By John Lawrence
The Republican political arena has become the theater of the absurd largely thanks to the emergence of Donald Trump as the new standard bearer of the Republican Party. He has stood all the rules on their heads and made a mockery out of political correctness. Somehow this has breathed fresh air into the stodgy world of Republican memes and mantras.
For example, let’s take the birther controversy which the Donald was a big part of a few years ago when he and others made an attempt to prove that President Obama was not a “natural born citizen” as required by the Constitution in order to be President. In fact, as Trump and others maintained, Obama was born in Kenya. Turns out not to be true.
Then enter Ted Cruz and The Donald is up to his old tricks maintaining that Cruz is not a natural born citizen since he was born in Canada. Makes sense since, if Obama had actually been born in Kenya, there would be no doubt that he was not a “natural born citizen” even though he was born to an American citizen mother which no one disputes. Cruz maintains that, since his mother is a “natural born citizen” he is also regardless of what country he was born in. It seems that the birther problem, although not pertaining to Obama, in fact does pertain to Cruz. How ironic! But then leave it to Trump to point out the obvious and destroy a political opponent in the process.
Mary Brigid McManamon, a constitutional law professor at Widener University’s Delaware Law School, in an article, Ted Cruz is Not Eligible to be President, says:
Donald Trump is actually right about something: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) is not a natural-born citizen and therefore is not eligible to be president or vice president of the United States.
The Constitution provides that “No person except a natural born Citizen . . . shall be eligible to the Office of President.” The concept of “natural born” comes from common law, and it is that law the Supreme Court has said we must turn to for the concept’s definition. On this subject, common law is clear and unambiguous. The 18th-century English jurist William Blackstone, the preeminent authority on it, declared natural-born citizens are “such as are born within the dominions of the crown of England,” while aliens are “such as are born out of it.” The key to this division is the assumption of allegiance to one’s country of birth. The Americans who drafted the Constitution adopted this principle for the United States. James Madison, known as the “father of the Constitution,” stated, “It is an established maxim that birth is a criterion of allegiance. . . . [And] place is the most certain criterion; it is what applies in the United States.”
For that matter John McCain, the Republican who ran for President in 2008, was not a natural born citizen either. He was born on a military base in Panama. The Constitution does not make an exception for military bases, and they certainly are not a part of the territorial United States. Democrats shouldn’t hesitate to attack Republicans on this issue especially since Republicans created so much misery about it for Barack Obama.
Since You Brought it up Republicans …
If Cruz ends up being the Republican nominee, it would be up to Hillary or Bernie to make the birther case against Cruz. They would have to do it or they would be remiss in their duty. If they have to sue, let the suit begin. Republicans have no hesitancy about suing Democrats.
Remember George W Bush suing Al Gore and in the process becoming President even though Gore won the election. And Gore was too nice stepping aside “for the good of the country.” Then look what happened. Bush lied us into war, took out Saddam Hussein and cast the whole middle east into turmoil with the result that ISIS is casting the whole western world into turmoil, not to mention hundreds of thousands dead and millions of refugees. “The good of the country”? I don’t think so.
For nearly 10 years, thousands of conservatives have openly claimed President Obama is not an American citizen. With no evidence at all, they have regularly claimed that instead of being born in Hawaii, he was actually born in Kenya or even Indonesia, to his American mother and African father.
This is from the New York Daily News:
What’s wild is that the true story of Cruz — the one supported by him and by the facts — is actually the exact same fictional story that the birther movement has claimed for 10 years disqualifies Obama from being president.
On Dec. 22, 1970, Ted Cruz was actually born in a foreign country — Canada — to an American mother, Eleanor Darragh, and a father, Rafael Cruz, who was not an American citizen.
His father, born and raised in Cuba, actually did not become an American citizen until 2005. When Ted Cruz was born, his parents weren’t visiting Canada or working on a military base — they had lived there for years.
Now since there is doubt that a Republican running for President is a “natural born citizen,” conservatives have their panties all in a wad to redefine what actually is a “natural born citizen.” In other words, their hypocrisy over this issue is written all over their faces. They unshamefacedly assert that, while Obama is not a natural born citizen since he was born in Kenya to an American mother, Ted Cruz is a natural born citizen since he was born in Canada to an American mother. I guess it has to do more with the fact that Canada is a predominantly white near neighbor to the US while Kenya is thousands of miles away and is predominantly black.
So while conservatives are willing to twist the words of the Constitution when their ox is being gored, they will in no way allow any such twisting regarding the Second Amendment. “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Well, what does that actually mean?
One interpretation would be that the right to bear arms should only be in the context of a well-regulated militia. The militias extant these days are anything but well regulated. Therefore, the right of the people to bear arms necessarily needs to be infringed. Besides in 1776, they didn’t have semi-automatic or fully automatic weapons. Let the people’s right not be infringed when it comes to the weaponry they had in 1776, but the weapons available today are definitely infringeable. Conservatives are willing to twist and bend the Constitution when their interests are at stake but are original constructionists when it’s in their interests to maintain wording which in no way is applicable to today’s’ realities.
Donald Trump and The Wall
One of the most humorous Trump originated issues is the building of The Wall which infuriates the Left and gets cheers from the Right. The absurdity of the situation is that there is a wall already there. Has anyone been to San Ysidro lately? Looks like a wall to me. But all the Yahoo followers of Donald Trump don’t already know this. They think it’s possible just to walk back and forth across the Mexican-American border at will, and Trump doesn’t discourage them from thinking this. In fact he maintains that he’ll even get Mexico to pay for The Wall. It led to one of the funniest skits on Saturday Night Live when Trump was hosting. In comes the Mexican President with a large Publishers Clearing House-style check for The Donald and he says, “Here this is for The Wall.”
Now since progressives are supposedly smarter than Trump’s followers, why are they so upset over this issue when it is really a non-issue? Sure there are gaps in the wall. It isn’t continuous along the whole Mexican-American border, but it’s there in one form or other along much of it so why is this even an issue? Bush signed the Secure Fence Act of 2006.Work has been underway ever since. By April 2009 Homeland Security had erected about 613 miles of new pedestrian fencing and vehicle barriers along the southwest border from California to Texas. This was during the Obama administration I might add.
To be accurate, Trump should have said, “I will complete the wall along the border,” but this wouldn’t have the same hyperbolic effect that stating the issue in such stark terms has. Nuances are not The Donald’s strong suit. Or maybe they are for the effect he intends to achieve.
In the final analysis The Wall is a fig newton of Trump’s imagination calculated to get his supporters cheering and make his detractors apoplectic. This issue is a pure contrivance calculated to rile up and antagonize on the one hand and to pander to people’s fears on the other. It’s a litmus test to see how your knee jerk reaction defines you as a progressive or a conservative and ignores the reality of what actually is.
Sure a wall could be built or more accurately the gaps could be filled in. Some say it would be prohibitively expensive at $30 billion. That’s a fraction of what’s being spent on the military-industrial complex which sucks in a trillion or more each and every year. The issue is just a non-issue as advanced surveillance systems are already being used at the border and are being expanded and improved each year. Are progressives saying that the “wall” as it already exists should be taken down? I don’t think so. Donald is right that every country has the right to protect its borders from encroachment.
Donald Trump and Anchor Babies
While Trump thinks that Cruz is not a natural born citizen since he was born in Canada, he also thinks that babies born in America are not American citizens if their parents are not.
This is from Politifact:
Donald Trump says his plan to roll back birthright citizenship for children of illegal immigrants will pass constitutional muster because “many of the great scholars say that anchor babies are not covered.”
“Many of the great scholars” — really? That comment caught our attention.
In case you need a refresher on birthright citizenship: As it stands now, any person born on U.S. soil is a citizen — regardless of the parents’ immigration status — because of the citizenship clause of the 14th Amendment. Trump has recently advocated for pulling back citizenship for illegal immigrants’ children. Some, like Trump, refer to these children as “anchor babies.”
“The parents have to come in legally,” Trump said, talking to reporters in New Hampshire Aug. 19. “Now we’re going to have to find out what’s going to happen from a court standpoint. But many people, many of the great scholars say that anchor babies are not covered (by the 14th Amendment). We’re going to have to find out.”
Considering that about 300,000 babies are born to illegal immigrants and become citizens every year, we wondered if Trump is right to say that “many” scholars think this isn’t necessarily a constitutional right.
We won’t dig into who’s a “great” scholar, but we will look at how widespread this position is and if “many” say the 14th Amendment isn’t an impediment to Trump’s plan.
The 14th Amendment became part of the Constitution in 1868 following the Civil War. The amendment established birthright citizenship and equal protection under the law for all citizens, making newly freed slaves full American citizens.
The relevant clause reads: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”
Today, this clause is widely understood to mean that the Constitution requires that everyone born on U.S. soil — regardless of parents’ citizenship — is automatically an American citizen. We polled a number of experts in immigration law, and each one told us that this is the mainstream view among legal scholars, without question.
“We’re going to have to find out,” no Muslims entering the US “till we find out what’s going on,” “many scholars say…”, Trump has a way of always qualifying his hyperbole in such a way as to make it sound more reasonable.
It seems that, although Trump may be right about Ted Cruz, he has his head up his ass regarding anchor babies unless you want to change the Constitution. And if you’re going to change the Constitution, you might as well change the outdated and dangerous Second Amendment as well to be in line with today’s realities regarding guns. Something along the lines of “… a citizen has no absolute right to gun ownership except those guns that were available when the Constitution was signed …”
So according to Trump, if you’re born in Canada, you’re not a natural-born American citizen, and if you’re born in the US, you’re not an American citizen either if your parents were not American citizens. How ironic that the birther issue resurfaces at this time to come back and bite Republicans in the ass! Politics really does make strange bedfellows.