Insanity Reigns

The current 14th amendment debate is driving me bonkers.  I have gotten within an inch of throwing my remote at right wing talking heads on the TV.  I have resisted this urge, at least for now.  While some, such as Senator Graham, are saying that it simply a call to “amend” it, making any case where someone is refused citizenship despite being born in this great land is a removal of this fundamental right.  I understand the anger and fear of illegal immigration.  But the going after the 14th amendment is both morally and practically crazy.  Many countries in Europe do not give birthright citizenship and that has led to disaster and the rise of Islamic extremism in France.  Now this is a pretty big claim, but I plan on proving it.

In post WWII France, the male population was decimated.  Their were not enough men to provide the labor force to fuel the Marshall Plan, so the Republic created a guest worker program, allowing for a huge influx of foreign workers.  Now like most immigrants, these workers moved into the same neighborhoods, giving them a place where they could be together.  Eventually many brought their wives and started families.  Now these guest workers did not get to vote, so these neighborhoods turned pretty crummy because they had no real political representation.  Social services like schools were well below national averages.

European citizenship policies were (and to this day, in many cases still are) draconian compared to those of the US.  This is because unlike the US where the national identity is based on a shared intellectual paradigm and acceptance of the constitution, European nations have national identities based on race.  The very names of the nations convey such racial identities.  Italy is composed of Italians, Germany is composed of Germans, France is composed of French, etc.  This means that even if you do acquire citizenship in such a country, it will take generations of melting your genetics in  to the society before your progeny are recognized as true countrymen of that nation.

This racially based national mentality meant that you do not become a citizen of most nations by merit of being born there,  Even if your parents are there legally, you do not necessarily earn citizenship unless your parents were citizens themselves (as opposed to being guest workers).  The result of this was literally generations of people who were born and raised in France that are not French citizens.  There are people who’s great grandparents came to France on the guest worker program who still do not have the right to vote.  Due to a continued lack of representations, these ghettos continued to degenerate.  There is no a significant population of young Muslim men who have been excluded from the benefits of western society, and understandably have become extremely angry over this.  This has created an environment that is combustible.  We have seen multiple cases of mass riots in France that engulf the suburbs and emergency workers need police escorts when being deployed to certain neighborhoods.  More worryingly, it has created an environment of anger that the most radical branches of Islam are trying to exploit and recruit out from.  Now, to be fair, France has been working to create paths for citizenship for these people, making it a simple process to claim their citizenship, but many do not have the level of basic education and understanding of civic infrastructure required to navigate the bureaucracy to take advantage of this  resulted in relatively few people taking advantage of this.  It is too little too late.  France will be suffering from the effects of their immigration narrow mindedness for the next several generations.

Many of my friends often worry about the radicalization of Islam within Europe and fear that those practices are coming to north America.  I do not have that fear because the radicalization of European Islam is rooted in a social disjunction between immigrants and society.  Simply put, many “immigrants” do not feel they have a stake in society even after residing there for generations.  The US (and Canada for that matter) embrace new immigrants and while many struggle upon arrival, they feel that they have a stake in the country both financially and politically.

I want to be clear, I am not saying that if the 14th amendment gets repealed the US will be flooded with the Mexican Al Quaeda tomorrow.  What I am saying is that repealing the 14th will create a second class of citizens in the United States.  If one’s parents are in the country illegal, than they will not be citizens here.  Entire areas of cities will be populated by people who do not have American citizenship, and have no future of American citizenship for their children,  They will have any chance of a future stake in American society.   Within such an environment, crime and political extremism (aka violent extremism) will thrive.  Now I can say with absolute certainty it will not be Islamic extremism that would take root.  Anyone that says that is paranoid, stupid, crazy, and racist.  However, it is not unimaginable that a branch of Mexican organized used a political philosophy to recruit the disenfranchised, similar to the FARC and right wing paramilitary involvement with the cocaine trade.  It is these fears that makes me see the idea of rejecting the 14th amendment having the potential to be worse than any other policy idea that has been put forward by members of the political mainstream in my life.

Even if you do not recognize the above argument, we must not reject the 14th amendment.  This is a nation of immigrants, a nation where almost all of our ancestors came from somewhere else.  Our forefathers came here as refugees fleeing religious and political persecution, leaving behind starvation, and many were brought here as slaves.  We are Irish-Americans, African Americans, Italian-Americans, Jewish-Americans, and yes, Mexican-Americans.  In one way or another, we are all descended of the world’s rejects, and look at what we have accomplished.  Unlike many nations we do not share a common racial history.  What we share as Americans is that we were born here.  The  fundamental ideas of the United States are so great that anyone who is born in the great land is an American citizen, free from any crimes or sins of their parents, blessed with one of the greatest sets rights in history; those afforded to us by the Constitution of the United States of America.

4 Responses to “Insanity Reigns”

  1. opit says:

    In Arizona they are suddenly faced with empty shops because Mexican shoppers don’t care to run the immigration gauntlet.
    Native Americans who happened to have their ancestors arrive thousands of years ago complain of problems at borders. It’s the same north of the 49th, mind : we have a neocon PM.
    ‘Black’ people have a whole ‘nother perception of ‘their’ country, because if you are a young black male your chances of landing in jail are excellent.
    The 14th Amendment challenge would have been interesting for the likes of John McCain, born in Panama.
    I’m old enough to remember articles about entertainers and other travelers dealing with separate washrooms,restaurants,schools,etc. in the South : apartheid in fact.
    I’m not knocking the Constitution, which officials and military are sworn to uphold. I just know that it is, in fact, mocked in practice. As far as ‘rights’ are concerned, one need look no farther than the ‘PATRIOT’ Act, which outlines how people no longer receive even failed legal protection.
    It beats me how the country of the American Nazi Party, Joe McCarthy, the KKK, Hoover’s FBI, the draft and ‘Nam, and slain brothers Kennedy can be reconciled with your historical notions. You live in the country of Gitmo and Abu Ghraib – and I live in the one of Bagram.
    Might I suggest a little ‘Black’ or ‘Indian’ news in your online diet. You might find you have been far too comfortable in seclusion.

  2. The 14th amendment was never intended to allow anchor babies !! Read your history, the 14th amendment has truly been bastardized…..

    Islamic Violence is a relatively new phenomenon in Europe, I don’t see how you can tie it back to post WW2 immigration. Certainly one could make a case that Immigration itself, the grand influx of Muslims recently is the main cause of strife in Europe.

    Geez, amazing how people like you throw out terms like ‘racist’ towards other Americans while at the same time making exception for a religion whose core tenets are racist. You do this out of fear, the mohamudans scare you.

    So yes, “Insanity Reigns” .. but as usual, the insanity is on YOUR side.

  3. Green Eagle says:

    I was puzzled too by the utter irrationality of this campaign, until I thought I would read the fourteenth amendment. To my surprise, I found this clause in it:

    “The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions…shall not be questioned.”

    Perhaps I am just too cynical about our Republican counterparts, but it occurs to me that, in this sentence, might be found the Republicans’ real reason for this campaign. We know that, if they can take back control of the Federal government they will immediately resume the looting of our national wealth that formed the substance of Bush administration economic policy. Are they preparing to loot government pension funds, and then just default on our national debt without a second thought? That sure wouldn’t be more than a step beyond their plans to loot the Social Security fund, spend trillions on tax giveaways to the rich, and then leave Dems to clean up the mess.

  4. Green Eagle: what do you mean by Bush and Co looting pension funds etc?? Let’s hear an example. Last I checked pension funds lost tons of $$ in the stock market and have become very burdensome on local and state budgets. Increasingly public worker pensions are gobbling up our tax dollars.

    Social Security is far in the Red, there is no lock box. Both Democrats and Republicans have been irresponsible with it, adding surplus SS $’s to the general fund where it is never to be seen again.

    How can there be tax giveaways to the Rich when the top 5% pay 95% of the taxes?? Money has to be taken away, in the form of a tax before it can be ‘given’ back to anyone. I just don’t get what you’re talking about here.

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