Frank Salvato, Managing Editor New Media Journal
Is the Constitution Just a Grand Suggestion?
December 2, 2009
Listening to the John & Cisco morning radio program here on Chicago’s WIND AM 560 this morning, I was suddenly stopped dead in my tracks. One of the hosts, John Howell, asked Chicago Tribune editorialists Clarence Page about a contentious issue; whether candidates for the office of President of the United
When asked if vetting candidates for national office, specifically the presidency, wasn’t something that all Americans could agree upon, Mr. Page replied:
“You can never please some people, as you can see. I know Liberals who believe John McCain should be challenged because he wasn’t born in the US, because he was born in the Panama Canal Zone and...ah...they will point to different constitutional loopholes...ah...that they say would disqualify him. I remember George Romney, Mitt’s Dad...ah...went through the same thing...ah...back in the 60s. As far as I’m concerned, why can’t Madeleine Albright be a good president even though she wasn’t born a citizen? Or the governor of Michigan right now? This is the kind of thing...folks are kind of groping for any reason to disqualify a president or presidential candidate that they don’t like and...ah...I just find it to be a specious debate...I think we’ve got more important issues to worry about...maybe that’s just me (laughter).”
Pardon me for not laughing, Mr. Page. I didn’t know that the US
Article II, Section 1, reads:
“No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.”
This certainly doesn’t sound like a suggestion to me. In fact, in legal vernacular – and we are hearing quite a bit about how important legal terms and legal wording are in the debate over healthcare – the word “shall” is an “obligatory” word, a word of “mandate.” It is certainly not a “suggestive” word that law abiding citizens can choose to ignore because, well, it’s just part of a “specious debate.”
There are some very real reasons why the Framers of the US Constitution included this prerequisite, this qualification for office, when outlining the requirements of candidacy for the office of President of the United States. Citing an earlier article on the matter, Why the POTUS Needs to Be a Natural Born Citizen:
It is important that anyone aspiring to the office of President of the United States – the Commander-in-Chief and the Chief Executive of all Executive Branch offices and departments – have a steadfast allegiance to The Charters of Freedom and the country, without reserving any allegiance to any foreign power, entity or potentate.
In an age when there exists a substantial number of federally elected officials who believe the United States should take its seat as an equal in a one-world, globalist order, it becomes critical that the person elected to serve as President of the United States have an unwavering dedication to our nation’s sovereignty.
When one takes into account many of the extreme laws governing free speech, property rights, taxation and personal and religious freedom that exist throughout the world it becomes clear that to bow to the will of the world community, to trade our sovereignty for universal national equality, serves to diminish the freedom and liberty mandated by The Charters of Freedom; liberties and freedoms paid for with the blood and treasure of patriots.
To believe that organizations like al Qaeda, ideologues like Hugo Chavez and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or nation states like Russia or China wouldn’t embrace the chance to – through the legitimate means of our electoral process – install an operative in the Oval Office is to be naïve. Each of these entities devote resources to affect the demise of the United States of America including military, economic and ideological (read: propaganda) resources.
Failing to vet those who do not possess natural-born appreciation for our uniquely American philosophy is to invite an ideological siege upon our nation and to compromise the ability to bequeath Americanism to future generations.
Safeguarding of the Charters of Freedom
Chief among every American President’s duties is to safeguard the Charters of Freedom. The Oath of Office of the President of the United States reads:
“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
Some add, “So help me God” to punctuate their commitment.
Without a solid, unwavering adherence to The Charters of Freedom the President of the United States is ill-prepared to safeguard them and to advance the freedoms and liberties mandated therein to future generations. In fact, for a sitting President to employ Mr. Page’s nonchalant attitude toward Article II, Section 1, would be a violation of the Presidential Oath to uphold the US Constitution.
Those who would usurp the genius of our Founders and Framers by diminishing the importance of natural born citizenship as a requirement for President do so at the expense of generational safeguards. Those who engage in this national apostasy should be thoroughly scrutinized for any ulterior motive.
If we were to all employ Mr. Page’s cavalier attitude toward our Constitution – specifically, Article II, Section 1 – what would stop foreign powers from engaging in the American electoral process? What would stop foreign powers – or nefarious powers – from slating a candidate that would put the well-being and interests of a foreign ideology or foreign nation ahead of the well-being of the United States and her citizens?
The Framers and Founders of our nation envisioned a citizenry that would be protective of the blessings of citizenship. They took for granted that We the People would safeguard The Charters of Freedom as our own; as a covenant, a contract with government; as a compact that created American government. Anyone familiar with the philosophies that moved the Framers and Founders to create the charters would understand why they deliberated so carefully in crafting the documents. Any true student of American history would instantly understand the horror of Mr. Page’s flippant statement.
So, two questions beg to be asked of Mr. Page. When, for you, Mr. Page, did the US Constitution become simply a grand suggestion? And when did you fall under the illusion that you were more intelligent and studied about American political philosophy than Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, John Jay, James Madison, and Alexander Hamilton?
Honestly, no wonder the Tribune Company can’t sell a newspaper!