22 November 2004

Safire's 28th Amendment

Safire favors an amendment to allow naturalized citizens to be president. Here's my reply to him, via e-mail:


My first thought is, "Dream on!" The amendment
you discuss, and for the very reasons you mention (constitutional sluggishness) should have little or no chance of passage. It's a good idea, (not Schwarzenegger's candidacy, which is a very bad idea, but the principle of the amendment), but it will not, I think, gain enough support to come close to passage. Those who would benefit by it have too narrow an interest to garner such broad support.

Besides, there are far more important issues requiring constitutional reform... like doing something about how corporate money and lobbying control all politics and policy, and putting an end to gerrymandering, which has effectively ended representative democracy in this country. Both of those are in the interests of all the people, and just might gain enough grassroots support someday to force those in power to bend to the public's will.

Then again, perhaps you are right. Recent history, such as the failure of the Equal Rights Amendment, has shown that only relatively inconsequential and noncontroversial matters have achieved successful status as constitutional amendments. Rather than deal with anything of any real importance to a wide constituency, this amendment might serve well as a distraction.

Thank you.

/David Studhalter (a Californian who voted against Governor Davis's recall).

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