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Thread: Should individuals born in foreign countries be able to run for president?

  1. #191
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    Re: Should individuals born in foreign countries be able to run for president?

    Quote Originally Posted by Plato View Post
    If you say so.

    What exactly did you say?

    You just confirmed Tom Paine's ineligibility for the Presidency.
    That raises the question -- who was a citizen at the time the colonies became independent. Is there anything definitive by that? There were many other founding fathers who were not born in the 13 colonies. I suppose it COULD be argued that as an English citizen, being a resident of the colonies at the time of independence would result in the conferrence of citizenship in the new country when the Constitution was ratified in 1788.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DiAnna View Post
    I don't have to offer such an argument. The constitution is quite explicit. All presidents shall be born in the USA with the exception of those persons who were citizens at the time the USA was founded... which includes the founding fathers, Washington, Jefferson, et al.



    Well, the constitution is basically "the bible" of government (although since I'm non-religious, I find the comparison rather puerile). Ours is a constitutional republic, which means that we cannot violate the constitution and have a host of supreme court justices around to decide what does and does not violate it. Thus far they have opined that the natural-born president rule is in accordance with the constitution.

    ...

    If the people of the USA want to amend the constitution to revise that clause they are free to do so. Until that time, however, the clause remains in effect.
    If the people of the USA wanted to amend the constitution they would first have to do something that you are refusing to do: discuss it's merits. How bizarre that a thread which questions whether the constitution is right or not is met with a response from you: "well that's the Constitution and that's all there is to say".

    It's as if you don't realize that it's actually allowed to challenge the constitution, that in democracies debating our systems is a healthy thing and that democratic countries, including the United States, develop and refine their constitutions and laws all the time, benefiting from the skepticism and continuous instinct for progress that drive free peoples.

    I am 100% sure that Paine, Franklin and Jefferson would be horrified at the the thought that the Constitution was seen as a "bible", not to be challenged, questioned or discussed, to be accepted as some sort of dogma and cited as some sort of authority that could legitimately stifle debate on it's own merits or demerits.

    Surely it is the old Toryism that just accepted things - because that's the way it has always been - and the whole essence of the American and other democratic revolutions was that their protagonists questioned, debated and developed the status quo.

    It is obvious, as has been pointed out here, that the constitution was written for a young democracy surrounded by more dominant military powers and that this "rule" was for a time long gone. No-one has given the slightest justification for barring Arnie from being POTUS, should the people choose him, other than just grunting "it says so in the Constitution" which I am sure everyone knew before they raised the question: "should it?".
    Last edited by Plato; 03-17-11 at 12:14 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ludahai View Post
    That raises the question -- who was a citizen at the time the colonies became independent. Is there anything definitive by that? There were many other founding fathers who were not born in the 13 colonies. I suppose it COULD be argued that as an English citizen, being a resident of the colonies at the time of independence would result in the conferrence of citizenship in the new country when the Constitution was ratified in 1788.
    Did Paine actually spend enough time in the colonies? He is widely acknowledged as the man who did the most to create the concept of America and yet he was not born or bred in the continent of America. In fact his radicalism was totally international. He participated enthusiastically in the French revolution as well and was really an internationalist revolutionary. The USA would not exist in the same way without this man who was essentially an anti-monarchist rather than someone with a special attachment to the American continent. The man who wrote the book that defined the birthright of America saw the USA as "the cause of all mankind" and his country as "the world". The continuous support of this olde world nationalism in America is the continuous denial of the radicalism of the American ideal as a supra nationalist ideal, a blueprint for a new world.
    There is a way to gain the whole world. It is to gain the people, and having gained them, one gains the whole world. There is a way to gain the people. Gain their hearts and minds and then you gain them. Mencius

  4. #194
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    Re: Should individuals born in foreign countries be able to run for president?

    Quote Originally Posted by Plato View Post
    Did Paine actually spend enough time in the colonies? He is widely acknowledged as the man who did the most to create the concept of America and yet he was not born or bred in the continent of America. In fact his radicalism was totally international. He participated enthusiastically in the French revolution as well and was really an internationalist revolutionary. The USA would not exist in the same way without this man who was essentially an anti-monarchist rather than someone with a special attachment to the American continent. The man who wrote the book that defined the birthright of America saw the USA as "the cause of all mankind" and his country as "the world". The continuous support of this olde world nationalism in America is the continuous denial of the radicalism of the American ideal as a supra nationalist ideal, a blueprint for a new world.
    That is what I would like to know. He had been there since 1774 and the Constitution was ratified in 1788. I would guess that would be long enough, but I am not sure. Also, again, it could be argued that as the colonies were actually British territory until 1783, anyone who was a British citizen residing in the colonies at the time of the signing of the Treaty of Paris would conceivably be a citizen.. but I am far from an expert on this...
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  5. #195
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    Re: Should individuals born in foreign countries be able to run for president?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ikari View Post
    No, it's a restriction by We the People on who can run.
    So the document that is primary document of United States government and was signed by a small group of men (not "the people") is not a government restriction?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ikari View Post
    The government cannot just get rid of the rule, you'd have to amend the Constitution to do so.
    When did I propose that the government just scrap this rule without going through the amendment process? I thought that this was a given, especially coming from me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ikari View Post
    Thus it is not a government restriction, it is a restriction placed on the government by the founders.
    It does not matter who or what it restricts. It is still the law, which was put into place by our government. In fact the clause that you refer to, very much does restrict individuals who want to run for President. If you have to be a 35 year old, natural-born citizen to run for President, then what does the document say about young immigrants?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ikari View Post
    I have no problem with denying foriegners the ability to run for our highest office. Until we get to the point where we ourselves cannot field a proper team of qualified politicians, there is no need to change it.
    Who is to say that an immigrant could not do the job even better. This is not the most pressing matter, but it seems unfair that a person can be legally restricted due to an accident of birth. The voters can pick candidates that are inept for a near infinite amount of reasons, but are denied because one quality might negatively affect their Presidency, they have to be booted.
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  6. #196
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    Re: Should individuals born in foreign countries be able to run for president?

    Quote Originally Posted by ludahai View Post
    That is what I would like to know. He had been there since 1774 and the Constitution was ratified in 1788. I would guess that would be long enough, but I am not sure. Also, again, it could be argued that as the colonies were actually British territory until 1783, anyone who was a British citizen residing in the colonies at the time of the signing of the Treaty of Paris would conceivably be a citizen.. but I am far from an expert on this...
    But that is a legalistic argument. Clearly someone like Paine was born and brought up far away from America. Even after 1776 he spent a lot of time in Europe, particularly France. He rejected the concept of citizenship altogether with his "the world is my country...". And yet he defined the American Revolution and was probably the single individual who contributed the most towards it (even according to John Adams who regarded him as a dangerous radical).

    The spirit of the Revolution was not one of the narrow chauvinism that is portrayed in this thread where people continuously define naturalized Americans as "unAmerican" and somehow liable to disloyalty and treachery as a result of this. This is a Toryism twisted to suit a nationalism that is of this century, not the Age of Enlightenment where to seek America was an act of political disloyalty to the Old World and commitment to the new ideals. It is similar to the Tory arguments that bound the American continent to Britain: irrational, based on "because I say so" dogma, and riddled with xenophobia (such as the anti Catholic fear of Spain, or alien France, that British Tories had always propagated in colonial America). Such irrational twaddle was comprehensively demolished in Paine's Common Sense, the pamphlet that lit the fuse of American independence..

    It is obvious that the constitutional requirement was not a "universal principle" but a short term defence against domination by the foreign powers that were all around, whether France, Britain or anyone else. The constitution was right for its time. It was never a timeless principle. You could even argue that the "thirty five" rule is out of date because now people live longer, acquire "seniority" and wisdom later in life, and therefore should be increased to reflect this. To argue that the "years" and "age limits" put in place in the eighteenth century are exactly the same today is to demonstrate a major misunderstanding of (or stubbiorn refusal to consider) how life has changed in the last two hundred years.

    The concept that someone who chooses America - the country which represents ideas and principles in contrast to all other countriues which arose from the power struggles of aristocrats - is less "American" than someone who finds themselves American through an accident of birth, is bizarre. Converts are always more zealous. To leave your country and embrace a new one is surely the most patriotic act to the new country that one can commit, short of dying for it.

    This debate is about abusing the American Constitution and using it as an infallible piece of dogma to trump democratic principles and the primacy of democracy. It is part of the exceptionalist agenda to define America as a political ssytem to be frozen in time as a chosen paradise ordained from above. It fits an agenda which defines progress as bad and to be opposed. It is quite extraordinary to see such superstition and irrationality being employed towards a document written by men who made their lives about facing down such things and taking the world (not just the USA) on a journey away from dogma and "unquestionable edicts" towards one that debates, questions, develops and changes with progress.
    Last edited by Plato; 03-18-11 at 12:39 AM.
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  7. #197
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    Re: Should individuals born in foreign countries be able to run for president?

    Quote Originally Posted by DrunkenAsparagus View Post
    So the document that is primary document of United States government and was signed by a small group of men (not "the people") is not a government restriction?
    No more than the Bill of Rights is a government restriction. The Constitution was created and signed by a small group of men, but ratified by the many States (of course back then, who could vote was limited). It is not the government, it is in fact a contract between We the People and the government they created. It is thus a restriction on government, not a restriction by government.

    Quote Originally Posted by DrunkenAsparagus View Post
    When did I propose that the government just scrap this rule without going through the amendment process? I thought that this was a given, especially coming from me.
    I was just pointing out why it wasn't a government restriction. It's not a restriction which was created by the government. It is a restriction by We the People, the creators and ratifiers of the Constitution, on the government.

    Quote Originally Posted by DrunkenAsparagus View Post
    It does not matter who or what it restricts. It is still the law, which was put into place by our government. In fact the clause that you refer to, very much does restrict individuals who want to run for President. If you have to be a 35 year old, natural-born citizen to run for President, then what does the document say about young immigrants?
    It was not put in place by the government. It was put in place by the people who created the government. There's a difference.

    Quote Originally Posted by DrunkenAsparagus View Post
    Who is to say that an immigrant could not do the job even better. This is not the most pressing matter, but it seems unfair that a person can be legally restricted due to an accident of birth. The voters can pick candidates that are inept for a near infinite amount of reasons, but are denied because one quality might negatively affect their Presidency, they have to be booted.
    An immigrant could very possibly do the job. But we have enough qualified candidates for the job already so we're not hurting for it. Plus by removing the restriction, we do open ourselves up to greater control by outside interests. Thus it does not seem prudent nor necessary at this time to scrape the rule.
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  8. #198
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    Re: Should individuals born in foreign countries be able to run for president?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ikari View Post
    No more than the Bill of Rights is a government restriction. The Constitution was created and signed by a small group of men, but ratified by the many States (of course back then, who could vote was limited). It is not the government, it is in fact a contract between We the People and the government they created. It is thus a restriction on government, not a restriction by government.
    The states were not government's? The government can have laws restricting itself.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ikari View Post
    I was just pointing out why it wasn't a government restriction. It's not a restriction which was created by the government. It is a restriction by We the People, the creators and ratifiers of the Constitution, on the government.
    Let's not put the document on a pedestal. It was a brilliant framework, and may have represented the "people," but when you have a representative democracy pretty much every action by the government is "representative of the people," at least in theory. That's what a representative government is, by definition. If the Constitution isn't a series of laws, because it is "representative of the people," then we would have no laws.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ikari View Post
    It was not put in place by the government. It was put in place by the people who created the government. There's a difference.
    And ratified by state governments, enforced by the government, and is the framework of the government. This argument goes past the point I was making. I was pointing out the silliness of restricting the immigrants, because it's already the rule. It's not important what you call it, but the qualifications for President are restrictions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ikari View Post
    An immigrant could very possibly do the job. But we have enough qualified candidates for the job already so we're not hurting for it. Plus by removing the restriction, we do open ourselves up to greater control by outside interests. Thus it does not seem prudent nor necessary at this time to scrape the rule.
    If an immigrant could do the job, why is there an issue? Sure we have plenty of candidates, why not let the people pick more? This is like saying I have 500 channels, but if I should not get this other good channel at no extra charge, because I already have so many. You already had a lot, but why not more?
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  9. #199
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    Re: Should individuals born in foreign countries be able to run for president?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Mark View Post

    It is simply that, until some way of completely examining a person’s mind (and for that matter, laws that allow such) exists, one of the best stays against a person who has designs against America becoming president is to bar any but natural born (which I think means born of at least one citizen, in general?) citizens.
    But the whole examining a person's mind thing presumes a difference that is inherent to immigrants to begin with, a superficial and maybe artificially created presumption at best - I mean, look at people who have been citizens all their lives and yet want the country to fall.
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    Re: Should individuals born in foreign countries be able to run for president?

    Quote Originally Posted by DrunkenAsparagus View Post
    The states were not government's? The government can have laws restricting itself.
    The States are, they have their own forms of constitutions. The State's ratified the Constitution, but it's not like nothing was voted on or changed. People had influence and many States came back with changes here and there. In the end, the Constitution itself is not a government, it is a contract between the ones creating the government "We the People" and the government intended to be created. It is ceding to the government, loaned from the People. There was a lot of debate and inquiry and input on behalf of the people towards the creation of the Constitution.

    Quote Originally Posted by DrunkenAsparagus View Post
    Let's not put the document on a pedestal. It was a brilliant framework, and may have represented the "people," but when you have a representative democracy pretty much every action by the government is "representative of the people," at least in theory. That's what a representative government is, by definition. If the Constitution isn't a series of laws, because it is "representative of the people," then we would have no laws.
    There is no pedestal, I called the Constitution what it was, it's a contract. It is not itself the series of laws constructed by government. It is a list of things government is allowed to do, what powers it has, what powers it must share, and what it is forbidden from doing. That's all. The restriction on people outside the US being allowed to run for President is a restriction on the government; not by the government.

    Quote Originally Posted by DrunkenAsparagus View Post
    And ratified by state governments, enforced by the government, and is the framework of the government. This argument goes past the point I was making. I was pointing out the silliness of restricting the immigrants, because it's already the rule. It's not important what you call it, but the qualifications for President are restrictions.
    Yes, there's lots of restrictions on government.

    Quote Originally Posted by DrunkenAsparagus View Post
    If an immigrant could do the job, why is there an issue? Sure we have plenty of candidates, why not let the people pick more? This is like saying I have 500 channels, but if I should not get this other good channel at no extra charge, because I already have so many. You already had a lot, but why not more?
    I do not see the need to outsource our highest office just yet. I see no need to open ourselves further to foreign influence when we have what it takes to do the job right here at home. There is no necessity for it, and till that becomes true there is no point in allowing the added risks which come from outsourcing our Presidency.
    You know the time is right to take control, we gotta take offense against the status quo

    Quote Originally Posted by A. de Tocqueville
    "I should have loved freedom, I believe, at all times, but in the time in which we live I am ready to worship it."

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