Recently discovered in a Manhattan library's records: In 1789, George Washington borrowed a copy of Emmerich de Vattel's "The Law of Nations" and never returned it. Many historians have documented this important treatise as the basis for much of the Constitution's framework. Vattel's book includes this interesting statement:
I say, that, in order to be of the country, it is necessary that a person be born of a father who is a citizen; for, if he is born there of a foreigner, it will be only the place of his birth, and not his country.
Vattel seems to equate the phrase "of the country" with the concept of patriotism and implies that this feeling arises not from geography, but from the moment of birth within the family. (Note that "patriotism" has the Greek root patrios, "of one's father.") Aristotle discussed this notion of allegiance that arises from family ties versus place in his Politics, Book 3. Proponents of the view that the founders relied on Vattel and understood the significance of "citizen by consent" versus "subject by birth" were also excited to learn of the recent discovery of Jefferson's deliberate smudge on the Declaration. Many so-called birthers and opponents of the practice of "birthright citizenship" rely on this conceptual distinction and Vattel's definition of "natural-born citizen" in their arguments against Obama's presidential eligibility.
Much of the hullabaloo over Obama's birthplace misses the central point of these philosophers' contentions, simply put in the old but wise saying: "Home is where the heart is." Obviously, it is critical for many reasons that our leader behold America as the apple of his eye. Personally, I believe Obama's birthplace is indeed Hawaii. But now that his home is in the White House, his heart-place becomes the pivotal question.
Most of us do find our heartstrings attached to our own birthplace, and the conspiracy theories surrounding Obama's are understandable, given what little information is available. Obama's translucency in failing to release his long-form birth certificate or other details of his life has only fueled the theories. Fans would love to brag about his stellar grades, scholarly articles, and other achievements. Supporters want to read books about Obama that he didn't (supposedly) write himself. Reporters long to interview classmates, past associates, clients, and friends (that is, anybody other than his pastor of twenty years, favor-trading politicians and business associates, and some guys in his neighborhood). Obama's wife has in speeches referred to her husband's "home country" as Kenya. Many Americans have parents who were born in other countries, as do I -- however, I can't recall ever thinking of the foreign country of my father's birth as "home," nor would my family describe my country as anything but America. Maybe Michelle, who admitted she wasn't proud of her own home country until her husband began his presidential campaign, simply prefers to think of Kenya as Obama's. When Obama suffered writer's block while creating his autobiography, he retreated for several months to Indonesia. He spent a summer in Pakistan after graduation from college. One of several family trips to Kenya found then-Senator Obama alongside his cousin Odinga on Odinga's campaign trail. Obama must have missed learning U.S. geography in elementary school (likely since he attended a Muslim elementary school in Jakarta), for he told us he was unable to campaign in all 57 U.S. states (although there are 57 member-states of the Islamic Conference).
In a campaign speech for the U.S. presidency that Obama gave -- not in the U.S., but Germany -- he spoke of himself as a "citizen of the world." This self-label he must not take lightly, for we have seen him on more than one occasion bowing to foreign leaders.
Not a "Journolist," and therefore not aware of approved descriptions for our president, writer Dorothy Rabinowitz called Obama an "alien." Obama recently made a remark that it appears could confer American citizenship to ET: "Being an American is not a matter of blood or birth -- it's a matter of faith." The Globe (the tabloid) again dared recently to publish another Kenyan birth certificate story, further fueling the conspiracies. Obama, who was against the use of his middle name and acknowledgment of his Muslim heritage before he was for it, claims that America is no longer primarily a Christian nation and seems to have some difficulty describing our enemies in a language America understands. John McCain's heart, although physically born in a Panama hospital outside the U.S. military base, has been proven, based on a life of service, to be firmly rooted in patriotism for his country. Publications staffed by Journolists that questioned McCain's presidential eligibility early in the campaign were answered with McCain's release of his long-form and a Senate resolution. One wonders whether Obama's eligibility was ever discussed among these same Journolisters before they, in choreographed unison, ridiculed the Obama "birthers," a name the only Journolister to be fired (so far), David Weigel, claimed he was the first to coin. A recent edition of The Washington Times National Weekly ran a full-page advertisement by plaintiff Commander Charles Kerchner (of a still-active eligibility lawsuit) headlined "Kenya My Country, Tusker My Beer: The Elephant in the Oval Office." Kerchner's attorney, Mario Apuzzo, was recently cleared of frivolous charges as he continues to appeal his case. Real photos of Obama drinking Tusker Beer have not been captured, but he does seem to have a curious interest in Kenyan politics, spending (possibly illegally) $23 million of U.S. funds to promote a new Kenyan constitution which is both pro-abortion and pro-Sharia. Tea Partiers only dream that Obama would take such an interest in the Constitution he swore to uphold. Our current Congress -- busy disregarding the Constitution themselves and passing thousands of pages of new laws the contents of which they, along with the rest of us, anxiously wait to see -- can't even produce a budget, much less examine whether this president is violating his own oath. Not long ago, Congress felt it necessary to examine whether Clinton lied under oath about having sex with an intern. Is lying to a judge about a romantic tryst more egregious than lying to the American people?
These days, it hinges on who's doing the lying or breaking the laws. Under Obama's Justice Department, the definition of equal enforcement depends on the meaning of "equal."Thoughts, motives, income level, skin color, and an "R" or a "D" after a title now fill Lady Justice's vision.
G.K. Chesterton once penned this lovely thought on patriotism: "Men did not love Rome because she was great. She was great because they had loved her."
The sleeping giant that loves the real America is just beginning to wake up and wonder if Obama's heart does indeed reside with us, and whether he feels at home with baseball, Boy Scouts, and apple pie. Obama's father did not dream of citizenship, service, or patriotism to America, but rather remained a communist Muslim member of the Kenyan government until his death. It seems the America that Obama loves is a country fundamentally transformed according to the hope of his own audacious vision. If, instead of the oceans, our mountain of debt continues to rise to unsupportable levels, and the next Congress dares consider impeachment of Obama (or if he's spotted in Arizona buying ice cream) instead of asking to see his papers, Americans may choose to give him some papers of their own -- a one-way ticket out of the White House and to the homeland of his heart, wherever that might be.