What’s natural anymore, anyways?

Rabab Al-Sharif

It’s time for the “birthers” to cut the cord on their ludicrous movement, and the state of Hawaii may push them along.

As Hawaii continues to receive e-mails seeking Obama’s birth certificate, the state House Judiciary Committee heard a bill that would allow government officials to ignore repeated requests for proof that Obama was born in the United States.

According to the U.S. Constitution, there are only three requirements to become president: Candidates must be 35 years of age or older, must have lived in the United States for at least 14 years and must be a “natural-born citizen.”

The only problem is that the founders of our nation never really said what exactly a natural-born citizen is. Debates over the matter have been going on since the creation of this stipulation.

One side feels this is a necessary measure to keep foreign influence out of our most powerful leader while others feel all American citizens should have an opportunity to be the president.

There is no concrete definition of what a natural-born citizen is, but the term seemed to be interpreted flexibly in the early days.

The first seven American presidents were British-born. Martin Van Buren was the first natural-born president in 1837. This happened of course because of the “grandfather” clause that gave presidential eligibility to tens of thousands of naturalized citizens.

Clearly this shows the founders did not want to prevent all naturalized citizens from running for president.

Besides that, this is the only provision in our constitution — or any other law — that discriminates based on a characteristic that is indelible.

The argument that foreign powers will try to scheme by having one of their naturalized citizens be elected is ridiculous. First of all, because they could just as well have a natural-born citizen do the same thing, and secondly because they would have to outsmart the entire country — which is unlikely.

Technically, just because someone was born here doesn’t mean they are any less likely to have allegiance to a foreign country.

A citizen could be born here, live elsewhere for a majority of his or her life, move back here for 14 years and become president.

On the other hand someone could be born elsewhere, move to the United States at an early age and become naturalized, and even after being a citizen and living in this country most of their lives, they cannot become president.

It just doesn’t make any sense.

The arguments over John McCain’s citizenship during the 2008 presidential race are another perfect example of why this stipulation is so ridiculous.

The man was born on a U.S. military base and his parents were U.S. citizens. He has been a citizen of the United States for his entire life, yet his eligibility for the presidency was still questioned.

He was citizen enough when he was defending the United States in a war.

Now more than a year into Obama’s presidency, some nut jobs are still questioning whether or not Obama is a citizen. It’s time to get over it and move on.

He is an American citizen; there is no question about that. I honestly don’t care where he was born. He’s lived a majority of his life in America.

Even if he wasn’t natural-born, which he is, I see no reason a naturalized citizen should not be allowed to run for president as long as he or she meets the other stipulations.

Just because they run doesn’t mean they’ll be elected.

It should be up to voters whether they actually want that person to become president.

Rabab Al-Sharif is a sophomore magazine journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].