Tuesday, August 20, 2013

And...the Birthers are at it again

It looks like the birthers are not going to go away anytime soon.

Only this time their target is not Barack Obama. They aren't even railing against a Democrat or a liberal this time.

Instead, there are those insisting that Texas Senator Ted Cruz, part of the rightest right of the Republican Party and a darling of the Tea Party, is not eligible to run for president, as he is showing every indication of wanting to do. These people are contending that he is not a "natural born citizen", as the US Constitution requires to be eligible to hold the highest office in the land.

Here's the deal: Cruz was born in Canada to a Cuban father and a mother who was a US citizen. He holds both Canadian and US citizenship. This, some people say, means that he is not eligible to be President of the United States, based on criteria outlined in the US Constitution.

Now, I have to admit that it's tempting to sit back and watch the Tea Party be hoist on its own petard. There is something satisfying in the idea of having them have to see how it feels to have one of their own accused of not being qualified. on this technicality, to lead the country.

I also have to confess that there are many reasons why I do not want to see Ted Cruz in the White House, not the least of which is the fact that he seems to think the comparisons that have been made between him and late Senator Joseph McCarthy, who led the way in causing so much misery in the 1950s as he saw a Red under every bed, are complimentary. He's been quoted as saying that the comparisons mean that he must be "doing something right." He won't go so far as to say publicly that he admires McCarthy's attitudes and tactics, but it seems clear that the assumption that he does admire Red-baiter McCarthy is not far from the mark. Also, the Libertarians like him, and I'm not a big fan of that particular political and social outlook on life.

But, as much as I'd hate to see Cruz elected to, well, almost anything, claiming on this technicality that he is not eligible to run is not a smart way to keep him from running. Unless there is a clear ruling from a court saying that to be considered a "natural born citizen", a person has to have been born on US soil, having a parent who is a citizen should be the standard for citizenship. Period.

Just as trying to make sure that only people you think will vote for your candidates can participate in the electoral process (voter suppression) is not a legitimate tactic, neither does trying to prove that candidates whose positions you don't like aren't eligible to run at all constitute an acceptable way to stack the electoral deck in your favor.

Not in the America I grew up in. In the America I grew up in, we were taught to play fair.

Taking a birther position in a case like this is not anywhere near playing fair.

No comments: