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Monica Lewinsky Is Right: It’s Time for a New Constitutional Amendment!

Most people stop driving in their 70s and 80s. Do we really want 90-year-olds in the Senate?

Monica Lewinsky head and shoulders on red carpet

Monica Lewinsky has endured an unfairly bad reputation for a long time, and her political acumen has steadily grown in that time. Now, she’s turning her focus to constitutional amendments.

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In a recent Vanity Fair feature penned by Lewinksy, she explained why she thinks it’s ridiculous that we as a nation simply don’t seem to do constitutional amendments anymore, even though there are so many areas of our democracy that would so desperately benefit from the protections of an amendment, and damn if she isn’t so, so right. Her point about the need to create an amendment to protect the nation from leaders who are out of touch with modern facts of life is particularly poignant.

The rights and protections Americans have gotten from amendments to the Constitution contain some real fan favorites, like free speech, abolition of slavery, women’s right to vote, etc. But in her article, Lewinsky wrote about how she thinks we could be doing a lot more with amendments, like protecting our legislative branches from being run by the aged and infirm.

“Per the Constitution, you cannot be a US House representative until age 25, nor a senator until age 30. And you can forget about running for the highest office until age 35. Not to be ageist, but there should also be a retirement age for elected officials as well as term limits,” Lewinsky wrote. “Consider that presidents 45…and 46, along with the oldest serving senator (Iowa Republican Chuck Grassley, age 90)…are five generations away from Gen Alpha, and four generations away from the people for whom 2024 will be their first election,” Lewinsky pointed out. 

And if you take a look at the 22nd Amendment, you will see there is a precedent for an amendment setting out term limits for the presidential office, so why not Congress and the Senate? As the former White House intern said, in what is now my favorite quote about elders in positions of power, “…for elected officials there is a point at which such qualifications risk being overshadowed by mental calcification and cultural deafness.”

So what’s the deal? Why aren’t we amending a document that was clearly written for a different population of people in a different time (ahem, around 250 years ago)? It seems like over 100 years ago, we were ratifying stacks on stacks of amendments. Then, in the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s, there were a handful. And then just ONE amendment in 1992 about legislators not being able to easily give themselves raises, and that one took 200 years to pass.

So, apparently, a large majority in both congressional houses needs to approve an amendment multiple times, and in modern life, we all hate each other and can’t agree, and that’s why we can’t have nice amendments. 

(featured image: Jerod Harris/Getty Images)

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Cammy Pedroja
Author and independent journalist since 2015. Frequent contributor of news and commentary on social justice, politics, culture, and lifestyle to publications including The Mary Sue, Newsweek, Business Insider, Slate, Women, USA Today, and Huffington Post. Lover of forests, poetry, books, champagne, and trashy TV.

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