous This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Mar. 19, 2012 at 6:24 pm
Plus, it would shut the 'birthers' up. :) Good article.
 
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