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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Sophomore LHP Shane Sdao (38) reacts after a strikeout during Texas A&Ms game against Texas at Disch-Falk Field on Tuesday, March 5, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
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Texas A&M outfielder Allie Enright (33) makes a diving catch during Texas A&M’s game against Albany at the first round of the NCAA Women’s College World Series at Davis Diamond on Friday, May 18, 2024. (Hannah Harrison/The Battalion)
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Sophomore LHP Shane Sdao (38) reacts after a strikeout during Texas A&Ms game against Texas at Disch-Falk Field on Tuesday, March 5, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
A Sunday salvage
May 12, 2024
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Beekeeper Shelby Dittman scoops bees back into their hive during a visit on Friday, April 5, 2024. (Kyle Heise/The Battalion)
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The speakers turn on. Static clicks. And a voice reads “Your starting lineup for the Texas A&M Aggies is …” Spectators hear that...

Kennedy White, 19, sits for a portrait in the sweats she wore the night of her alleged assault inside the Y.M.C.A building that holds Texas A&M’s Title IX offices in College Station, Texas on Feb. 16, 2024 (Ishika Samant/The Battalion).
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Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
Farewell from the graduating Battalion staff of 2024
The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Sophomore LHP Shane Sdao (38) reacts after a strikeout during Texas A&Ms game against Texas at Disch-Falk Field on Tuesday, March 5, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
A Sunday salvage
May 12, 2024

Running (for president) man

 
 

Many Californians would say “Hasta la vista, baby” to a particular facet of the U.S. Constitution that prohibits foreign-born Americans, including Arnold Schwarzenegger, from running for president.
AmendUs.org, an organization dedicated to amending Article 2 of the Constitution, recently sponsored a television commercial to gain popular support for such an amendment, which would allow immigrants such as California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm the chance to run for president of the United States, according to The Sacramento Union. And AmendUs.org isn’t alone in its support of such an amendment: Two bills advocating similar outcomes are before Congress right now.
In judging which proposed Constitutional amendments are of enough importance to pass and which should fall by the wayside, one should use the standard of whether said amendment actually reflects an underlying, bedrock principle of the United States and the American spirit, and is not merely the whim of a generation. A bill guaranteeing foreign-born U.S. citizens the same rights as their American-born counterparts meets this standard; a nation founded by immigrants must finally extend the spirit of the country, the founding fathers and even the Constitution to the document’s wording itself.
Article 2, Section 1, Clause 5 of the United States Constitution says exactly this about the issue: “No person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of President.” According to a CBS News Web site, University of Alabama historian Forrest McDonald said he believes the clause was written into the Constitution by the Constitutional Convention of 1787 to thwart any possible attempts by foreign monarchs to usurp the power of the American people and change its style of government. McDonald’s claim makes sense. When America was a young, fledgling democracy with an untested system of government, it was logical to include a clause that helped ensure freedom from the control of foreign governments.
Today, however, no viable reason exists for this wording to remain. For many, the biggest objection to such an amendment seems to be a fear to change the Constitution whatsoever. An Oct. 11, 2003, an editorial by the Chicago Tribune asked, “This is a nation of immigrants, of course, and one that offers more opportunity to immigrants, naturalized citizens or not, than any other country in the world. But is it imperative that such opportunity extend to the highest office in the land? Is that critical enough to take the extraordinary step of amending the Constitution for only the 28th time in 216 years?” before admonishing, “The short answer: No.”
But many would answer “yes” to this question. In the words of AmendUs.org co-founder Lissa Morgenthaler-Jones, “You cannot choose the land of your birth. You can choose the land that you love,” according to The Sacramento Union. Co-sponsor of one of the bills to amend Article 2 of the Constitution Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, echoed this sentiment, calling Clause 5 of Article 2 “an anachronism that is decidedly un-American,” according to CBS News.
Both Morgenthaler-Jones and Hatch are right. Of all the defining characteristics of the prototypical American, one’s place of birth has nothing to do with it. Theodore Roosevelt once said, “Americanism is a question of principle, of purpose, of idealism, of character; it is not a matter of birthplace, or creed or line of descent.” True Americanism is what America should look for in its president, and if these traits are best embodied in a foreign-born candidate, that person should be allowed to run for America’s highest office.
The entire basis of what defines an American is not one’s place of birth, but rather, one’s state of mind. For a self-declared melting pot founded by the very foreign-born citizens now being excluded from running for the office of president, America must amend this Clause to ensure not only that all citizens are given equal rights but also that the ablest candidate is elected its leader. In disallowing immigrants from running for president, America does itself a huge disservice. Should the best, brightest and ablest candidate to lead America – he who best represents the ideal of Americanism – not happen to have been born there, the American people are ultimately the ones who stand to lose the most.

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