Add this symbol to the NASDAQ: VOTE

Scanning the news, I encountered an article about Governor Schwarzenegger’s Sunday talk show debut. It seems he had a few interesting ideas to discuss.

He made a push for foreign-born citizens to become eligible to run for the Presidency. Consider this:

“There are so many people in this country that are now from overseas, that are immigrants, that are doing such a terrific job with their work, bringing businesses here, that there’s no reason why not,” said Schwarzenegger, who became a U.S. citizen in 1983.

“Look at the kind of contribution that people like Henry Kissinger have made, Madeleine Albright,” he said, referring to two former secretaries of state who were born in Europe.

Schwarzenegger said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he has been too busy with California’s problems to contemplate a future run for the White House. “I have no idea, I haven’t thought about that at all,” he said.

For Arnold Schwarzenegger and other foreign-born citizens to become eligible, we’ll need to amend the Constitution. Fortunately, just in time to allow Gov. Schwarzenegger to consider a future run for the White House, Sen. Orrin Hatch has proposed such an amendment.

I haven’t thought about this issue in enough depth to determine how I feel about it. My initial reaction is to oppose any such amendment. America’s strength comes from its diversity, but there was a rationalization for including that stipulation in the Constitution that hasn’t changed. While it may be outdated and closed-minded, it must be considered. Please read this article for a detailed analysis.

Here is the text of Senator Hatch’s proposed amendment, Senate Joint Resolution 15:

SECTION 1. A person who is a citizen of the United States, who has been for 20 years a citizen of the United States, and who is otherwise eligible to the Office of President , is not ineligible to that Office by reason of not being a native born citizen of the United States.

SECTION 2. This article shall not take effect unless it has been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States not later than 7 years from the date of its submission to the States by the Congress.

My primary issue is how convenient that 20 year citizenship requirement is for Governor Schwarzenegger. Perhaps pursuing the House version introduced by Rep. Vic Snyder and co-sponsored by Rep. Barney Frank would be wiser. In the House version, a foreign-born individual would need to be a citizen for 35 years before becoming eligible for the presidency. Not only does that put aside the appearance of special consideration for Gov. Schwarzenegger, it adds a buffer to some of the potential fears about allowing foreign-born citizens to occupy the White House.

Also, although it’s implicit in the Constitution, the Snyder/Frank amendment would put an equal restriction on foreign-born individuals that I face as an individual born in the United States. I have to be a citizen for 35 years before I’m eligible to be president, so a foreign-born individual should face the same. Even though the Constitution would still require someone to be 35 or older, foreign-born or not, everyone would have to meet the same basic requirement of 35 years of citizenship. If someone like Arnold Schwarzenegger didn’t become a citizen until he was 35 years-old, that’s bad luck. Fair isn’t always pretty.

Moving on, Al Gore won California in 2000, so the assumption is that California is dominated by Democrats. Yet, Gov. Schwarzenegger believes that President Bush can still win California in November’s presidential election. However, to gain the support of Kahlifornians, the Governor believes that President Bush’s vote total is directly proportional to the amount of federal funds directed into California.

“I think it is totally directly related to how much he will do for our state, there’s no two ways about it,” Schwarzenegger said. “Because Californian people are like a mirror, you know that what you do for them they will do back for you,” Schwarzenegger said.

“If the federal government does great things for California this year I think there’s no two ways about it, that President Bush can have California, he can be elected, I’m absolutely convinced of that.”

I’m not a citizen of California, so I’m angry about this assumption. It’s unacceptable for the President to use the tax dollars of all Americans to bribe Californians for their vote. I’m not naive enough to believe that this doesn’t happen in Congress, but I’ve never seen such a blatant, open admission that a state can/should be bribed. Gov. Schwarzenegger’s statement is a disgrace to honest government.

5 thoughts on “Add this symbol to the NASDAQ: VOTE”

  1. Well, this is the first amendment proposal I don’t automatically scream, “NO!” upon hearing. Still, the idea of a potential President who sounds like a pupil of Harold Ramis’ character in “Stripes”…
    Sheet. Son of beetch.

  2. Hey Tony, What’s your political stance on this. Be honest now. LOL Hve you guys watched THE VIDEO yet? I still don’t know if I like it or not.

  3. Here’s where I can say I respectfully disagree 🙂
    Those who choose to become citizens have gone out and learned about American laws, customs, and the like to “earn” citizenship. My mother had her citizenship interview last Friday and will be sworn in as a U.S. citizen in 4-5 weeks. She has lived in the U.S. for twenty-one years now and has contributed positively to the U.S. economy as a businesswoman and entrepeneur for all 21 years. I see nothing wrong with someone who has contributed that much to our society to become its president.
    The issue with the Governator: Well, perhaps the 20-year mark is “convenient,” but he too has contributed enormously to our culture and society, and contributed heartily to its tax base. He was elected democratically, and while I may disagree with his politics, I can respect him as a self-made icon and millionnaire.
    I can live with the 35-year rule, though. I see your point about all individuals having to spend 35 years as a citizen, whether through natural birthright or through naturalization. But I believe that the Constitutional age requirement has more to do with maturity than citizenship. The Constitution was written in an era where the average life expectancy probably was around 50, so the age of 35 assumed a certain maturity in life and a certain amount of wisdom procured. Age 35 in 2004 means something very different, in my opinion, and I’m not certain that that is a valid argument for requiring an equal number of years of citizenship for non-native born Americans.
    Just my two cents. By the way, I watched the “Meet the Press” interview. If you get a transcript, read the Ralph Nader interview. I don’t care if you agree with his politics or not, he was so well-spoken about corporate politics that I was practically making love to my tv set 🙂

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