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12/15: America's real enemies
Released 21 December 2005  By Pasadena Weekly (California)

America's real enemies
Editorial: Pasadena Weekly (California)
December 15, 2005

Well, it's official. The Republican Party has finally thrown in the towel and decided that it really isn't "the party of Lincoln" any longer.

If the fact that President Bush is the first Republican since William McKinley to formally enmesh the United States in a full-blown war isn't enough to prove Republicans will never again be what they used to be, at least in historical terms, a move is now afoot in Congress to illustrate just how much the GOP really cares for the very people who made this nation what it is - immigrants.

House Resolution 698, co-authored by Georgia Republican Nathan Deal and signed by 45 equally deluded Congress people, would strip the 14th Amendment of one of its most important clauses.

Sure, equal protection under the law and due process of law are important. But what most people might not know about this all-important constitutional tool with which every civil rights cause in this country was ever fought is that it also guarantees birthright citizenship to anyone born on this hallowed soil.

In fact, the very first words of this amendment are as follows:

"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."

Given the United States was formally created by a bunch of aging, rich white guys who owned slaves, what possible rationale could there be to include such a line in one of America's most sacred documents?

Drafted soon after the Civil War by radical Republicans who hated the South for its embrace of slavery, Congress finally ratified the 14th Amendment in 1868. Also approved during that pivotal post-war period in our young nation's history was the 13th Amendment, which prohibited slavery, and the 15th Amendment, which guaranteed all men - including former slaves - the right to vote.

Over the past century and a half, Section I of the 14th Amendment has served as a beacon for people hoping to make a better life, not only for themselves, but more importantly for their children. The notion of automatic citizenship was as radical as anything of its time, and those certainly were radical times.

The result was an influx of immigrants the likes of which was never seen in any other country and remains unparalleled.

Without that single provision, America would not be the place we know today. The Irish wouldn't have come in droves, Italians would not be here and Germans might have stayed put.

But those aren't the people who Deal and company are trying to get at, are they?

No, everyone knows who these xenophobes are really targeting, and their behavior - not to mention the messages that this type of poison legislation sends - is both repugnant and reprehensible.

Of course, these well-fed racists will come up with all sorts of historical rationale to further erode our basic freedoms. The people who wrote that section of the Constitution didn't really know what they were doing, they'll say. Or the social conditions that existed then are not the same as they today. Duh. Of course they're not the same. It's a billion times better. Besides, back then it was the Irish and the Italians and the Asians and the Catholics and the Jews that they wanted out, not necessarily Latinos, wasn't it?

But here's the best part of this twisted idea. As most people know, it takes a super majority of Congress to change the Constitution. And these idiots from Georgia want Congress - the people who routinely vote themselves obscene pay raises while voting against minimum wage increases and approving open-ended funding for wars on places and people they know nothing about - to vote for this.

Any self-respecting Republican should be ashamed at what these clowns are proposing.

We have a better idea for Mr. Deal: Rather than change the Constitution for your own racist motives, start your own party and call it what it really is, the Nazi Party, or the Klan Party, because that's how you apparently think, and that's how you are perceived by anyone who really loves America and its many blessing of diversity.

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