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Feinting Spell

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"Man's mind is so formed that it is far more susceptible to falsehood than to truth."~~Desiderius Erasmus (c.14661536), Dutch humanist. Praise of Folly, ch. 45 (1509)

The recent furor over the amending or repeal of our Constitution's Fourteenth Amendment, supposedly to prevent illegal immigrants from having so-called "anchor babies" who are automatically United States citizens, may actually be a feint by the corporations -- using the radical right--in a campaign to completely undermine many of the freedoms that we Americans currently enjoy, and take for granted.

Most Americans do not realize that one of the primary purposes of the Fourteenth Amendment is to protect individual Americans' rights against the power of the individual states. It, in effect, nullifies much of the so-called "states rights" argument of the Tenth Amendment (a more careful reading of the Ninth and Tenth Amendments will show that they reserve the powers of states and the rights and powers of the citizen, unless specifically enumerated), which had been so badly abused by the Taney Supreme Court in the Dred Scott decision.

It was by using the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment, that the Supreme Court and the Federal Government were able to declare that our schools could not be segregated; that we had a right to be protected from an unsafe work environment, arbitrary acts by employers, and that we had the right to organize and engage in collective bargaining; that we had a right to legal counsel both at trial and during questioning by state or local police; and that we had a right against self-incrimination, no beating confessions out of suspects in the backroom at police HQ. Finally, we had a right to be secure in the privacy of our persons, our property, and our possessions unless law enforcement had acquired a warrant with probable cause, demonstrating that they had, within very narrow reasons, an overriding need for the sake of public safety, to violate that privacy.

It is this last one that represents the greatest danger. If the Due Process clause is repealed in this atavistic fervor of our modern Know-Nothings, we will lose the right to be represented by an attorney in a state court of law, we will lose whatever little protection we might still have from having the local police beating a confession out of us, and local police will be able to enter our homes on suspicion of our doing something illegal.

But this is not the worst outcome. Without the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses enforcing our right to privacy, we lose our right to privacy under Griswold v. Connecticut in terms of a right to contraception, and our right to an abortion under Roe v. Wade. And the recent overturning of Proposition 8 in California is gone as well.

I think that this may be the end game that certain people on the right are hoping for. It gives them everything they ever wanted, but never expected to achieve. In fencing this is called a "second intention" attack -- a feint to draw your opponent's weapon out of position, followed by a planned thrust to score a win.

We must not be taken in by their deceptive feint. Without the Fourteenth Amendment's guarantees of Equal Protection and Due Process, the individual states will be able to run roughshod over our rights as individuals, and corporations will reduce the American worker to chattel, just as they did in the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth Century. ("I owe my soul to the Company store," as Tennessee Ernie Ford once sang.)

Americans need to realize that the birth of "anchor babies" is the slowest way possible for someone to achieve residency and citizenship. The "anchor babies" have to be 21 before they can act as sponsors for their parents to be in this country legally.

The majority of the illegal aliens in this country entered the country legally: on tourist, student, and work visas, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. They have stayed past the time when their visas expired, because they like what they found here much better than what they had at home.

The secret to driving illegals out of the jobs that they now occupy (that Americans may desire), is to punish the employer, not the illegal. If you make the fines prohibitively costly -- say $10,000 for every illegal worker employed -- it will do more to end the use of illegal workers than if we made our border with Mexico some insane parody of the Berlin Wall, complete with land mines, ever possibly could.

Until we actually develop a sane immigration policy, that punishes the real criminals -- the employers who use and abuse these underpaid foreign workers -- as well as a foreign policy that helps the people of these nations -- the tired, the poor, the huddled masses, yearning to breathe free, to paraphrase the Statue of Liberty -- instead of bribe their governments and elites, we will continue to have a problem with illegal immigration. Monkeying with the Fourteenth Amendment will do nothing to fix that problem.

And it will cause a host of problems unlooked for by its proponents.

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Richard Girard is a polymath and autodidact whose greatest desire in life is to be his generations' Thomas Paine. He is an FDR Democrat, which probably puts him with U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders in the current political spectrum. His answer to (more...)

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