No doubt you have all heard of the cry now going up from Republican spokespersons to repeal the Fourteenth Amendment to the U. S. Constitution, so that Hispanic children born in the United States of parents who are not citizens will have stripped from them their citizenship. I can only assume that this new demand originated with an extensive survey of the Hispanic community, which revealed that there were still isolated pockets of potential Hispanic Republican voters who had not been completely alienated by the Arizona law and the anti-immigration rhetoric of the Republican leadership. So the call to repeal the 14th Amendment is a last-ditch effort by the Republicans to guarantee that they will never again get another Hispanic vote.
It is not hard to ridicule this latest Republican talking point, although it is difficult to pay it as much attention as it deserves, considering all the other bizarrerie being dumped into the public conversation by the Republicans. But I do think it is useful to distinguish those right-wing causes that are merely loony from those that are deeply ugly and immoral. For example, the call by Iowan Republicans to resurrect the original failed 13th Amendment, so as to be able to strip Obama of his citizenship for accepting the Nobel Prize, qualifies as gloriously loony. But the proposal to strip children of their citizenship is among the ugliest ideas to drip from the festering sore that today is called The Republican Party.
As is so often the case, I find that the most satisfactory response to Jon Kyl and Lindsey Graham can be found in The Good Book. I have in mind the words of Jesus in Matthew 23:27: "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness." [I prefer "whited sepulches" to the Revised Standard's "white-washed tombs." They are synonymous, and the latter is undoubtedly easier for modern readers to understand, but "whited sepulchres" is one of the most beautiful phrases in early modern English, and is worth preserving.]
Oh, by the way, if you did not understand my reference to "the original 13th Amendment" and the Nobel Prize, here is an explanation copied from an interesting blog called "Vast Public Indifference," whose author I was unable to find on the site:
"Last month, the Iowa Republican Party adopted a platform that calls for "the reintroduction and ratification of the original 13th Amendment, not the 13th amendment in today’s Constitution." They mean the 13th Amendment that was passed by congress and ratified by 12 states in 1812 — the one that reads,
No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.
As far as I can tell, the "Thirteenthers'" interpretation of this almost-amendment is fairly silly — they think it applies to titles such as "Esquire" and awards such as the Nobel Prize."
I think you will agree that this qualifies as loony.