mad in pursuit: greed & arrogance

2004 political season

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greed & arrogance index


11.18.04 Make Room for Arnold?

I was asked to submit another opinion to the local paper. In less than 150 words, "Should there be a constitutional amendment to allow naturalized U.S. citizens to run for President?" The Friends of Arnie are already aiming him toward the White House. There is actually movement in the Senate to put the amendment together. The wording is being debated: Is 20 years of citizenship enough (Arnie's tenure) or is 35 preferred? Should the candidate be a citizen before the age of 10? Should this only go into effect at some future date, to disqualify the current contenders?

What I wrote:

If an amendment expands the talent pool for the office of President, I have no argument with it. The technicality of one's birthplace seems trivial, especially if one has been a naturalized citizen for decades. But are there 38 state legislatures who won't be affronted by the idea of a foreign-born U.S. President? Didn't we just endure a political season in which an internationalist Vietnam War hero lost votes in middle America because he "looked French"? Debate about this amendment will be a good indicator of whether our "melting pot" nation is as xenophobic and intolerant as the last election suggests.

Frankly, it's kind of a yawn. With amendments floating around about flag-burning, school prayer, and the definition of marriage, we are looking silly and distractible.

Across the Atlantic, Salon reports, as we American "gnaw on our innards," Europeans are considering their first constitution as a combined entity. According to the author Andrew O'Hehir:

It should ... serve as an inspiration to progressives around the world. It bars capital punishment in all 25 nations and defines such things as universal healthcare, child care, paid annual leave, parental leave, housing for the poor, and equal treatment for gays and lesbians as fundamental human rights. Most of these are still hotly contested questions in the United States; as [Jeremy] Rifkin* says, this document all by itself makes the European Union the world leader in the human rights debate. It is the first governing document that aspires to universality, "with rights and responsibilities that encompass the totality of human existence on Earth."

*author of "The European Dream: How Europe's Vision of the Future Is Quietly Eclipsing the American Dream"

Hmmm... maybe a few Europeans in the national talent pool would do us some good.





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