Friday, April 29, 2011

Justin Beiber, U.S. Senator

Now that the President has released his birth certificate, perhaps the next move for Donald Trump and the birthers is to contend that he forged the date. Maybe he was born in the U.S., maybe not; but is he really old enough to be President? The Constitution places an age limit on the Presidency, at least 35 years old, on the Senate, at least 30, and on the House of Representatives, at least 25. Grey hair can be faked, Trump will scream. After all who knows more about misleading with hair than Trump?

Are these age limits necessary or fair? Is it to save us from even the possibility of hearing the phrase "Senator Beiber"? If someone is a citizen in an open representative democracy, shouldn't the possibility to serve as one of the representatives be an open option for all? Shouldn't it be up to the electorate to decide if the person is too young and inexperienced? We trust the people to decide if he or she is smart enough, honest enough, and insightful enough, why take this out of our hands?

Is there a good argument for limiting the group of people we can vote for based on age? Limiting it to the voting age may make some sense, but limiting it beyond? What would be the grounds on which to justify it?