Going for Your Morning Constitutional

It's sort of hard to know where to start. Trying to make sense of the current "Big Republican Candidate Position" about eliminating the 14th Amendment is somewhat like being at a birthday party for 3-year-olds that's being held at a Gymboree and trying to herd all the kiddies together while they're running around over-energized on sugar from the cake and ice cream, hoping to get them to just sit down for 30 seconds so that they can get ready for nap time.

I really don't know where to start.

After all, when the concept that "The 14th Amendment is part of the U.S. Constitution" doesn't seem to register and has no impact, you know you're headed for the edge of the cliff.

And when going to the next step and quoting the very first sentence of that 14th Amendment -- "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" -- goes whizzing around and flying past without being able to land on safe ground, it becomes further clear that the common bond of English language doesn't help.

It gets even more other-worldy, something so bizarre that Lewis Carroll wouldn't have even dared put in Wonderland for being slammed as too ludicrous when you have Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) -- who as state legislator was a supporter of in-state tuition for children of illegal immigrants, and who just two years ago was a co-sponsor of a bipartisan bill in the U.S. Senate that provided an earned pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants...and whose own parents were not citizens of the United States when he himself was born here, which is what made HIM a citizen!!! -- now says, " I am open to exploring ways of not allowing people who are coming here deliberately for that purpose to acquire citizenship."

And things spin even more out of control when Donald Trump (R-Trump) goes on "Fox News" and explains that a few lawyers have told him that the Constitution is unconstitutional. No, really. "I don't think they have American citizenship," he said, "and if you speak to some very, very good lawyers, some would disagree. But many of them agree with me--you're going to find they do not have American citizenship."

Just like you're going to find, according to Donald Trump and many of his very, very good lawyers, that Barack Obama doesn't have a U.S. birth certificate, not counting the one that Mr. Obama has made public.

And taking it further into the mad whirling dervish, pretty much all the Republican candidates for president (with the exception of Jeb Bush, and even he has had to hedge his bets ever-so-slightly) have largely jumped on the bandwagon to speak of their outrage over how the Constitution is written and show their support for intolerance and pointless, pandering indignation.

And how do these fine Republican candidates even refer to what is at the center this issue? "Anchor babies." No, really. Hey, yes, let's get even more demeaning, if that's even possible considering the standards of today's Republican Party, given its support for the leading candidate whose poll numbers rise as he ridicules a war hero, smears Mexicans as rapists, and calls women fat and ugly and pigs, without being taken to task by most of his fellow competitors. (There's far more, as we've seen for the past six years, but that should suffice for now.) Just to be clear, though, about this: they aren't "anchor babies,"-- the correct term is "citizens of the United States."

(Side note: for the record, it is not possible to determine if the term "Anchor babies" exists only because the word "tar" was already taken.)

If you want to debate how best to deal with an issue that bothers you, swell, go to it, but let's deal with it for what it actually is. Calling these American citizens nothing more than just insignificant little "anchor babies" makes it so much more comfortable to dismiss them. So much easier to ignore and hide what you're trying to do. Keeping in mind, too, just for proper perspective, that these "anchor babies" who the GOP candidates insist are causing such a problem for America are now, in fact, not just babies, but grown children and adults. But of course it's more difficult making your case if you have to call American citizens "anchor children" and "anchor adults."

And when it all stops swirling, you realize that it kind of gives new meaning to the phrase, Anchors Away...

And beyond even the faux-cries to declare the Constitution unconstitutional, Republicans continue to drag out their old chestnut -- "We have to start a process where we take back our country," their leading candidate moans. What I'm just trying to figure out though is when Mr. Trump would like to take it back to -- before the Constitution perhaps, though it's that Constitution that defined the country he and Republicans want to take back. Maybe he means only before the 14th Amendment was passed -- though that passage was done to ensure citizenship rights to slaves. So, Republicans can't want that, one hopes. It's end up one more bewilderment in this madhouse.

And let's understand, too, amid all this angst over the horrible, nasty, mean-old 14th Amendment to the degree that many in the Republican Party and some of its candidates running for president want to repeal the entire amendment, what the 14th Amendment is actually about -- this is amendment that deals with due process and equal protection under the law. And that has the GOP all in a tizzy, with the vapors.

If you want to see today's Republican Party in a nutshell, there it is.

If you want to see how the GOP has gone from the "Party of Abraham Lincoln" to the hiding spot of the Tea Party corporations and home of religious zealotry, there it is.

To be very clear, there's nothing wrong at all with anyone disagreeing with a Constitutional Amendment. That's not only a valid thing to do, but healthy. People disagree with interpretations of amendments all the time. In fact, a large part of the country disagrees with the current interpretation of the 2nd Amendment over gun control. But disagree with it or not, it's still the 2nd Amendment and part of the Constitution and therefore constitutional. That's how the whole annoying Constitution thing works. You don't challenge the Constitution in court to see if it's constitutional. By definition, it is constitutional. It's not a law that if you don't like it, you just rewrite the text a bit or simply write a new one. It's the Constitution, it's the foundation on which all laws are based. You can challenge how it's been interpreted in a court case, but the huge problem with that is the 14th Amendment is really, really clear and remarkably specific -- "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." There really isn't any wiggle-room there. Like, none. "All persons" means..."all persons." It's word for word direct. At least the 2nd Amendment is quite fuzzy as written, and that's why referring as it does to things like "well regulated militias" and what comprises "Arms" is open to interpretation. (Case in point, the 2nd Amendment wasn't always interpreted to mean individual rights, that only changed...after 200 years in the 1980s.) But there are no modifiers or militia in the 14th Amendment -- it says "All persons." You can't miss them, they're the first two words.

If someone wants to make the effort to repeal the 14th Amendment or amend the Amendment, that's another matter entirely, and it's perfectly fine, go to it. Maybe it'll even inspire those who want the 2nd Amendment obscurities addressed to take action. Or prompt those who want to take away the vote for womenfolk. They should just know that it's an incredibly long and arduous process, requiring a two-thirds vote of both chambers of Congress, as well as then being passed by by three-fourths of the 50 state legislatures (many of which require three-fifths votes, not simple majorities).

Side note: Just by way of a guideline to those on the Amend the 14th Amendment Traveling Road Show, ever since the Equal Rights Amendment for women was first introduced in Congress, supporters have been trying to get it passed for the last...er, 92 years. The good news is that it did finally make it through Congress in 1971, after 48 years of trying, but getting through the state houses has been pesky. It came close, getting 35 state legislatures to pass the amendment out of the 38 needed -- but then five states subsequently rescinded their votes. And adding to the difficulty is that there was a 1979 deadline set by Congress on passage, and 24 of those initial 35 states had 1979 deadlines written into the bills.

And this is just about giving equal rights to women! Something you wouldn't think is all that controversial. (And you thought I was joking about repealing voting rights for the womenfolk...)

So, anyone who wants to repeal and rewrite the 14th Amendment better pack a big sack lunch. It's going to take a while.

Meanwhile, the Republican Party and its circus of candidates, following the lead of TV personality Donald Trump, who seemingly has become their ringmaster, keep spinning further out of control in ways that are incomprehensible to known Man.

There is SO much that is insanely, pointlessly and literally wrong about just this one issue that has risen up to enthrall the Republican Party and drive it to a frenzy.

And I don't know where to start.


To read more from Robert J. Elisberg about this or many other matters both large and tidbit small, see Elisberg Industries.