Kamala Harris – Presidential Usurper

As a two-time member of the US Electoral College, I have researched the issue of presidential eligibility quite thoroughly and I believe I have developed an understanding of what the Founders intended that many in the political world still refuse to acknowledge.

Most significantly, the Founders rightly understood that the most influential factor in a child’s upbringing is the parenting he/she receives as a child, and that the cultural, philosophical, political, and religious influence of a child’s parents fundamentally establishes the direction of his/her future conduct and intellectual development.  Accordingly, what the Founders feared most, and what caused them to limit access to the presidency only to the “natural born,” was the fear that a future president… during his formative years and during the years in which he was developing intellectually… would be exposed to an environment or an ideology which might cause him to reject the values and the principles embodied in the U.S. Constitution.  That is why the Founders understood a “natural born” citizen to be a person who was born to parents, both of whom were US citizens at the time of his birth.  It did not provide an absolute guarantee that we would not one day find a dedicated socialist in the White House… as we have witnessed in recent years… but it provided at least some insurance against such an occurrence.

A perfect example of “what might have been” is Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX).  Born in Canada, his father was a citizen of Cuba who, as a teenager, was a member of the Cuban resistance headed by Fidel Castro.  He made his way to the United States in 1957, enrolled at the University of Texas, and graduated with a degree in mathematics in 1961.  Later, after being transferred to Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and acquiring Canadian citizenship, he and his wife became parents of a son, Raphael Edward “Ted” Cruz, the current junior senator from the State of Texas and a leading candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.

During that campaign, the American people. were convinced that the Cruzes, father and son, were both solidly anti-Communist patriots.  But that’s only what we were told.  What if the exact opposite were true?  What if the elder Cruz had been a dedicated Communist, a Fidelista in sheep’s clothing?  And what if he had spent decades indoctrinating his own son in all the benefits of life in a socialist Utopia?  His son, Senator Ted Cruz, a conservative firebrand in the United States Senate, would have become the perfect “Manchurian Candidate.”

But now, less than two years prior to the 2020 presidential election, we find that the tendency of Democrats to embrace style over substance rearing its ugly head once again.  As they did in 2008, they are offering for our consideration a candidate who is not eligible to serve as president or vice president.  I refer, of course, to the junior senator from California, Kamala Harris.

Harris’s mother, Shyamala Gopalan, emigrated to the US from India in 1960 and her father, Donald Harris, emigrated to the US from Jamaica in 1961.  Under US law, an individual cannot apply for citizenship until they’ve held a “green card” for a minimum of five years.  Kamala Harris was born on October 20, 1964.  At best, her mother was a legal non-citizen resident of the US for just 4 years, 9 months, and 20 days when Sen. Harris was born.  Her father was, at best, a legal non-citizen resident for just 3 years, 9 months, and 20 days when she was born.  Neither parent could possibly have been a U.S. citizen when Kamala Harris was born.

What few Americans recognize is that there are only two (2) jobs in the entire United States… public sector and private sector combined… that require the incumbents to be “natural born” citizens.  Those two jobs are President and Vice President of the United States.  Ms. Harris can be Mayor of San Francisco, she can be Governor of California, she can be an Ambassador, she can be a Federal Judge, she can even be Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court.  None of those jobs require “natural born” status.  But unless her parents were both US citizens when she was born, she cannot hold either the presidency or the vice presidency.  If she was born on American soil, she is a US citizen, but just being born on US soil does not make one a “natural born” citizen.  One must be born of two US citizen parents in order to qualify as “natural born.”

When the Founders met in Philadelphia in September 1787 to approve the final draft of the US Constitution, the physical scars of the War of Independence were still visible all around them and a deep-seated animosity toward all things British colored every aspect of their daily lives.  So, is it even remotely conceivable that, just five years and eleven months after the British surrendered at Yorktown, the Founders would have presented to the states for ratification a Constitution that would allow an individual with dual/divided loyalties – e.g. an individual with dual US-British citizenship – to serve as president of the United States and commander-in-chief of the Army and the Navy?  Not likely.  It is a preposterous notion on its face.  To believe that they would have done so requires a willing suspension of reason.  Nevertheless, the consensus among many in the political/legal world today is that the terms “Citizen” and “natural born Citizen,” as used in Article II, Section 1, Clause 5 of the U.S. Constitution, are synonymous.  They are not!!

This issue is still being falsely characterized because liberals and Democrats simply cannot afford to have the “natural born” issue thoroughly examined.  If it were, the American people would finally come to understand that, at birth, Barack Obama held dual US-British citizenship by descent from his father and his mother.  To expose Obama’s lack of eligibility at this late date would create the greatest constitutional crisis in history and would likely tear the nation apart.

So, the question arises, is there proof of the contention that the Framers intended the terms “Citizen” and “natural born Citizen” to be mutually exclusive?  The answers is yes.  It all revolves around the purpose and the meaning of the tiny word “or,” which precedes a “grandfather clause” in Article II, Section 1, Clause 5 of the Constitution

At the time the Constitution was ratified on June 21, 1788, there were three types of citizens:

1)  The former British subjects who… having renounced all foreign
allegiances and having pledged to each other their lives, their
fortunes, and their sacred honor… became citizens of the United
States when the Declaration of Independence was signed on July
4, 1776
2)  The post-Declaration children of those who became U.S. citizens
July 4, 1776, the first “natural born” citizens of the United States,
and all less than twelve years old at the time the Constitution wa,
ratified on June 21 1788; and
3)  A class of citizens comprised of those who emigrated to the
United States after July 4, 1776, having taken a loyalty oath and
having renounced all foreign allegiances.

To fully understand the significance of the words, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution…,” it is also necessary to recognize three significant dates:

1)  July 4, 1776, the date on which the Declaration of Independence
was signed, making all citizens of the thirteen colonies citizens of
the United States;
2)  June 21, 1788, the date on which ratification by the State of New
Hampshire made the Constitution the official law of the land; and
3)  July 4, 1811, the date after which the first “natural born” citizens…
those born to US citizens after the signing of the Declaration on
July 4, 1776… became thirty-five years of age.

The Constitution requires that, in addition to being a resident of the United States for at least fourteen years, those who would seek the presidency must be at least thirty-five years of age.  However, the only “natural born” citizens available on June 21, 1788, the day the Constitution was ratified, were children under twelve years of age.  To solve that problem, the Framers added a “grandfather clause,” making it possible for newly-minted US citizens… all residents of the United States for at least fourteen years and all at least thirty-five years of age, but none of them “natural born” because they were born to parents who were not U.S. citizens prior to the day the Declaration of Independence was signed… to serve as president.  This was necessary until such time as a body of individuals, born subsequent to July 4, 1776, reached age thirty-five.

George Washington, our first president, was born at Wakefield, Virginia on February 22, 1732, forty-four years before the Declaration of Independence.  He was a “citizen,” but not a “natural born” citizen because both of his parents were British subjects at the time of his birth.

John Adams, our second president, was born at Braintree, Massachusetts on October 30, 1735, forty-one years before the Declaration of Independence.  He was a “citizen” because he was born in Massachusetts, but he was not a “natural born” citizen because both of his parents were British subjects at the time of his birth and owed their allegiance to the British crown.

Thomas Jefferson, our third president, was born at Shadwell, Virginia on April 13, 1743, thirty-three years before the Declaration of Independence.  He was a “citizen” because he was born in Virginia, but he was not a “natural born” citizen because both of his parents were British subjects at the time of his birth.

James Madison, our fourth president, born in Virginia on March 16, 1751, twenty-five years before the Declaration of Independence; James Monroe, our fifth president, born in Virginia on April 28, 1758, eighteen years before the Declaration of Independence; John Quincy Adams, our sixth president, born in Massachusetts on July 11, 1767, nine years before the Declaration of Independence; and Andrew Jackson, our seventh president, born in South Carolina on March 15, 1767, nine years before the Declaration of Independence; were all “citizens” because they were born in what came to be the United States of America, but they were not “natural born” citizens because their parents were not US citizens at the time of their birth.

However, Martin Van Buren, our eighth president, was born at Kinderhook, New York on December 5, 1782, six years and five months after the Declaration of Independence.  Unlike his seven predecessors, he was not just a “citizen,” he was a “natural born” citizen… the first president, at least thirty-five years of age, who was born to US citizen parents after the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

A great many patriotic, but ill-informed, Americans refuse to accept the fact that, while the Founders intended that only “natural born” citizens should ever serve as president, there were no 35-year-old “natural born” citizens available during the first 35 years of our nation’s history. Accordingly, it became necessary to provide an exemption of limited duration covering those citizens born prior to July 4, 1776.  All were “grandfathered” and made eligible under the phrase, “or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution…”

Every U.S. president since Van Buren… with the exception of Republican Chester A. Arthur, whose Irish father was reportedly a British subject at the time of his birth, and Democrat Barack Obama, whose Kenyan father was also a British subject at the time of his birth… has been a “natural born” U.S. citizen, as required by Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution.

The Framers found it inconceivable that a president of the United States, commander in chief of the Army and the Navy, should ever hold even partial allegiance to a foreign nation or be required to obey the laws of a foreign nation, as is the case with all dual citizens.  It is for this reason that the Constitution limits candidates for president and vice president to those who are “natural born” citizens, and to those who were citizens of the United States at the time the Constitution was adopted.  There can be no exceptions.

Were that not the case, and had the Framers considered the terms “citizen” and “natural born Citizen” to be synonymous, Article II, Section 1, Clause 5 of the Constitution would now read, simply, “No Person except a Citizen of the United States 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.”

The Constitution of the United States is not set in stone.  Within its pages it provides for an orderly process with which it can be amended from time to time, as the need arises.  However, we are a nation of laws with a Constitution that must be enforced precisely as the Framers intended.  To turn our backs on the clear intent of even one single constitutional principle, for no better reason than political expediency, is an abomination.

In 2008, Democrats were able to craftily define the issue as one relating to Barack Obama’s place of birth, and to label those who insisted he lacked eligibility by reason of not being born on American soil as “birthers.”  It became the deadly “third rail” of the 2008 campaign, effectively preventing any honest debate of the issue.

Thusly, on two occasions in our political history we have allowed the presidential eligibility requirements of Article II, Section 1 to be twisted and contorted to fit the political mood of the day.  We cannot allow that to happen again.  We cannot allow our Constitution to be amended by popular fiat.

Paul R. Hollrah is a retired government relations executive and a two-time member of the U.S. Electoral College.  He currently lives and writes among the hills and lakes of northeast Oklahoma’s Green Country.

 

 

 

 

 

 

As a two-time member of the US Electoral College, I have researched the issue of presidential eligibility quite thoroughly and I believe I have developed an understanding of what the Founders intended that many in the political world still refuse to acknowledge.

 

Most significantly, the Founders rightly understood that the most influential factor in a child’s upbringing is the parenting he/she receives as a child, and that the cultural, philosophical, political, and religious influence of a child’s parents fundamentally establishes the direction of his/her future conduct and intellectual development.  Accordingly, what the Founders feared most, and what caused them to limit access to the presidency only to the “natural born,” was the fear that a future president… during his formative years and during the years in which he was developing intellectually… would be exposed to an environment or an ideology which might cause him to reject the values and the principles embodied in the U.S. Constitution.  That is why the Founders understood a “natural born” citizen to be a person who was born to parents, both of whom were US citizens at the time of his birth.  It did not provide an absolute guarantee that we would not one day find a dedicated socialist in the White House… as we have witnessed in recent years… but it provided at least some insurance against such an occurrence.

 

A perfect example of “what might have been” is Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX).  Born in Canada, his father was a citizen of Cuba who, as a teenager, was a member of the Cuban resistance headed by Fidel Castro.  He made his way to the United States in 1957, enrolled at the University of Texas, and graduated with a degree in mathematics in 1961.  Later, after being transferred to Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and acquiring Canadian citizenship, he and his wife became parents of a son, Raphael Edward “Ted” Cruz, the current junior senator from the State of Texas and a leading candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.

 

During that campaign, the American people. were convinced that the Cruzes, father and son, were both solidly anti-Communist patriots.  But that’s only what we were told.  What if the exact opposite were true?  What if the elder Cruz had been a dedicated Communist, a Fidelista in sheep’s clothing?  And what if he had spent decades indoctrinating his own son in all the benefits of life in a socialist Utopia?  His son, Senator Ted Cruz, a conservative firebrand in the United States Senate, would have become the perfect “Manchurian Candidate.”

 

But now, less than two years prior to the 2020 presidential election, we find that the tendency of Democrats to embrace style over substance rearing its ugly head once again.  As they did in 2008, they are offering for our consideration a candidate who is not eligible to serve as president or vice president.  I refer, of course, to the junior senator from California, Kamala Harris.

 

Harris’s mother, Shyamala Gopalan, emigrated to the US from India in 1960 and her father, Donald Harris, emigrated to the US from Jamaica in 1961.  Under US law, an individual cannot apply for citizenship until they’ve held a “green card” for a minimum of five years.  Kamala Harris was born on October 20, 1964.  At best, her mother was a legal non-citizen resident of the US for just 4 years, 9 months, and 20 days when Sen. Harris was born.  Her father was, at best, a legal non-citizen resident for just 3 years, 9 months, and 20 days when she was born.  Neither parent could possibly have been a U.S. citizen when Kamala Harris was born.

 

What few Americans recognize is that there are only two (2) jobs in the entire United States… public sector and private sector combined… that require the incumbents to be “natural born” citizens.  Those two jobs are President and Vice President of the United States.  Ms. Harris can be Mayor of San Francisco, she can be Governor of California, she can be an Ambassador, she can be a Federal Judge, she can even be Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court.  None of those jobs require “natural born” status.  But unless her parents were both US citizens when she was born, she cannot hold either the presidency or the vice presidency.  If she was born on American soil, she is a US citizen, but just being born on US soil does not make one a “natural born” citizen.  One must be born of two US citizen parents in order to qualify as “natural born.”

 

When the Founders met in Philadelphia in September 1787 to approve the final draft of the US Constitution, the physical scars of the War of Independence were still visible all around them and a deep-seated animosity toward all things British colored every aspect of their daily lives.  So, is it even remotely conceivable that, just five years and eleven months after the British surrendered at Yorktown, the Founders would have presented to the states for ratification a Constitution that would allow an individual with dual/divided loyalties – e.g. an individual with dual US-British citizenship – to serve as president of the United States and commander-in-chief of the Army and the Navy?  Not likely.  It is a preposterous notion on its face.  To believe that they would have done so requires a willing suspension of reason.  Nevertheless, the consensus among many in the political/legal world today is that the terms “Citizen” and “natural born Citizen,” as used in Article II, Section 1, Clause 5 of the U.S. Constitution, are synonymous.  They are not!!

 

This issue is still being falsely characterized because liberals and Democrats simply cannot afford to have the “natural born” issue thoroughly examined.  If it were, the American people would finally come to understand that, at birth, Barack Obama held dual US-British citizenship by descent from his father and his mother.  To expose Obama’s lack of eligibility at this late date would create the greatest constitutional crisis in history and would likely tear the nation apart.

 

So, the question arises, is there proof of the contention that the Framers intended the terms “Citizen” and “natural born Citizen” to be mutually exclusive?  The answers is yes.  It all revolves around the purpose and the meaning of the tiny word “or,” which precedes a “grandfather clause” in Article II, Section 1, Clause 5 of the Constitution

 

At the time the Constitution was ratified on June 21, 1788, there were three types of citizens:

1)  The former British subjects who… having renounced all foreign allegiances and having
pledged to each other their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor… became citizens of
the United States when the Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4, 1776;
2)  The post-Declaration children of those who became U.S. citizens on July 4, 1776, the first
“natural born” citizens of the United States, and all less than twelve years old at the time the
Constitution was ratified on June 21, 1788; and

3)  A class of citizens comprised of those who emigrated to the United States after July 4, 1776,
having taken a loyalty oath and having renounced all foreign allegiances.

 

To fully understand the significance of the words, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution…,” it is also necessary to recognize three significant dates:

1)  July 4, 1776, the date on which the Declaration of Independence was signed, making all
citizens of the thirteen colonies citizens of the United States;
2)  June 21, 1788, the date on which ratification by the State of New Hampshire made the
Constitution the official law of the land; and
3)  July 4, 1811, the date after which the first “natural born” citizens… those born to U.S.
citizens after the signing of the Declaration on July 4, 1776… became 35 years of age.

The Constitution requires that, in addition to being a resident of the United States for at least fourteen years, those who would seek the presidency must be at least thirty-five years of age.  However, the only “natural born” citizens available on June 21, 1788, the day the Constitution was ratified, were children under twelve years of age.  To solve that problem, the Framers added a “grandfather clause,” making it possible for newly-minted US citizens… all residents of the United States for at least fourteen years and all at least thirty-five years of age, but none of them “natural born” because they were born to parents who were not U.S. citizens prior to the day the Declaration of Independence was signed… to serve as president.  This was necessary until such time as a body of individuals, born subsequent to July 4, 1776, reached age thirty-five.

 

George Washington, our first president, was born at Wakefield, Virginia on February 22, 1732, forty-four years before the Declaration of Independence.  He was a “citizen,” but not a “natural

born” citizen because both of his parents were British subjects at the time of his birth.

 

John Adams, our second president, was born at Braintree, Massachusetts on October 30, 1735, forty-one years before the Declaration of Independence.  He was a “citizen” because he was born in Massachusetts, but he was not a “natural born” citizen because both of his parents were British subjects at the time of his birth and owed their allegiance to the British crown.

 

Thomas Jefferson, our third president, was born at Shadwell, Virginia on April 13, 1743, thirty-three years before the Declaration of Independence.  He was a “citizen” because he was born in Virginia, but he was not a “natural born” citizen because both of his parents were British subjects at the time of his birth.

James Madison, our fourth president, born in Virginia on March 16, 1751, twenty-five years before the Declaration of Independence; James Monroe, our fifth president, born in Virginia on April 28, 1758, eighteen years before the Declaration of Independence; John Quincy Adams, our sixth president, born in Massachusetts on July 11, 1767, nine years before the Declaration of Independence; and Andrew Jackson, our seventh president, born in South Carolina on March 15, 1767, nine years before the Declaration of Independence; were all “citizens” because they were born in what came to be the United States of America, but they were not “natural born” citizens because their parents were not US citizens at the time of their birth.

 

However, Martin Van Buren, our eighth president, was born at Kinderhook, New York on December 5, 1782, six years and five months after the Declaration of Independence.  Unlike his seven predecessors, he was not just a “citizen,” he was a “natural born” citizen… the first president, at least thirty-five years of age, who was born to US citizen parents after the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

 

A great many patriotic, but ill-informed, Americans refuse to accept the fact that, while the Founders intended that only “natural born” citizens should ever serve as president, there were no 35-year-old “natural born” citizens available during the first 35 years of our nation’s history. Accordingly, it became necessary to provide an exemption of limited duration covering those citizens born prior to July 4, 1776.  All were “grandfathered” and made eligible under the phrase, “or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution…”

 

Every U.S. president since Van Buren… with the exception of Republican Chester A. Arthur, whose Irish father was reportedly a British subject at the time of his birth, and Democrat Barack Obama, whose Kenyan father was also a British subject at the time of his birth… has been a “natural born” U.S. citizen, as required by Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution.

 

The Framers found it inconceivable that a president of the United States, commander in chief of the Army and the Navy, should ever hold even partial allegiance to a foreign nation or be required to obey the laws of a foreign nation, as is the case with all dual citizens.  It is for this reason that the Constitution limits candidates for president and vice president to those who are “natural born” citizens, and to those who were citizens of the United States at the time the Constitution was adopted.  There can be no exceptions.

 

Were that not the case, and had the Framers considered the terms “citizen” and “natural born Citizen” to be synonymous, Article II, Section 1, Clause 5 of the Constitution would now read, simply, “No Person except a Citizen of the United States 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.”

 

The Constitution of the United States is not set in stone.  Within its pages it provides for an orderly process with which it can be amended from time to time, as the need arises.  However, we are a nation of laws with a Constitution that must be enforced precisely as the Framers intended.  To turn our backs on the clear intent of even one single constitutional principle, for no better reason than political expediency, is an abomination.

 

In 2008, Democrats were able to craftily define the issue as one relating to Barack Obama’s place of birth, and to label those who insisted he lacked eligibility by reason of not being born on American soil as “birthers.”  It became the deadly “third rail” of the 2008 campaign, effectively preventing any honest debate of the issue.

 

Thusly, on two occasions in our political history we have allowed the presidential eligibility requirements of Article II, Section 1 to be twisted and contorted to fit the political mood of the day.  We cannot allow that to happen again.  We cannot allow our Constitution to be amended by popular fiat.

Paul R. Hollrah is a retired government relations executive and a two-time member of the U.S. Electoral College.  He currently lives and writes among the hills and lakes of northeast Oklahoma’s Green Country.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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An Open Letter to the GOP

Dear Republican Leaders:

Please allow me to introduce myself.  I am one of the millions of dedicated Republicans who are the backbone of our party.  Yes, I am one of the so-called “spear-carriers” who raise the party’s money, who recruit the candidates, who manage the campaigns, who walk the precincts, who put up the yard signs, who knock on the doors, who attend precinct caucuses, and who serve as delegates to county, state, and national conventions.  In short, I am one of those dedicated people who make it possible for you to occupy a position of leadership within our party.

In my case, if you will allow me a personal reference, during the course of more than fifty years as a party activist I have provided services to the party that are far beyond  what is normal for political activists.  During the period 1963-66 I organized and led a statewide election reform program in Oklahoma which brought the secret ballot to counties and precincts all across the state for the first time since statehood.  It was the beginning of the political renaissance that has made Oklahoma the reddest of red states in 2019.

A decade later, in 1975, I registered the very first corporate PAC with the Federal Election Commission, pioneering the corporate PAC movement and creating a level playing field with organized labor for the first time since the 1930s.  We brought enough new money into the political process to allow Republicans to take control of the U.S. Senate just five years later.

Then, following Ronald Reagan’s inauguration in 1981, I proposed the formation of an RNC committee for the sole purpose of funneling money into states during the decade of the ‘80s where Republicans had the ability to gain control of at least one house of the state legislature prior to congressional redistricting in 1991.  Chairman Fahrenkopf then created the National Republican Legislative Campaign Committee (NRLCC) and in 1994, in the absence of widespread Democrat gerrymandering, Republicans took control of both houses of Congress.

The point is, in spite of all the hard work and dedication of millions of nameless, faceless, Republican activists, is it too much to ask that our state and national leaders show a bit of creativity while exercising their leadership responsibilities?  Allow me to mention just a few recent examples of Republican “messaging” failures.

In June 2016, when it appeared as if Donald Trump would be successful in his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, Democrats were hard at work developing ways to either defeat or destroy him.  One of their principal efforts revolved around a strategy to paint him as colluding with Russians to defeat Hillary Clinton.  As a critical part of that effort they needed “optics;” they needed to plant real-life images in the minds of the American people of Trump campaign officials colluding with Russians.

The Trump organization should not have been surprised when a Russian attorney, Natalia Veselnitskaya, approached them, offering “dirt” on Hillary Clinton.  Understanding the value of good “opposition research,” especially that involving foreign affairs, three of Trump’s senior aides agreed to meet with Veselnitskaya at the Trump Tower in New York on June 9, 2016.  But when the Trump advisors realized that Veselnitskaya had no Clinton information that was of any real value to them, the meeting was quickly adjourned.

The Trump people wasted a few hours of their time, but the Democrats had the valuable “optics” they needed to launch their “Russian collusion” scheme.  After all, how could the Trump people ever prove what was not said behind closed doors?  Within hours, the mainstream media was all over the Trump campaign with charges of collusion.  But what was most distressing… and most damaging… was the fact that not a single Republican leader ever mentioned publicly the fact that Veselnitskaya had met with officials of Hillary Clinton’s opposition research consultant, Fusion GPS, both before and after the Trump Tower meeting.  Coincidence?  No, it was a setup that even a blind man could have recognized.  It was also a political victory of huge proportions for Democrats and a political blunder of gigantic proportions for Republicans.

When President Trump met with Vladimir Putin at their Helsinki summit on July 16, 2018, the two leaders met briefly behind closed doors with only their interpreters present.  The mainstream media were outraged.  What did they talk about?  What concessions did Trump make in order to gain approval for a luxury hotel in Moscow?  Outlandish speculation followed outlandish speculation.  Yet not a single Republican leader had the good sense to divert the criticism by suggesting that, like the surreptitious Bill Clinton-Loretta Lynch meeting on the tarmac in Phoenix… while Hillary Clinton was under FBI investigation for violations of the Espionage Act… Trump and Putin discussed nothing more than their golf games and their grandchildren.

More recently, as the first of at least four Central American refugee caravans arrived at border crossing points in southern California, it became necessary to detain adult family members while their claims of asylum were being heard.  And since the available living facilities for asylum seekers was not appropriate for large numbers of children, it became necessary to separate parents and children for a short period of time.

It provided Democrats with a perfect opportunity to paint Trump administration immigration officials as cruel and heartless brutes who took great pleasure in snatching helpless children from the protective arms of their parents.  It was not a pretty picture.  However, as the days and weeks passed and the criticism mounted, not a single Republican leader could be heard mentioning the obvious… which is that more than 1.3 million men and women currently serve in the U.S. armed forces.  Of those, roughly 55 percent are married and 43 percent have children.   When those servicemen and women are deployed to overseas war zones they cannot take their children with them.  The parents, many of whom have been deployed more than once, are separated from their children for many months at a time.

Furthermore, the United States has the largest prison population in the world.  At any given time, some 2.2 million adults… one out of every 115… are in jail or prison.  More than 5 million American children (7 percent of all U.S. children) have had a parent incarcerated at some point in their lives, many for the rest of the parents’ lives.  Yet, as Trump administration officials were lambasted, day after day, with charges of breaking up family units, not a single Republican leader could be heard setting the record straight.  Once again, Republican leaders found it far more convenient to allow a Republican administration to be unfairly savaged by the radical left.

On January 21, 2019, Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) announced her candidacy for president of the United States.  Yet, not one single Republican leader has had the brains or the courage to do the necessary arithmetic.  They should have understood in an instant that U.S. law requires an immigrant to have permanent residency status (green card) for a minimum of five years before applying for U.S. citizenship.  Harris’s mother, Shyamala Gopalan Harris, emigrated to the U.S. from southern India in 1960, while her father, Donald Harris, came to the U.S. from Jamaica in 1961.  They met while attending UC (Berkeley), they married, and their first daughter, Kamala, was born on October 20, 1964.  Simple arithmetic should tell us that neither of her parents could possibly have been U.S. citizens when their daughter, Kamala, was born.  She is, therefore, not a “natural born Citizen” as required by Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution and cannot serve as president or vice president of the United States.

Now, in the early days of 2019, Democrats have presented Republicans with one of the finest political gifts in a lifetime.  In a Thursday, January 31, public appearance, Virginia’s Democrat governor, Ralph Northam, a pediatric neurologist, gave his full-throated endorsement to a newly-introduced bill that would allow physicians to murder post-partem infants just minutes after birth.  Overnight, Northam became the toast of the Democrat Party.  No politician could have better satisfied the bloodlust of the radical left wing of the Democrat Party.

But what a difference a day makes. On Friday, February 1, it became known that the 1984  yearbook from the Eastern Virginia Medical School, Northam’s alma mater, contained a photo of him dressed as either a black-faced Negro or a Ku Klux Klansman.  Outrage was instantaneous.  Those who had fallen all over themselves trying to kiss his cheek on Thursday, clamored to drive a stake through his heart on Friday.  But, as might be expected, that was not the sentiment of all Democrats.  Virginia’s Lieutenant Governor, Justin Fairfax, a black man descended from slaves, continued to support his governor… all in the interest of party unity, of course.

It was the perfect metaphor for the soulless abomination the Democrat Party has become.  Unfortunately, as the party of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton self-destructs before our very eyes, it appears to be almost a non-event among Republican elites in Washington.  They appear totally unwilling or incapable of playing the political game exactly as the Democrats play it… down and dirty and for all the chips.

Part of the job of a political leader is to make it clear to their constituents what the opposition party is doing in their name and, as honestly, as directly, and as persistently as possible, shine a light on their failures.  But now that liberals and Democrats have dug themselves into a very deep hole, isn’t it time that Republican leaders picked up a shovel and filled it in?  Or have all my efforts of the past half century been  just another pointless intellectual exercise?

Paul R. Hollrah is a retired government relations executive and a two-time member of the U.S. Electoral College.  He currently lives and writes among the hills and lakes of northeast Oklahoma’s Green Country.

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The Constitution Needs a Tune-Up

With at least four human “caravans” organizing in Guatemala, Honduras, and southern Mexico, some already massed at the US-Mexican border south of San Diego… others trudging slowly northward under the punishing daytime Mexican sun hoping to force their way, illegally, onto US soil… the issues of 14th Amendment “birthright citizenship,” “anchor babies,” and “chain migration “ have finally found their way into the American consciousness.

The caravans are comprised of men, women, and children; most of whom appear to be quite strong and healthy, while others are sick and frail.  Few speak English and almost all are poor, unskilled, and uneducated.  They insist that they are forced to abandon their homelands in order to escape the violence of street gangs and drug cartels, joblessness, and crushing poverty.  Rather than face the perils of staying in their home cities and villages, they prefer to undertake the 2,925-mile journey from Honduras to Tijuana, Mexico, near San Diego, or the much shorter 1,485-mile journey to Matamoros, Mexico, across the Rio Grande from Brownsville, Texas.

It’s a heavy price to pay, knowing in advance that the president of the United States is sending US troops to intercept them, preventing them from invading US territory.

It is a humanitarian tragedy of massive proportions, one of such magnitude that it will, hopefully, force us to finally come to grips with what can only be described as a cruel misinterpretation of the 14th Amendment.  And while we debate the future status of “birthright citizenship,” “anchor babies,” and “chain migration,” as they are currently used to circumvent U.S. immigration law, we would be wise to also define, once and for all, another hotly debated misinterpretation of the Constitution… i.e., what the Framers intended when they included the term “natural born Citizen,” as a requirement for presidential eligibility in Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution.

The 14th Amendment, introduced in April 1866 and ratified by the states on July 9, 1868, was never intended to grant automatic birthright citizenship to any and all who just happened to be born on U.S. soil.  Those who drafted and supported the Amendment were quite clear as to their intent.  Following the ratification of the 13th Amendment, which outlawed the institution of human slavery in the United States, anti-slavery Republicans in the Congress felt it was necessary that the Constitution should also insure full U.S. citizenship for the freed slaves.

Accordingly, Section 1 of the 14th Amendment begins, “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…”

One might readily understand how lawmakers in 1866 might have failed to appreciate the future expansion of the United States.  On the date that the 14th Amendment was introduced in July 1866, the states of Arizona, Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming had not as yet joined the Union.  We were an expanding nation with room for all who wished to come and join in our great experiment in self-government.  However, the failure to explain the exact purpose of the amendment, and to define the term “subject to the jurisdiction thereof,” has created major immigration abuses in the 20th and 21st centuries, inviting liberal judges and lawmakers to thoroughly prostitute the original intent of the amendment.

For example, the U.S. State Department’s Diversity Visa Program, a visa lottery system sponsored by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has been the source of much of the recent abuse of our immigration system.  One such lottery winner, Sayfullo Saipov, an Uzbek Muslim, arrived in the United States in 2010.  And although State Department statistics show that the average diversity lottery winner ultimately sponsors 4.4 family members (parents, children, siblings, etc.) it has been reported that Saipov sponsored some 23 chain migrants.  On October 31, 2017, Saipov, a radical Muslim, drove a rented truck down a bicycle path on the west side of Lower Manhattan, in New York, killing eight people and injuring many more.

The Pew Hispanic Center estimates that approximately 7.5% of all births in the U.S. (about 300,000 births per year) are to unauthorized immigrants.  Birthright citizenship and chain migration are problems that simply must be addressed.  Congress must take steps to stem the inflow of “birthright” immigrants by first eliminating the Diversity Visa Program.

And while the Congress is tackling the problem of codifying “birthright” citizenship and “chain migration,” they should also establish by law the definition of the term “natural born Citizen,” as it relates to presidential eligibility under Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution, which states: “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.”

The Framers were word misers; they were not given to verbosity.  Accordingly, if they had intended that the terms “Citizen” and “natural born Citizen” were synonymous, to be used interchangeably, the opening phrase of Clause 5 would have read, “No person except a Citizen of the United States shall be eligible to the Office of President…”  But that was not their intent; their intention was to establish a clear distinction between the two terms.  Hence, the inclusion of the all-important word “or,” and the qualifying phrase, “a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution…”

What this tells us, in spite of the misinterpretation used by liberal politicians and lawyers and the mainstream media, is that the Framers were faced with a major dilemma in 1788 when they prepared to select the first President of the United States.  There were many capable citizens available who were at least thirty-five years of age, and who had been residents of what was to become the United States for at least fourteen years, but none of those “citizens” were “natural born” citizens, having been born prior to the signing of the Declaration of Independence to parents who were then subjects of the British crown.  Unfortunately, all of the available “natural born” citizens… those born to American citizen parents after the signing of the Declaration… were less than twelve years of age when the Constitution was ratified on June 21, 1788.

Accordingly, it became necessary to include a “grandfather clause,” granting presidential eligibility to those men born to colonial immigrant parents prior to the date of American independence.  As such, none of our first seven presidents… Washington, J. Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, J.Q. Adams, or Jackson… were “natural born” citizens.  All were made eligible under the “grandfather clause” contained in Article II, Section 1, which reads, “…or a citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution…”   Our eighth president, Martin Van Buren, born at Kinderhook, New York, on December 5, 1782, six years and five months after the Declaration of Independence, was our first “natural born” president.  Every president since Van Buren, with the exception of Barack Obama and Chester A. Arthur, has been a “natural born” citizen, as required by the U.S. Constitution.

The Founders rightly understood that the most influential factor in a child’s upbringing is the parenting he/she receives as a child, and that the cultural, philosophical, political, and religious influence of a child’s parents fundamentally establishes the direction of his/her future conduct and intellectual development.  Accordingly, what the Founders feared most and what caused them to limit access to the presidency only to the “natural born” was the fear that a future president… during his formative years and during the years in which he was developing intellectually… would be exposed to an environment or an ideology which might cause him to reject the values and the principles embodied in the U.S. Constitution.

There is no better exemplar of that fear than Barack Obama.  Obama’s father was a Muslim and a black African communist sympathizer; his mother was a left wing socialist flower-child; his stepfather was an Indonesian Muslim; his grandparents were far-left communist sympathizers; his teenage mentor, Frank Marshall Davis, was a well-known Communist Party writer and activist; the people who were instrumental in launching his political career in Chicago were Weather Underground terrorists who had killed U.S. law enforcement officers; and his religious mentor was the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, an America-hater of the first order.  Is it any wonder that Obama promised to “fundamentally transform” the government and the culture of the greatest nation on Earth?

Ours is the greatest nation on Earth, the greatest and most significant experiment in self-government in all of recorded history.  But there are no concrete guarantees of permanency.  Since the earliest days of our republic, those on the political left have been chipping away at the basic foundational principles of our Constitution.  By the year 2016, their 228-year-long struggle to administer a deathblow to the greatest self-governing document ever written was all but complete.  Whether or not the nation could have survived four or eight more years of leftist tinkering is problematic.  I fear that it could not have survived.

But there comes a time when good men and women must begin to do whatever is necessary to restore and revitalize our most important governing principles.  “Birthright citizenship,” “anchor babies,” “chain migration,” and presidential usurpation by those who fail to meet the “natural born” standard are leftist perversions of original intent and they must be reversed.  The Constitution is in dire need of a “tune-up.”  The U.S. Constitution must be restored to what the Founding Fathers intended.  The 14th Amendment and Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution are good places to begin, and the time to begin is now.

Paul R. Hollrah is a retired government relations executive and a two-time member of the U.S. Electoral College.  He currently lives and writes among the hills and lakes of northeast Oklahoma’s Green Country.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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