Posted August 21, 2015

Constitutional Jenga

The latest blow-up on the right, fueled by “the mouth that roared” who throws verbal gasoline onto the rhetorical fire every day in an effort to keep his throbbing poll numbers up, has started a conflagration that promises to burn brightly long into the dark run-up to the 2016 Presidential nominations. The challenge is to see if it won’t consume the entire Republican field of candidates.
“Teach a man to build a fire, and your keep him warm for the night. Set a man on fire, and you’ll keep him warm for the rest of his life.”
Everyone loves a bonfire, and during this dry summer, with the air quickly filling with smoke in the Western states, Americans seem to be metaphorically running east ahead of the flames in the direction of Washington D.C., perhaps to watch it also burn. Once they get there, they’ll discover “The Donald” has decided to fan a fire in the Republican hay barn that’s been long smoldering among old, white, conservatives for the past decade, and then they’ll undoubtedly notice someone’s laid-off the local fire department, and emptied all the hydrants.
The latest front-burner issue is that of birthright citizenship. It’s centered on the 14th amendment to the U.S. Constitution. That’s the amendment which determines, after the post-Civil War decision on slaves, who gets to be an American, and who doesn’t. The Donald, and now several of his fellow candidates, contends that enough is enough when it comes to these so-called “birth tourists”, with their “anchor babies”, streaming in by the supposed millions, from south of the border, trying to become naturalized citizens on U.S. soil by any means necessary.
Trump has gone on the record in the past few days calling for the repealing, or changing of the 14th amendment. The problem, of course is that he, and the rest of the clown cavalcade, are playing “Constitutional Jenga”. Their call for revisions to the Dred Scott decision of 1857 could cause an avalanche of collapsing SCOTUS decisions dating back almost 150 years, and leave our current Constitutional law a mess.
Everything from Row v. Wade, to Brown v. Board of Education, Bush v. Gore, to Obergevell v. Hodges (regarding same-sex marriage,) would need to be re-evaluated and revised, as they were based in-part on the 14th amendment. I doubt the Scalia/Thomas/Alito bench would be interested in putting overtime in on the universe of legal decisions necessary. And, so much for being able to find a “jury of your peers”  in a court of law, once this ill-timed short-sightedness potentially hobbles the justice system.
Trump, in clarifying his stance, offered the idea of kicking everyone out, and them bringing them back in via an “expedited” process. This statement raises too many questions: Where is the waiting room to fit all these 11 million people? How expedited can an NIS bureaucratic process possibly be? Can we also boot out Ted Cruz? Please?
This bone-headed concept is a perfect example of the coyote howl heard at the end of the world, railing against the dying of the light. These rich old white men think they are still relevant and in charge of a rapidly changing national demographic. With this country-club mentality, a defective mind like Scott Walker, for instance, may not know where or when to stop.
When the roles are called by whomever is in charge there are quite a number of legal who should also be shown the door; Dick Cheney (I hear The Hague would offer him a bed,) Michelle Bachman, Scott Walker (would he pass a voter IQ test?), Canadian Rafael Eduardo Cruz, Ann Coulter, George Zimmerman (along with the rest of the open-carry nuts,) and countless others.
See? It doesn’t just end there. We could start taking away the citizen ship of anyone left out of the original Declaration of Independence, too; women, native Americans (oh, irony), white people who don’t own real-estate, ad infinitum. The list is long and sad, and with draconian visions for a better America, we could fast-track ourselves to the fascist nation so many are gunning for (pardon the pun.)
As Paul Thomas, of the New Zealand Herald, and a documented “foreigner” recently pointed out in his July 17th article, entitled “The Greatest Threat To America? Republicans”, while looking in from the outside…“Trump personifies everything the rest of the world despises about America: casual racism, crass materialism, relentless self-aggrandizement, vulgarity on an epic scale….The fact that so many Republicans are comfortable with the thought of this monumentally unqualified man in the Oval Office shows how warped the Party has become.”
Of course, all of this bully-rhetoric on the right is just so much smoke and mirrors to appease the disenfranchised voter. Spewing this type of divisive red meat re-focuses the attention of the pissed-off right wing white electorate on a non-problem, and away from the real reasons for the problems this nation faces. To steer the campaign intercourse to divisive issues proves a sad state of affairs when attempting to choose a leader with a voice. The only voices of reason among the contenders on the right appear to be Carly Fiorina, George Pataki, Marco Rubio, Jeb Shrub, and John Kasich (heretics!), who recently stated, “When I think about it, I don’t believe it should be a fundamental part of this whole thing, because I think it remains dividing to people, to be honest with you”. But these attitudes are subject to change in the rapidly morphing field.
Immigrants have always been fair game for Republicans, a party who, don’t forget, somewhat evolved from the mid-1880s nativist party ‘The Know Nothings’. The Know-Nothings were instrumental in scape-goating the fresh crop of Irish Catholic, German, and other immigrants fresh off the boat from Europe. The nativists also beat the drum of hate for outsiders. They paint the immigrant who helped build America as leeches and criminals.
To get a truer perspective on how immigrants built this country, think back to Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle” (1906) and the typical immigrant of that period. The main character, Lithuanian immigrant “Jurgis Rudkus”, busts his ass for a scrap of the American Dream, all the while watching it dissolve through graft, corruption, unregulated conditions and degredation. Hell, while you’re at it, look-up and read about Roger Williams, the first governor of the Plymouth colony, and his six children born in this brave new world, once he “crossed the border, undocumented”. He named his 2nd daughter, born in Salem, MA., Freeborn, his 3rd, Providence, and his 4th, Mercy.
Or, check out Benjamin Franklin’s 1782 essay, “Information to Those Who would remove to America”, about which has been observed and paraphrased:
“America was not a playground for European aristocracy, Franklin let them know; it was no land of ease for entitled "gentlemen" who regarded labor as beneath them. It was a land of opportunity for "sober, industrious, and frugal" men to work hard and build stable lives for their families, thereby fortifying the new nation. In America, he wrote, "people do not inquire . . . What is he? But What does he do?" 
As we watch this circus unfold it’s tent, and start barking for votes, we as a nation need to be vigilant. Sure, we can’t help but rubber-neck at the car crash the Republican race has become, but we also need to learn its inherent lesson. When the new political crop has it’s back up against the wall, they will do anything for survival and domination. As they make a grab for the machete to start making drastic cuts, they will also grab the flame thrower, if it’s handy.
Something stinks on Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus’ sinking ship, and everytime it pulls into a debate port, The Donald, among others vying for the ticket, fail to pass the prima patria smell test.

--Colter Langan


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