Monday, September 10, 2012

What do the Birthers Really Want? To Deport Obama

What is it with the Birthers? They just won't give up, not even in the face of overwhelming evidence that Barack Obama was actually, physically, really and truly born in the then-Territory of Hawaii in 1961. World Net Daily has pretty much given over its entire editorial sections to shrill screeds on the topic from Orly Taintz and her flying-monkey minions.

Like many of us over here in the Reality Based Community, I've been vacillating between being just bemused and totally nonplussed by their neurotic OCD obsession with the whole thing. I've been at my wits end for going on four years now, trying to figure out what the fuck the "Birthers" really want? I've tried asking them, and even the few who will still talk to me (i.e., my wackjob cousin) can't -- or won't -- answer my question.

And to me the question is a pretty simple one: If Obama's mother was a US citizen -- which no one is disputing -- then isn't her son automatically a US citizen, regardless of where he was born? Hasn't that been the law since like, forever?

Well, that's what I thought, anyway, but when I did my own research, it turns out that this isn't such a straightforward question with a straightforward answer. It all depends on WHEN he was born. Over at VisaLaw Immigration Information, I found this:

What are the rules for people born between December 23, 1952 and November 13, 1986?
Again, children born abroad to two US citizen parents were US citizens at birth, as long as one of the parents resided in the US at some point before the birth of the child.
When one parent was a US citizen and the other a foreign national, the US citizen parent must have resided in the US for a total of 10 years prior to the birth of the child, with five of the years after the age of 14.  An exception for people serving in the military was created by considering time spent outside the US on military duty as time spent in the US. [Emphasis added]
Yes, now it all makes sense to me. Obama was born in 1961, and his mother was just 18 at the time of his birth, and so it is temporally impossible for her to meet the "five of the years after the age of 14" stipulation.

That's why it's so fucking important to the Birthers to establish that Obama was born in Kenya. Or Indonesia. Or where the fuck ever Orly Taintz wants us to believe this week, just as long as it was outside the borders of the United States. By the simple fact that if he was not born in the United States, he is, ipso facto and QED, not a United States citizen.

Jeez. I wasn't expecting that... But okay. what then? Well, I'm more than 100% certain that, not satisfied to strip him of the presidential mantle that he paraded around in so arrogantly, so illegally, so blackly, for the last four years, they will also insist on deporting him as an illegal alien. You know how the whole right wing feels about so-called illegal aliens, and here would be the biggest illegal alien of all, right in their sweaty grasp. He is so outta here!

But wait. First I want to relate a story from my own family. My cousin Jimmy* was born in occupied Berlin, in a German hospital, in 1948 to my uncle, an American soldier who was just nineteen and had been shipped there after advanced individual training, and a young German mother (they were married at the time, but just barely, having just achieved that status before Jimmy was born, in a traditional German Zwangsheirat). He eventually grew up in my home state after his father was discharged and moved his family back to the US. Jimmy graduated from high school in 1965 and enlisted in the Army, following in his father's footsteps.

Unfortunately he had the bad luck to be assigned to the25th Infantry Division near Cu Chi, and after less than three months in country he was shot up severely, ambushed while he was on patrol, injured to the extent that he has to spend a substantial amount of his remaining time in a wheelchair, to the extent that he was awarded a VA disability pension of 100%.

He eventually got married, had two children (that part still worked!), and went on to college (GI Bill, naturally); afterwards he got a job, from which he is now retired and drawing Social Security. He just finished paying off his house and putting his youngest child, a girl, through college. He has two grandchildren by way of his oldest daughter.

Got the picture? Now let's go back at take another look at that immigration law, cited on the VisaLaw page, this time another section:
What are the rules for people born between January 14, 1941 and December 23, 1952?
As before, children born abroad to two US citizens, with one parent having resided in the US, the child was a US citizen at birth.  No further action was required to maintain citizenship.
When one parent was a citizen and the other a foreign national, however, the rules changed substantially.  To pass citizenship, the citizen parent must have resided in the US for at least 10 years before the birth of the child, and at least five of those years had to be after the parent turned 16.  Because this rule made it impossible for parents under 21 to pass citizenship, in 1946 the requirement was amended to create an exception for parents who had served in World War Two. [Emphasis added]
Oh, okay. Whew. That WWII exemption ought to take care of it. But wait a minute, no it doesn't! Uncle Bud was born in 1929 and didn't join the Army until after WWII. He was barely 19 when Jimmy was born. So he didn't meet the residency requirement, either.

Wow. Based on the law in effect at the time, it turns out that Jimmy is not really a citizen of the US after all. So it would seem that he will have be deported as an illegal alien along with Barack Obama, and probably lose both his VA disability and his Social Security. This deportation will, of course, come as a wrenching shock and appalling surprise to him and his family, especially his grandchildren. Everyone except for his ex-wife, who will no doubt be glad to see him go...

The only fortunate thing is that he will get to be repatriated to Germany, which has a solid social safety net and which will take care of him. He also still has some cousins there on his mother's side who know him and like him, and who already call him "Jakob"; they will be glad to help him out.

Unlike my old Army buddy Eladio, who served with me in Vietnam and if the same rule applies to him (my memory of his situation is a little hazy after all these years, but I think it is in large measure basically the same as Jimmy's), he will have to return to El Salvador, where things are short in social safety nets but long in military junta dictatorships who work with United Fruit (a partially-owned subsidiary of the CIA) using their US-made military weapons to torture and repress the common people, especially Johnny-come-lately types who have been expelled from the great El Norte.

It will also come as a surprise, I would imagine, to the officials in the Reagan State Department who first issued Jimmy a US passport, apparently assuming he was the citizen that he claimed to be, and that common sense dictated that he was. Too bad for them as well -- I'm sure heads, if there are any still around 30 years later, will roll over that decision.

Now you have it. It's not all so cut and dried after all, is it? You goddam Birthers, you really want to strip my disabled Vietnam veteran cousin Jimmy of his citizenship -- which he apparently never really had -- and deport him? Strip away his Social Security and his VA disability pension? And Eladio's too, as long as you're at it, even though he's been a productive member of society and has run a successful small business in Texas for the last forty years, employing nearly 20 (legal, he assures me) workers?

Never mind, I already know the answer to that. I heard it during the Rethug presidential debate when the audience screamed, "Let him die!"

Even Baby Doc Bush claimed to be a "compassionate conservative". I don't even hear that weak pabulum puking out of the craven vulture craws of any of the new "leaders" on the right.

One final note: Fuck you, Birthers! You are an embarrassment to political discourse and to rational thinking. And to the whole Human Race as well.
[Footnote: Please respect the man's privacy. No, Jimmy is not his real name, he has a different last name from me, and he is not even on the same side of the family as my infamous "wackjob cousin" --she doesn't even know him.]