Following a year (2011) in which TIME magazine named “The Protestor” as its “Person of the Year” and living in a time in history when so many are protesting for democratic reforms and higher individual freedoms, it seems fitting to remind ourselves of the content contained within the document that has protected our freedoms and ways of life since our U.S. nation was founded.
To begin, how familiar are you right now with the Constitution and its Articles? For example, do you recall the year and the U.S. city in which the Constitution was signed? (The answers would be 1787 and Philadelphia.) And, can you recite the first 15 words of the document? (“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union…”)
In recognition of the fact that 2012 is a presidential election year here in the U.S., I want to highlight Article Two, the Article that creates the executive branch of the U.S. government, defines the role of the President of the U.S. and contains four sections:
- Section 1 begins by stating, “The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America.” Then, the section explains the four-year Presidential and Vice-Presidential electoral process and Congress’ related role, defines the specific personal criteria (U.S. citizenship and age) for the position of U.S. President and calls out the requirement that the President must take a specific Oath “before he enter on the Execution his Office.”
- Section 2 names the President as “Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States” and primarily calls out his power to make treaties and appoint Ambassadors, U.S. Supreme Court Justices and other Officers of the U.S.
- Section 3 references the fact that the President will “from time to time” give Congress information about the “State of the Union” and speaks to the President’s jurisdiction “on extraordinary Occasions” to convene both Houses of Congress “or either of them.” Section 3 also mentions that the President can adjourn Congress “in Case of Disagreement between them” and “shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.”
- Section 4, the final section of Article Two, states that the President, Vice President and “all civil Officers of the United States” will be removed from “Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”
In this election year, amidst the partisan fighting occurring daily between our two U.S. political parties as well as the daily political punditry highlighted on TV and the Internet, it’s easy to grow weary of the U.S. presidential election process.
However, when you consider the amount of power that the words of Article Two will require our next President to embrace, don’t you think it’s important for American citizens to embrace the presidential election process?
If you’re an American who’s registered to vote in the upcoming primaries and in the general election in November, I hope you’ll remember all of the power that Article Two will hand to the winner before you place your vote.