The 14th Amendment

The 14th Amendment is not getting amended or overturned. Not now, not tomorrow, and not ever. The hill to climb to ratify an amendment to the Constitution is monstrous. But Congress has to do something to keep itself busy. After all, there are no wars going on and the country isn’t in any sort of economic crisis!

In the last 20 years, from 1990 to present, Congress, one side or the other, has tried to repeal some or all of:

– the 26th Amendment
– the 2nd Amendment (to explicitly allow for bigger guns)
– the 22nd Amendment (to allow Reagan to run again!)
– the 16th Amendment
– the 8th Amendment — and replace it with explicit language for parking offenses!

I have heard:

– Obama is from Kenya and not an American;
– Al-Qaeda is impregnating women, sneaking them into the US, making them have their babies, and then whisking the babies off to Al-Qaeda training camps*;
– Single, pregnant Mexican women are sneaking over the border to have babies so they can get themselves access to some fine US welfare better known as the noxious term “anchor babies”;
– They themselves are not recipients of the 14th Amendment because Native Americans are all old, white xenophobes and none of their ancestors ever settled here without proper documentation.

This round of hatred from the Republican mouthbreathers is putting me on edge. Instead of sneaking in xenophobic hatred of “the Other” into debate or commercials or television clips on Fox News, they’re holding hearings on modifying the Constitution. Sure it’s election year posturing but it sets my teeth on edge. Maybe we should go back to former slaves not allowed to become citizens of the United States? Let’s get back to our true Conservative roots. All hail Dred Scott!

Yes, I am aware of the immigration problem in this country. Yes, I also am aware of the economic disparity between two countries that share a border. No, this is not the way to discuss it. Xenophobic hissy fits turn my stomach. It used to be Jews and Italians and Eastern Europeans and Former Slaves and African Americans. The flavor of the week are people from the South.

I also know xenophobia and hatred of “the Other” is a favorite horse to flog during major economic downturns. See re: Eastern Europeans and the Great Depression. Someone who is weak and powerless must be to blame. We cannot go after the powerful, those truly at fault, so we’ll go after the weakest and least protected. Whipping up constituents over issues with no possible delivery is a great way to make short term electoral gains.

I watch this process and I’m always relieved that Alexander Hamilton hated people and James Madison felt the unwashed American masses weren’t properly qualified to tinker with the Constitution. The hill to climb to make any modifications is steep. We’ve screwed it up pretty badly once — see Prohibition — but after the Bill of Rights, we’ve only managed to amend the Constitution 17 times in 250 years.

Also, I heard that the 14th Amendment is giving gays the rights to marry, so it’s all good here today. Yay Abraham Lincoln!

* This is my favorite tin foil hat conspiracy theory going around.