Tuesday, March 10, 2015

There is no college degree to be president

Much has been made in recent weeks of Scott Walker, Governor of Wisconsin, and his lack of a college degree. (He left college to join the Red Cross.) This apparently was not much of a problem before, but now that he is eyeing the presidency, such newspapers as the Washington Post, are taking it on, as well as the New York Times, although there has been some rather common sense coverage, pointing out that legally the only thing a person needs to be president of this nation is to be a naturally born citizen, have lived here for the last fourteen years, and be at least thirty-five years of age.

Scott Walker is over 35 years of age, he is a natural born American, and he has lived here for  more than the last 14 years. Oh yeah, but he doesn't have a college degree.

While it is a valid point that often times in life college degrees help, in fact they often really, really help, it is not necessary for this job, and it should be pointed out that no college in the world that I am aware of offers a degree in being president. While certain degrees could aid a president is some aspects of the job, there are so many aspects that one would have to go to college for many lifetimes to get a degree in all of them, and then, we are reminded that degree does not always equal brains. 
Besides the legal qualifications for presidency, there are quite a few others. Among them is having a good head on your shoulders, being able to be executive to the world’s greatest nation, being able to manage without interfering too much or making a mess of our economy, being involved in foreign affairs and keeping our place in the world as a respected nation, and keeping all 318,000,000+ Americans as safe as possible. And there are many more. Like I said, there is no college degree for it.
And let’s remember that in 2016, if Walker decides to run, he will be running against others who have college degrees, but some in things like physiology and medicine for Dr. Ben Carson, and Mike Huckabee, who went to Bible College to be a preacher. And even Rand Paul, who is at the top of the pack of potential candidates, is also trained as a doctor. None of these men are in any way disqualified by their degrees, and Walker certainly is not harmed because he did not finish his final semester. There are college degrees that you can get in Greek Philosophy. If Walker had got one, no one would attack him for it. But would it have helped being president? No.
If a little historical background is in order about how good a president can be without a college degree, George Washington didn’t have one either. (That is not to say Scott Walker is the next George Washington, far from it.)
In context of the American people, we have something in statistics we call a normal distribution. When you have a sample of people you are investigation, what is “normal” is described as what is true for 68% of them. How does that hold out here? Well, with our sample as the American people, 68% percent of them, exactly, do not have a college degree. So, yeah, actually, he is a normal person.
And so, really, the whole thing about college here is almost irrelevant. Maybe he will make a good candidate and good president, maybe he won’t, maybe he won’t even run. But either way, Scott Walker’s destiny, and the destiny of the American Nation, should not be hung on a piece of paper, however important in most of life, which is completely unable to show us who would make a good president, and who would not.
Andrew C. Abbott

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