Tag: libertarian

The Difference

As we careen, cartwheel, and plummet into the finale of this interminable election season, one refrain we hear many times is that Republicans and Democrats are one and the same.

Indeed, there is ample evidence that both parties are indebted to big business and the status quo. And as Latinos know, Obama’s original immigration policies weren’t much of an improvement over Bush’s approach.

Still, there are differences between the two men running for president— besides the fact that one is a communist Kenyan and the other is a money-grubbing fascist (hey, that’s what the internet told me).


For those who have inexplicably not paid attention, Obama is pro-choice, while Romney is pro-life. Obama is against the death penalty, while Romney is fine with it. The president has come out in support of gay marriage, while Romney believes marriage is a straights-only deal. And Obama doesn’t share Romney’s opinion that the US government is inherently inept, corrupt, and/or evil.

I have to admit, those seem to be fairly large differences to me.

Even progressive icon Daniel Ellsberg, no fan of Obama, thinks the president is substantially different from Romney.

So who are the people yelling that Obama and Romney are clones? I mean, besides Lupe Fiasco?

Well, there are true believers who think a leftist or libertarian chief exec is a possibility (it’s not). Then there are self-proclaimed radicals who dismiss the entire American system as corrupt or bourgeois or just plain icky. And finally, there are voters who simply say, “It don’t matter none.” 

But of course it does matter. And for Latino voters, it’s crucial.

Hispanics are the least likely ethnic group to have health insurance, a situation that the infamous Obamacare may alleviate.

On immigration, Obama has endorsed the Dream Act (belatedly, of course), while Romney is still trying to explain how self-deportation would work.

And when it comes to economic policy, Romney’s tax cuts would benefit the upper classes, which are not exactly awash in Latinos. Keep in mind that according to some experts, Romney “cannot deliver all the tax cuts he promised to the wealthy without raising taxes on the middle class.” One can presume that Hispanics will not be among the direct beneficiaries of his tax plan.

However, perhaps some Latinos still believe that it doesn’t matter who wins. Well, think back to those distant days of 2000, when Bush was elected. At the time, many Americans voted for Nader because Gore and Bush were apparently too similar. Therefore, we have to assume that under President Gore, the September 11 attacks, the Great Recession, and FEMA’s horrific response to Hurricane Katrina would have all occurred. Those are rather huge assumptions, to say the least.

But the Iraq War, an obsession unique to neo-cons, certainly would not have happened. So for the families of 4,500 dead US soldiers, there was at least one fundamental, very real difference between the candidates.

By the way, approximately 500 of those soldiers were Latino.


Anchors Aweigh!

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. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

The Fourteenth Amendment

U.S. Constitution

It’s probably not a shocker that I’m a liberal person. Still, I always had a healthy respect for the libertarian viewpoint. I thought it was based on principles (e.g., less government, fewer regulations, control of one’s reproductive choices, etc) rather than the virulent fear and hatred that fuels so much of the modern Republican Party.

I even tried to give Senate candidate Rand Paul the benefit of the doubt for his truly idiotic and potentially dangerous statement that private businesses can discriminate based on race.

“He’s just being a hardcore libertarian,” I thought. “He can’t be that racist.”

Then Paul let loose with his latest conservative broadside. He said that the children of illegal immigrants who are born in the United States should not be granted citizenship.

With that comment, it’s difficult to ignore Paul’s implication that, in his opinion, the United States has way too many Latinos. There is no principle here.

Paul, and anyone who agrees with him, has to be willing to ignore the Constitution’s unambiguous statement that everyone born here is a citizen. They also have to be eager to overturn decades of court precedents, an action that would require a decision from a monumentally activist judge (one of those guys I thought conservatives hated).

Still, plenty of conservatives have championed the anti-birthright position in recent years, despite the right wing’s oft-stated love of the U.S. Constitution.

By the way, here’s a study question for all social conservatives: If forced to chose, do you revere the words of the Constitution or the Bible more? As a follow-up, have you read either one?

But back to the topic at hand, which is anchor babies.

Randy Terrill, a Republican state representative in Oklahoma who is trying to get an anti-birthright bill passed, says that in a worst-case scenario, “Children of invading armies would be considered citizens of the U.S.”

I must admit that I had never thought of this. In Terrill’s grim assessment of our future, invading armies (from some unknown or unnamed country) send brigade after brigade of pregnant soldiers to charge our front lines. Hesitant to fire upon the rampaging moms-to-be, our soldiers let them overrun the nation. Support troops, perhaps infantrywomen in their second trimester, manage to crawl under the barb wire or hop the fence without putting pressure on their swollen bellies.

Mere months later, the soldiers start giving birth. These pseudo-citizens are then granted citizenship, and the United States falls to the invading hordes. It’s truly evil genius.

Now, I’ve written before about the concept of revoking citizenship upon birth, and I expressed my support for amending the Constitution … as long as we really go for it. That is, let’s reject citizenship for everyone born here, whether the parent is an undocumented worker or a ninth-generation American. Every child is a legal resident, but can’t become a citizen until he or she passes a basic test – the way naturalized citizens do.

For some reason, this idea has never caught on.

The truth is that we just don’t want Maria from Mexico to give birth to a kid inside the California border, then have to call the offspring a citizen. So by all means, let’s ignore those sections of the Constitution that we don’t like.

But could we try not to pretend that there’s anything like principles or consistency on display? They are simply not present in this debate.

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