Thursday, September 16, 2004

How American should you be to become President? - Part I

This is part one of a three-part blog concerning the proposed constitutional amendment to allow foreign-born citizens the right to become President of the United States and my feelings about the proposal and topic.

Part I :

"No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty-five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States."

This quote is from Article II - Executive Branch of the U.S. constitution.

There is a lot of talk as of late about allowing foreign-born U.S Citizens to become President of the United Stats. In fact there is a proposed constitutional amendment by California Rep. Dana Rohrbacher that would allow such a possibility. Sen. Orrin Hatch a Republican in Utah has also introduced similar legislation in the Senate.

Much of this hype is centered on Arnold Schwarzenegger’s success to become Governor of California. The bodybuilder, turned move star, turned political heavy weight has had mostly positive reviews since taking office, but the talks of Arnold the Democrat Destroyer for President was in play even before he took office. Arnold is certainly an appealing candidate and quite possibly best illustrates the American dream in America. I also hold no doubt that Arnold is a proud American citizen and wants only the best for his fellow citizens. I am a mostly conservative person, who has voted mostly (but certainly not all times) republican in local, state and national elections. If I were an "at all costs" type of person I might be a strong advocate of amending the constitution. But as a student of history, and geo-politics I simply cannot be such an advocate. All said and done, I would rather have 8 years of the worst democrat in office (thinking a new president can lead us on a road to recovery) then allow a non-natural born citizen into the Presidents office. I do understand the fact that in essence I am endorsing an "all citizens are equal, but some citizens are more equal" ideology, but in the case of this nations, and quite possibly the world highest office is not something to be taken lightly.

Some history of foreign-born officers in our national government:

Despite the recent Schwarzenegger craze, the topic of foreign-born citizens becoming elected officials has a fairly deep and rich history.

The first governor of Georgia was John Adam Treutlen who was born in Germany.

Martin Kalbfleisch, born in the Netherlands was May of Brooklyn and a U.S. Representative of New York.

Charles Augustus Lindbergh (father of the famed aviator) was born in Stockholm, Sweden and served as U.S Representative from Minnesota's 6th District.

Contemporary examples would include, Thomas Lantos, born in Hungary and now serving as U.S. representative from California and Henry Kissinger born in Germany and served as U.S. Secretary of State and Madeleine Albright born in Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic) serving in the same capacity.

All in all some 1,000+ foreign-born U.S. politicians have served in various capacities.

So why did the original framers of the constitution specifically write into the constitution that no foreign-born citizen could run for America's highest office? Did they apply rational reasoning for this decision at the time and how does it apply to the topic today?

We shall explore these topics and I shall share my feelings regarding this and more in Part II and III

End of Part I

Posted by mightymerk, 9:39 AM


By Anonymous Anonymous

Tell me more, Merk...

I'm undecided about this right now. I mentioned this to a friend of mine a few months back when Kindergarten Cop brought it up on Meet the Press, and my friend (who is pretty far left) said he thought it was a good idea. I just don't know.

In a way, maybe it is one of those relics from the revolutionary era that needs to be abandoned, but on the other hand, the framers gave us the best country in the history of the world, and we are probably better off leaving most of what they did alone...

except of course that nasty little item called slavery, and a few other things here and there.

@ 4:50 PM  

By Blogger mightymerk


I am working on the second part...I may not get to the third part for a few weeks as I leave on a trip for two weeks. I do not anticipate on having much time to finish up...but you never know.

Regarding the Framers of our country and slaver...let's put it in its proper context.
The framers were surely misguided in not having the foresight to abolish slavery, but they were far from the creators of the institution. Thankfully the nation that developed from that frame work would be responsible for ending the practive of slaver just 70+ years after its founding, and would be the nation mostly responsible for abolishing the last remnants of it worldwide (in Africa in the 1990's.

@ 6:28 PM  

By Anonymous Anonymous

Its still there in Ivory Coast and Sudan, and we haven't done a very effective job in either of those places over the last 30 years.

Be careful on your trip. Let us know before you go.

@ 6:46 PM  

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