Qualified to be President of the United States
Most of us have questioned: “Who are the ones among the many in our citizenry qualified to be our President?”
To be a medical doctor, one cannot just make the claim, hang up a shingle, and begin practicing medicine. To practice law there is a bar exam to be passed. To become a United Methodist Church pastor (of which I am) there are requirements in education, approval by the Board of Ordination Ministry, and vowing to do the work of a pastor as specified in the Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church. A teacher in our public schools, a professor in a college, to drive a car, to make a loan, all of these and many other functions in our society have requirements.
Question: What are the requirements to become President?
Answer: Section 1 of Article 2 of the U.S. Constitution states that a President must:
* be a natural born citizen of the united States
* be at least 35 years old
* have lived in the U.S. for at least 14 years.
The position of President of the United States can be seen as the worst job in the world — living in a fish bowl environment, having the burden of sending young men and women off to war to be sacrificed in causes that cannot be justified, and even when there is just cause, the endless castigating criticisms, and living with the pressure and demands that require superhuman abilities. Garbage Collector is a job; we really need them — I have done it before and this week I plan to do it again: give of a gift to those men working in that honorable and valuable profession.
I remember where I was when someone told me of President Roosevelt’s death. When Harry Truman was informed of Roosevelt’s death and that he was President, Truman said, “I don’t want the damn job.” That ranks high with me as one of the qualification to this office. Perhaps that is why history has spoken so complimentary of him.
In contrast with Truman, those who are now seeking to be our President are infected with hybris (this is a Greek word meaning: exaggerated pride or self-confidence). Each of
them is telling us: “I am more qualified than anyone else in the world to be President of this great nation.” They really do want the job. It was so different with this natrion’s first President:
George Washington was unanimously elected President (April 6, 1789). It was with genuine reluctance that Washington gave his consent to serve as the country's first Chief Magistrate (the title “President” was decided on later). As a statesman he could hardly hope to add to the prestige which he already enjoyed as a warrior. On the other hand, he ran a serious risk of losing much of the high esteem in which he was held by the people. Besides, he was tired of public life, and his naturally vigorous physical constitution needed rest and recuperation, while his private affairs, after long neglect, demanded his attention. For several years he had been experiencing the delights of country life in his beautiful home on the bluffs of the Potomac, and was living the kind of life which he preferred.
Washington was chosen to be President of this nation when he was not seeking the job, and at the time, he had other plans.
If only we had someone not seeking the job, or with that one qualification, as Truman had it: “I don’t want the damn job.”
As I was reading Holy Scripture this morning, reading in Proverbs, and thinking of those infected with hybris, my thought turned away from that, to thoughts of our need to alway trust in God.
“See that man who thinks he's so smart?
You can expect far more from a fool than from him.”
—Proverbs 26:12 (MSG)
“Make your motions and cast your votes,
but God has the final say.”
— Proverbs 16:33 (MSG)