Though he later apologized, John Sununu followed up on a common talking point from the right these days that can be heard on MSM, read on the internet, face-book, twitter, etc by saying that President Obama “needs to learn how to be an American.”
Now I’m no fancy, big city politician with MSM access, but I have read my Constitution. After all, isn’t the Constitution the document that determines what is and what isn’t American? The strict constructionist would have you believe that. So what does the Constitution and law say about this?
Well it would appear that as it stands today, there are only three requirements for being an American. Either be born here, be born to American parent(s) outside the country, or be nationalized. I’ve read more and couldn’t for the life of me find anything regarding thought, political affiliation, party preference, sexual orientation, sex, religion, or race that disqualifies anyone from being American. Imagine that.
People of both sides of the political aisle like to think they speak for what is or isn’t American. The truth of the matter is, neither side has that ability. In fact, going to the constructionist point of view and regarding political parties; well, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison in the 1790’s created a political party known as the Democratic-Republicans known today as the Democratic Party. The party began with many of the founders who wrote and enacted the Constitution. The Republican Party was founded in 1854, long after all of the founders were dead. Though it’s true that both parties over time, have swayed their political leanings back and forth. And by the way, the founders were made up of liberals, conservatives, Christians, Jews, Deists, those of no faith, capitalists and socialists (though those terms had yet to come into vogue at the time) all working and arguing with each other to come up with compromise to get things started here.
Early Republicans were actually more Progressive than what you have today. Early Democrats were more racially bigoted that we have today. But throughout our history, no matter the party, no matter the political leanings, they were all Americans, providing they were born or naturalized here.
The issue of race was cleared up after the civil war and you cannot seriously say someone who isn’t white isn’t American anymore. Sorry Rush Limbaugh, I know this really upsets you.
The history of this nation is a history of differing views, orientations, races, religions, political parties, sexual orientation, debating with each other about what we should be as a nation. That is what America is about. Doesn’t matter what side of an issue you take, both sides are American, providing you were born or naturalized here.
There never has been a religious test. In fact, the Constitution expressly forbids using a religious test for public office. So all people of all faiths, Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Scientology, Deist, Atheists, LDS or no faith at all are American, providing they were born or naturalized here.
There is no thought test for being American. So whether you are right or left of the political divide, capitalist, socialist, progressive, fascist, communist, Maoist, Independent, you are American providing you were born or naturalized in this country.
Enough of this crap on both sides that so and so isn’t an American. In my humble opinion, the only kind of thinking that would disqualify you from being American is applying the view that if they think different from you, they’re not American. That is the closest thing to a thought requirement that I can think of. Though admittedly, not even that, is in the Constitution or law. You don’t have to agree, and people can clearly be wrong either economically, ethically, socially, whatever, they’re still American.
Fact is, like it or not, regardless of our views, parties, religion, sexual orientation, sex, race, what have you, as long as we are born here, born to American parent(s) or have been nationalized, we are all Americans and no one has the right to say otherwise.