Sunday, January 30, 2011

Mass-produced America-born foreigners: as historically accurate as a giant 19th century robot spider

An 80-foot, 19th century robot tarantula, from the movie Wild Wild West

At every moment in this great country's history - from the age of George Washington to age of Google and John Glenn, the concept of an America-born foreigner has largely been a myth. You might have heard the actual name of such a creature once, or, more likely, you saw one in a movie. But being born in America as a foreigner is not a concept that has ever had any connection to the day-in and day-out of delivery rooms across America. Not for the entire length of our history.

In 2011, however, some so-called "conservatives" are pushing an alternate paradigm, one that would make America-born foreigners commonplace. To do this, they have to conduct alchemy on two strands of our national DNA: the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and the identity of every American citizen child.

Make no mistake about it - the path of the U.S. will radically change if these people get their way. Throwing the national identity lever so far away from jus soli and so close to jus sanguinis changes being born as an American from a simple question - one that has always had roots in the land - into a governmental judgment based solely on the quality of your bloodline.

Anyone who knows American history knows that this path is nowhere in our national timeline, past or future. America has never been defined Americans on the basis of lineage alone.

Like the 80-foot, 19th century robot tarantula in the Will Smith movie Wild Wild West, the concept of an America-born foreigner is newly written fiction that depicts a fake history.

It would be tolerable if these spider-robot "conservatives" limited themselves to Hollywood fantasies or Halloween parties. Heck, every time a legislative challenge to birthright citizenship is filed, it might be cathartic to fire up Photoshop and give the proponents eight mechanical tentacles.

But we can't be altogether dismissive - they've been filing these kinds of bills for years, and they're getting bolder. They must not be allowed to slip one through and pass off their reckless, historically disingenuous fantasy on an unsuspecting nation.

We have never before mass-produced America-born foreigners. And we would not be recognizable as America if we did.

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