Will our next president be Kamala D. Harris?
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In the closing days of the 1787 Constitutional Convention, the founding fathers debated the question of presidential disability. John Dickinson of Delaware asked, “What is the extent of the term ‘disability’ and who is to be the judge of it?” No one replied. In the end, Article II, Section 1, Clause 6 of the Constitution would simply read, “In Case of the Removal of the President from Office, or of his Death, Resignation, or Inability to discharge the Powers and Duties of the said Office, the Same shall devolve on the Vice President.”
It would not be until the 1967 ratification of the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that a more clear set of circumstances would be laid out. For us today, and our current President Joseph Biden, sections 3 and 4 are most pertinent.
Section 3: Whenever the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Vice President as Acting President.
Section 4: Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.
Joseph Biden was 26 when he graduated from law school and entered the work force, and he has been in the work force for 53 years now, well past the age of retirement for the majority of Americans. At a recent White House Rose Garden ceremony to commemorate the 31st anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, President Biden welcomed all attendees by name, but only said the first part of Rep. Jim Langevin’s surname and then misidentified Jim Langevin’s first name (Langevin is a Democrat who represents Rhode Island’s 2nd Congressional District and is the first quadriplegic person to serve in the U.S. Congress.). Shortly afterward, Biden became confused and in a panic called out, “Where’s Mom? Mom?” …Not a single Biden event passes without at least one memorable, and typically cringe-worthy, takeaway.
In the end, there is no doubt that Joseph Biden, at 78 years old, is the oldest person to ever be elected to the Office of President of these United States. And, at 78 years old, Biden is even older than President Ronald Reagan when he left office at age 77 with early symptoms of a later Alzheimer’s diagnosis.
Before Biden was even elected, psychiatrist Tanveer Ahmed publicly noted on Biden’s cognitive condition, stating that Biden was able to get through the debates, “He just sort of hung in there. So you get the feeling he’s almost just holding on, which can be a feature of dementia, where as long as you’ve got enough people supporting you, you can sort of just hold on. And I think there’s a bit of that going on with Joe Biden.”
So, we the people now find ourselves with the oldest president ever, 13 years past normal federal retirement age, and showing obvious signs of dementia. We can accept that an old man with cognitive disabilities is responsible for the nuclear weapons held by these United States, or we can demand change.
In the short term, that means enacting the 25th Amendment to our Constitution, which would elevate Kamala Harris from vice president to president of the United States. For many, this is a choice of the lesser of two evils, but for me at least Kamala would at least be able to fully comprehend all circumstances when presented to her, which for me, is a lesser evil.
After that, it is up to you, the individual, to vote competent people into future public office, preferably someone who is a bit younger, with actual attributes other than that person is a lesser evil than the other candidate.