All in all there have been fourteen Presidents of the United States who have never served in the military. Most recently that list includes Franklin D. Roosevelt who served as Commander-in-Chief throughout most of World War II, William Jefferson Clinton who authorized military strikes in Afghanistan, the Sudan and Kosovo during his time in office, Barack Obama who while President authorized airstrikes by U.S. Military Forces in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia Yemen, Libya and Syria and then there is Donald J. Trump who has only recently amped up America’s involvement in our nation’s longest war in Afghanistan and who appears to be determined to get America into a nuclear war with North Korea.
Then consider this. While the United States Constitution does require anyone seeking the office of President be at least 35 years of age and a U.S. citizen those are the only constitutionally mandated requirements. Yet to serve under the President and Commander-in-Chief one must among other things have no serious credit issues such as let’s say the multiple corporate bankruptcy filings by various Trump companies. Also a military candidate can have no history of deviant sexual behavior perhaps such as those William Jefferson Clinton may have displayed with Monica Lewinski literally in the White House. Oh and while as a practical matter those seeking the Presidency should and typically do have at least some level of advanced education there is no specific legally mandated requirement that they do.
So it is abundantly clear that while any man or woman who is a U.S. citizen and at least 35 years of age and who can get the majority of the Electoral College votes can be elected and serve as President of the United States and Commander-in-Chief and command every single man and woman in the U. S. Military while having had zero military experience and not even having to meet the same standards as those who do serve.
Then there is that third powerful branch of U.S. Government the United States Supreme Court. The fourth and arguably one the most profound Chief Justices to serve on the United States Supreme Court was Chief Justice John Marshall appointed to the Court in 1801. By 1803 Chief Justice John Marshall wrote the game-changing opinion in the case of Marbury -v- Madison 1 Cranch 137 1803 which for the first time clearly asserted the Supreme Court’s power to declare laws created by the Congress and approved by the President to be null and void should the Supreme Court determine that any such law violate the Constitution of the United States.
So the doctrine of judicial review became a major element in American law and government. This was the opinion penned by a man who did read law while attending William and Mary College but never actually even attended law school. In fact, even to this day there is absolutely no requirement whatsoever that anyone appointed to the United States Supreme Court have any legal education whatsoever or even have somehow been admitted to practice law by any recognized Bar Association.
Now I don’t know about you but I surely would never knowingly allow anyone with no actual surgical experience perform surgery on me. Nor would I knowingly agree to fly in an airplane with someone at the controls who possessed no actual flight training and experience. I sincerely don’t think I am unusual in this regard. In point of fact we demand that anyone seeking to perform various tasks have demonstrated at least some adequate level of training and experience to do so.
Heck I was even required to appear, with my family, for evaluation by the local dog pound staff of our fitness to care for the mutt we adopted. Yet we allow essentially anyone age 35 or older to seek and if elected assume the office of President of the United States and Commander-in-Chief even if he or she lacks any military experience whatsoever.
We also, under our law, will allow absolutely anyone to serve on the United States Supreme Court even if such candidate has absolutely no significant legal training and experience. And yes I know and understand such an utterly unfit nominee for appointment to the Supreme Court has essentially no chance of getting on the court, let alone through the confirmation process. Still don’t you think that such total lack of proper qualification standards being legally mandated to be a huge oversight?
And for my money I would much rather have a man or woman with access to the nuclear launch codes having had at least some military experience just to be more fully aware of what horror and destruction can occur when Presidential decisions are misguided.
Overall our nation has a mostly excellent legal and political system but there is room for improvement. And particularly when the lives of millions of people are on the line I truly believe than when weaknesses are revealed we have as a nation a mandate to demand necessary changes.
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Top photo is a YouTube screenshot of President Trump speaking in Springfield, MO
Ron Irwin was born in Chicago, Illinois a long time ago. He served in the Marine Corps in Vietnam, became a trial lawyer, TV and radio host, CEO of a public company and once held an Emmy. He never won an Emmy he just held one. Ron has written and published twelve books. His most important book to date is “Live, Die, Live Again” in which Ron tells of his early life and his unexpected and very temporary death in 2012. That experience dramatically refocused his life and within the pages of that book Ron reveals how he achieved a much healthier life, ridding himself of Diabetes, Cancer and Heart Failure. Now Ron enjoys writing about many things including health topics, travel [he has circled the globe several times], adventure, culinary experiences and the world of performing art. Ron’s motto is “Live better, live longer and live stronger because it feels great and annoys others.” Contact the author.