In our ongoing series of offering unsolicited advice in regards to political and constitutional reform, we present yet another idea whose time may never come, but should.
We thought about making election day Saturday, but too many of the wrong people would vote. Not like that isn’t the case already. Same with the tempting concepts of voting tests and plural voting. Good ideas, but would never pass political muster.
But one just may, perhaps down the road. Advance the age qualification for every federal office ten years higher. Have you ever met a modern 25 year old qualified for Congress? Yeah, me neither.
The Founders came up with those ages, 25 for the House, 30 for the Senate, 35 for president, when you had very young courageous men in the mix. Hamilton, Monroe, and Madison had all been mere whelps during the Revolution and immediately subsequent years. They proved their worth and the Founders noticed them and wrote the Constitution accordingly. Actually, they were some of the Founders.
But we don’t live in that world anymore and we don’t produce men like that in the volume we did before. Thus the formula is no longer viable.
We do live in a world of extended adolescence, where 20 somethings may still live at home after college. And not just for a bit, for a while. Do you want federal lawmakers who live in their parent’s basement? Though it’s not just this generation. When I was 25 in 1986 I was having way too much fun as a college student in Europe to have the maturity to serve in Congress. 20 somethings haven’t earned enough of life’s hash marks to legislate for anyone else. Thus, we’re talking 35 for the House, 40 for the Senate, and 45 for president.
In fact, when I taught college I would tell my students to think wisely, as decisions they would make in their late teens could reverberate down their next decades. The sad part about it is that teens and people in their 20s rarely have the requisite wisdom to properly make those decisions because they don’t have enough life experience. And we want a 25 year old in Congress? By the way, 35 for Congress? No AOC. She’s 32.
If the 45 rule for president had been in the Constitution from the beginning we’d have lost, or had to wait for, Teddy Roosevelt and Jack Kennedy. Only them. Everybody else was over 45 when they got the top slot. In fact some of the best presidents, Ike, Reagan, Coolidge to name three, were well over 45 when they assumed the presidency. It’s really not that big of a change in the leadership of the executive branch.
However, it would bring wonders to Congress. We’d be spared so many airheads, young and rabid ideologues, useless sons and daughters of older members of Congress, and general electoral flotsam and jetsam. The whining of the very younger set would well be worth the benefits. They couldn’t do anything else but whine, as the voting age would be raised to 30.