November is not just the month of Thanksgiving, it’s also what I consider election month. That being the case, here is my political commentary. In recent weeks and months there have been unreasonable national attention given to the birthplace of our current president, Barack Obama. No matter what is said or done to quash or even appease the critics it’s an issue that has morphed into something ugly. Americans are curious people. We often don’t hesitate in asking questions or even slinging accusations. However, we’re also guilty of distrusting our government and breathing life into ridiculous conspiracy theories. If the President didn’t meet the basic criteria in becoming President would it have taken this long to come out?
In order to hold the nation’s highest position there is three basic requirements that we’re all taught in school. An individual has to be a natural born citizen of the United States, at least 35 years old, and have been a permanent resident in the United States for at least 14 years. Our current president was born in Honolulu, Hawaii and common sense says that Hawaii is a state of the United States (it’s been a state since August 21, 1959) and if born there, you’d be a natural born citizen. If only it were that simply stated. Arguments have been made regarding the fact that while President Obama’s mother was a US citizen, his father was a British subject thus he could have a British citizen. The operative word is could.
Many may also be unaware of another recent presidential candidate’s ‘national born’ status. United States Senator John McCain, born in 1936, was born in a then unincorporated territory of the Panama Canal Zone. A year later his citizenship was retroactively conferred and in 2008 the US Senate approved a non-binding resolution also recognizing his citizen status. Do you recall this? Most people probably don’t. It just seems to make little sense to, over 2 years into his term, again call into question President Obama’s citizenship status if for nothing else but to make something out of nothing. How much sense is there for us to continue to question the matter? And was it really necessary, due to the intense media coverage, for the White House to have to release a copy of his birth certificate? Would we have asked this of Senator McCain had he become President?
Is it a measure of our desire to escape the real issues as to why we demand proof of eligibility that would have been checked and rechecked long before this? Maybe in fact there should be voting reform and the longstanding issues surrounding our Electoral College addressed. We the people vote only indirectly for the President and Vice President and to add further insult the electors can cast their vote in whichever way they’d like regardless of what the people say. With the mechanics of how our Electoral College works in as recent as 2000 the President was not the candidate who received the most votes by the people. Due to the Electoral College votes President George W. Bush won over the candidate most voted for by the people, former Vice President Al Gore.
The real issue is the process by which we elect the President and not the prevailing absurdities of a select, loud, and uninformed few.
This article appeared on page 5A in the 11/30/11 issue of The Union-Recorder.