Thoughts & Essays

On ending Birthright Citizenship & other such BS

My morning routine goes like this: My alarm goes off at 6:30am and, angrily, I thrust one arm out from underneath the covers to slap around on my bedside table until I find my damn phone. I fumble it up to my face, poking and swiping blearily and randomly at the screen until the noise stops.

I sit up, annoyed, and swirl an extra blanket around my shoulders to stay warm. I blink, glaring at the darkness in the bedroom and through it at the world beyond in dull irritation at its audacity in starting up at so ungodly an hour.

I open my phone, squinting into its brightness until my eyes decide to start focusing. I check my email. I check Facebook. Then, bracing myself, I check Twitter.

Email and Facebook rarely have anything of portent. It’s usually just spam and family updates.

Twitter is where I find out what’s on fire today. This particular morning Twitter was burning down over Trump’s announcement of his intention to end birthright citizenship, the principal that if you’re born in America, you’re an American citizen.

This is the downside of living on the west coast. By the time I wake up, the day’s already gone to hell.

So. Birthright citizenship. Trump wants to end it by executive order.

Birthright citizenship is the idea that if you are born on American soil, you’re an American citizen. This idea is enshrined in the 14th Amendment, and upheld by the Supreme Court in 1894 when Wong Kim Ark, who was born in San Francisco, was barred from re-entering the US after a trip to China. He took his case to the Supreme Court, which ruled 6-2 in his favor that he was a citizen by birth. You can read the history on Vox.

Despite the 14th Amendment, the Supreme Court decision, and the way we’ve generally applied both over the decades, there’s some contention over who exactly gets birthright citizenship in America.

Actually, let me clarify that. The only people arguing against birthright citizenship are racists and people who hate immigrants (illegal or otherwise, as the legality of someone’s immigration is often just the corner a racist sets their chisel against when they start trying to pry non-white folks out of the country). Birthright citizenship came about because of the Dred Scott case, and the arguments against it have always been racist at their core.

In the more racist, Nazi-ish corners of the US there’s been a push to end birthright citizenship and/or repeal the 14th Amendment for some time now, because racists think non-white people shouldn’t be citizens automatically.

Let me state that again, and plainly: The push to end birthright citizenship is racist on its face and a move to make it so only white people can be citizens.

Trump announced his intention this morning to sign an executive order that would take birthright citizenship from babies born in the US to illegal immigrants. Lots of journalists and pundits are arguing this morning that he can’t do that, but here’s how this would shake out.

Trump signs the executive order. Someone – probably the ACLU at the least – sues to stop the order, like with the Muslim ban executive order. Legalities ensue, and eventually the executive order ends up in the Supreme Court.

You remember that Trump and Mitch McConnell packed the Supreme Court, right? Kavanaugh, Gorsuch. It happened about 487 Trump years ago.

The lawsuit goes to the SCotUS, where, thanks to Trump’s judges, the executive order gets upheld.

There you go. That’s how it happens. Now you’re not necessarily a citizen just because you were born here anymore. It’s that easy.

That’s just step one. The chisel has been set. Don’t think for one single second that the Trump administration won’t be hammering away at that chisel night and day. The end goal of the Trump administration is an all-white United States.

And if you’re thinking, “Hey, well, I’m white, so…” let me just ask you: Are you sure you’re the right kind of white person?

Because that’s the next step.

Are you conservative? Straight? Male? Christian? Because if your answer to any of those questions is “No.” then you should be nervous.

Those of you who are straight, white, male, conservative Christians… have you checked your ancestry lately? Are you sure you’re white enough? You’re sure you don’t have any Jewish or Catholic ancestors someone might dig up? Maybe a Native American or black ancestor a few generations back that someone might find?

Can you prove that? Conclusively? If you can’t, can you be absolutely sure you’re not going to piss anyone off who might find that information or lie about it to get you in trouble?

Because that’s where this journey leads, eventually. And it might be a faster trip than you thought.

Maybe you think this sounds alarmist. You might. It kind of does. Because I’m alarmed. I’ve read enough history to know the lay of this land.

The midterm elections are 7 days away. Vote. Vote for Democrats. I don’t care if you hate Democrats, or think they aren’t liberal or progressive enough, if you’re mad because Bernie didn’t get elected or think “Oh, they’re all the same.”

They are not. Vote. For. Democrats. Vote Democrat straight across the board, for every race, without hesitation.

Our only hope right now is to bring the government to a screeching halt for two years, until 2020, when, for the love of little puppies with heart-shaped spots, please, we can vote Trump out.

Seven days. Vote Democrat. Vote like your life depends on it. It does.