I just want to mention some of the profound ways that not being born in the United States would have affected the quality of Obama’s presidency. He clearly would not have been able to truly understand the country or be capable of talented, decisive leadership.
My confidence in this knowledge stems from observing my own inabilities brought on by not being born in the US. It has rendered me an imbecile in regards to all things American. For example, I sometimes get the words wrong when saying the pledge of allegiance. Americans even think that I stutter, when really I am just talking like everyone not born in the United States.
I’ll miss the Birther movement. I find crusades for meaningless truths amusing (or depressing, depending on my mood). Who could have better publicized the idea that citizenship jus soli (by the soil) is an idiotic idea in the first place? I remember in 8th grade Social Studies when I found out that an illegal immigrant can have a kid in the US and that kid is automatically a citizen. I thought my teacher was joking, but apparently dirt has magical properties, at least in America.
At the same time, there is a myth in the missionary kid world that those like me who were not born in the US can’t be President. From what I can tell this isn’t true. I did some research for the sake of Obama and I. Please, correct me if I am wrong. Article 2 section 1 of the Constitution says this:
“No person except a natural born citizen…shall be eligible to the office of president.”
Ok. What is a “natural born citizen”? In the fourteenth amendment, section 1, it says this:
“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.”
That didn’t really help. Finally, title 8 of the US Code fills in the gaps in section 1401. It says a couple of things but most importantly for our purposes it gives citizenship at birth to:
“a person born outside of the United States and its outlying possessions of parents both of whom are citizens of the United States and one of whom has had a residence in the United States or one of its outlying possessions, prior to the birth of such person.”
Ok. This means that I am good to go right? My mom grew up in Ohio and my Dad in Virginia. Yay! I can be president. What about Obama even if he was born outside the country? Secion 1401 of title 8 goes on to say that someone is born a citizen if he or she is:
“a person born outside the geographical limits of the United States and its outlying possessions of parents one of whom is an alien, and the other a citizen of the United States who, prior to the birth of such person, was physically present in the United States or its outlying possessions for a period or periods totaling not less than five years, at least two of which were after attaining the age of fourteen years.”
Shouldn’t this apply to Obama also? His dad was from Kenya who came to America to study. His mom was from Kansas where she lived, presumably, more than five years. What am I missing?
I’ll miss the Birthers. They were off-base technically (I think Obama would still have been eligible for president), meaningfully (Obama would still have been capable of being president), and factually (Obama was in fact born in the US). Nonetheless, in March one quarter of all Americans believed Obama was not born in the states, the majority of Republican primary voters believed he was not, and 49% of all Republicans nationwide. Obama and his advisors must have been wondering when to release the long-form birth certificate. This would have been the best opportunity ever to make your political opponents look dumb.
What do you think? I think he blew it. He played his ace prematurely. If he would have waited, I think he could have painted an abysmal picture of the entire Republican party right before an election (BTW, 83%/12% of Republican birthers viewed Palin favorably compared to 41%/52% of republican non-birthers). Some Republicans, Karl Rove for instance, did try to discourage this preposterousness, but most leaders, such as John Boehner, did not. When asked about it on Meet the Press he said, “it’s not my job to tell the American people what to think. Our job in Washington is to listen to the American people.”
That’s the sort of inspiring leadership that magic soil is capable of.