by David T. Bruce
Information provided by The White House tells us that the Constitution lists only three qualifications for the Presidency — the President must be 35 years of age, be a natural born citizen, and must have lived in the United States for at least 14 years.
Our first seven presidents are:George Washington – born 1732 – President 1789-1797 John Adams – born 1735 – President 1797-1801 Thomas Jefferson – born 1743 – President 1801-1809 James Madison – born 1751 – President 1809-1817 James Monroe – born 1758 – President 1817-1825 John Quincy Adams– born 1767 – President 1825-1829 Andrew Jackson – born 1767 – President 1829-1837
We could argue that these men, George Washington in particular, are not natural born citizens, Washington specifically being a British subject prior to the adoption of the U. S. Constitution. While we can agree that he was naturalized at the time the Constitution was ratified, he would still not necessarily qualify under the requirements written in Article II, Section 1. We could also argue that the caveat allowing for those people who became citizens at the time the Constitution was adopted was a way for Washington, Adams,Jefferson, et al would allow for said citizens to serve as president of their new nation, with the populace’s best interests at heart. We can also appreciate that these requirements were written with the intent to prevent a conflict of interest were candidates of foreign countries eligible to become President of the United States. The ongoing debate, however, regarding the eligibility of President Obama under this article of the Constitution is in no way reflective of any respect for the Constitution or the Executive Office.
The argument vehemently debated prior to the nomination and election of Obama is again taking center stage, just in time for the 2012 election campaigns. According to an article published in the Huffington Post, the Arizona Legislature approved a proposal requiring the current president and subsequent presidents to prove their citizenship prior to having their names placed on the Arizona state ballot. Carl Seel, Republican representative for the state of Arizona indicated that the bill was not about opposing Obama. Given the repetitive, vigorous political harassment of Obama since he assumed his position as President, Seel’s testimony is very difficult to believe.
The combined efforts of the Republican Party and the Tea Party have turned the past two and one half years into a partisan mêlée, in which little has been accomplished on behalf of American citizens. Candidates are no sooner elected then they begin campaigning, undermining the efforts of each other, all in hopes of maintaining a life-style they all enjoy at the sacrifice of the working-class people of the United States. The citizenship conspiracy theory is yet another political game being played by our elected representatives, in their efforts to take our attention away from the fact that they are poised to significantly diminish, if not eliminate, health benefits and food programs that help support elderly, disabled, and low-income Americans, while at the same time, they intend to extend or initiate tax cuts that benefit the wealthiest people and companies of this country, people and companies who already enjoy enough tax cuts and loop holes to pay virtually no taxes today.
If we can rationalize that George Washington was eligible to be president when the evidence was circumstantial, then we can certainly put to rest that Barack Obama is eligible to be president when sufficient proof has been repeatedly provided and courts have supported Obama’s eligibility. This latest gambit from the Republican – Tea Party tag-team has nothing to do with loyalty to the United States or support of the U. S. Constitution. This is yet more smoke screen and a method of maintaining the status quo that partners politics with capitalism, establishing a democratic government that works only for those who are educated, affluent, and high-ranking.