Citizenship and allegiance

Dr. Conspiracy

Dr. Conspiracy

I have read a great deal about citizenship in the past months, a multitude of viewpoints modern and historical. One theme, which supports what I learned in high school civics, is that citizenship is both a right and a privilege.

Citizenship relates the individual to the society. Membership in society can be granted at the time of birth, or conferred later, but in either case it carries certain responsibilities, including defending the country in time of war, becoming an informed participant in political discourse and voting. It includes respect for and adherence to the laws of the country, and respect for its institutions; and when one cannot respect those laws and institutions, to work lawfully and peacefully for change.

In my mind, the American commitment to the rule of law is the reason we have enjoyed such a great degree of political stability. We bind ourselves, as citizens, with a commitment to the society and its laws–even when our personal preferences may pull us in other directions. We pledge allegiance not only to the flag but “to the republic for which it stands.”

Now come the birthers. They shirk their civic responsibility. First they shirk their responsibility to be informed citizens, by lazily soaking up and repeating rumors that sound friendly to their ears, but a moment’s critical thinking or research would prove false. Second, they disrespect all of the government: the legislative (“gutless”), the executive (“usurper”) and judicial (“traitor”) branches for no other reason than that their rumor-fueled views and frivolous lawsuits are not well received. Third, they usurp the legitimate prerogative of government when they attempt to create a shadow government consisting of “citizen grand juries,” citizen “attorney generals,” “people’s prosecutors” and citizen quo warranto lawsuits. Rather than defend their country, they try to shirk military duty by blaming the President. That is said without even considering the more extreme fringe threats of violence and calls for the military to disobey orders.

While birthers are free under the law to express whatever views they wish, to do so irresponsibly is not good citizenship. For those who put themselves forward as leaders, and those who are officers of the court, to spread disinformation is an offense against citizenship. Birthers try to take short cuts; unwilling to work for lawful change through legislation or Constitutional amendment, they want to storm the White House, they want the courts to flout Constitutional bounds, they want the Congress to impeach for “distasteful behavior”; they want the military to take over and generally they want it to be their way, whatever the consequences to democracy. They violate law when they literally wrap themselves in American flags, embracing the symbol while trampling the republic underfoot.

So I ask the question, who is it that demonstrates allegiance to the United States, and who are its good natural born citizens? Not the birthers, for sure.

About Dr. Conspiracy

I'm not a real doctor, but I have a master's degree.
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45 Responses to Citizenship and allegiance

  1. Slartibartfast says:

    I’m so tired of people wrapping themselves in the flag and then trashing the republic, while wringing their hands about how they only care about the constitution. How interesting that this love of constitution only asserts itself when they see it as supporting their cause (and that they seem to spend a lot of time cherry picking quotes and not so much understanding the context of the issues they’re ranting about…).

  2. G says:

    Well said, Dr. Conspiracy, well said!

  3. misha says:

    Where were all of these people during the 8 years of Bush, Cheney, and Gonzalez?

  4. Bob says:

    Transcript from the latest Barnett v. Obama hearing.

  5. SFJeff says:

    “Bush, Cheney, and Gonzalez?”

    None of them committed treason by being the son of a Kenyan or being given a Muslim name. True Patriots understand the difference.

  6. misha says:

    You’re right. Please forgive me for being so obtuse.

    Obama and Keith Ellison should prove they are patriotic Amercuns.

    Glenn Beck is right.

  7. Slartibartfast says:

    No, they committed war crimes in violation of US and international law, that’s all…

  8. Thanks! Main article now up.

  9. jvn says:

    These people are a sad, pathetic bunch. Some are trying to make a buck any way they can, and others (like Leo Donfrio) just love the adoration.

    There may be some who are really gullible enough to believe this BS… What a world we live in, huh?

  10. Slartibartfast says:

    I think Orly truly believes everything she says – I can’t imagine how anyone could behave like her if it was just an act…

  11. Mary Brown says:

    She also is the center of all that is good and patriotic. Orly believes in what she says but also in the myth of Orly the Great.

  12. richCares says:

    at a recent political meeting I sat down with a group of people and as we talked I found 2 more Marines (I am one), 16 Navy and 4 Army. All of us were proud of our service. A small group at the other end were noisy and claiming they were patriots and that many of us were traitors. 3 of us went to them and asked for their service, what were they in. I explained how many of us were veterans that proudly served our country. Not a one of them served, I said “you guys are full of BS those people over there are the real patriots” then we walked away from them. I am sure you will find this a common response. Dealing with these idiot “patriots” gets tiresome.

  13. It’s hard for me to put myself in the place of someone who grew up Jewish in the Soviet Union. That has to give one a very different view of government.

  14. Lupin says:

    People who said nothing when the Bush administration had British citizen Binyam Mohamed’s genitals sliced with a scalpel by CIA agents, and then tried to cover it up, have lost the right to make any kind of constitutional argument whatsoever.

    That goes for you, Meretricious Mario.

  15. Mario Apuzzo says:

    Dr. Conspiracy,

    As I read your new post, from the first words to your paragraph,
    “Now come the birther. . .,” I thought you had seen the sins of your ways and was joining the Birthers. Then as I read on I realized that I was wrong.

  16. My mind would only be changed by solid evidence. Have some?

  17. Margie says:

    It is a shame we have so much ignorance to who is a natural born citizen. Those born in a country to citizen parents. As a society cannot exist and perpetuate itself otherwise than by the children of citizens… The law of Nations was used when drafting the Constitution. The intent was to keep out foreign influence. The Logan Law.. campaigning for others in foreign government, was a law broke when as a Senator he was there camapigning for his cousin. Can Bin Laden have a baby with an American woman, and their child become a Commander in Chief?

  18. Bob says:

    It is a shame we have so much ignorance to who is a natural born citizen.

    Oh, the irony.

    Those born in a country to citizen parents.

    There no case that says that.

    The law of Nations was used when drafting the Constitution.

    Even if true, not the natural born citizenship clause.

    The intent was to keep out foreign influence.

    How is Obama foreignly influenced?

    The Logan Law.. campaigning for others in foreign government, was a law broke when as a Senator he was there camapigning for his cousin.

    Except he didn’t campaign.

    Can Bin Laden have a baby with an American woman, and their child become a Commander in Chief?

    Yes; who would vote for such a child?

  19. Margie says:

    You are totally wrong. I know what I was taught in school. His Father was not an American Citizen.. He is not a natural Born American Citizen.

  20. Bob says:

    I know what I was taught in school.

    So what you were taught in school is binding American law?

  21. SFJeff says:

    Wow Margie- so much wrong in one paragraph- how do you do it?

    “It is a shame we have so much ignorance to who is a natural born citizen.”

    Irony anyone?

    “Those born in a country to citizen parents.”

    “The law of Nations was used when drafting the Constitution.”

    Exactly which “Law of Nations” was this? And is it mentioned in the Constitution?

    “As a society cannot exist and perpetuate itself otherwise than by the children of citizens…”

    As a society, the U.S. has existed and perpetuated itself quite fine with children of non-citizens- as a matter of fact, the real Lady Liberty calls for them to come here.

    Except the majority of voters in the last Presidential election disagreed with you, as did Congress. Guess we are all ignorant, but you are of course enlightened. Tell me where your definition of NBC is in the Constitution?

    “Can Bin Laden have a baby with an American woman, and their child become a Commander in Chief?”

    Yes- and that is the beauty of our system. A child is not legally given a mark of shame because his father is/was an enemy of the United States. A native born son- even that of Hitler or Stalin or Rush Limbaugh- is as entitled as any other native born son to qualify for and run for the Presidents office.

    Just all wrong Margie.

  22. SFJeff says:

    Actually Margie, I was taught in school that anyone born in the United States in a natural born citizen.

    Show me a textbook that agrees with you? I found several that agreed with the majority of American voters.

  23. SFJeff: Wow Margie- so much wrong in one paragraph- how do you do it?

    I think she copied from somebody else’s paper.

  24. What text book did you use? Did you keep a copy? Could you quote the relevant section?

  25. SFJeff says:

    Doc, if you are asking me, I posted a couple months ago the research I found of textbooks with references to NBC. My 5th graders book unfortunately doesn’t mention Presidential requirements- I think that is covered in 7th or 8th grade.

  26. Mario Apuzzo says:


    You say no one would vote for such a child. But are you not assuming that the voters would know enough about the candidate not to vote for him?

  27. Bob says:

    This kind of argument didn’t convince the court in Wong Kim Ark, and it certainly hasn’t ripened with age. (And the Wong Kim Ark court lived in an era where everything wasn’t texted, tweeted, and blogged.)

  28. nbc says:

    Well, some voted for GW so I guess you have a point but in general, your hypothetical scenario has little relevance. You really should stop watching them movies Mario, they are not really real.

    You seem to be willing to deny natural born status to many just because of some far fetched possibility.
    I have heard such arguments before… A slippery slope indeed.

  29. strikefighter says:

    Mario Apuzzo: Bob,
    You say no one would vote for such a child.But are you not assuming that the voters would know enough about the candidate not to vote for him?

    In this day an age, we know when anyone in the public eye has a bowel movement, so I think it would come out pretty damn quick that the child was the offspring of Bin Laden. And, your argument seems to neglect the fact that it is virtually impossible for an average citizen without public office experience to become President. Anyone now who as aspirations for a federal office will have had some experience at the lower levels. So, before this child of Bin laden could become President, they would probably have to be either a member of Congress or a state Governor, before that a state legislator, before that a local official. This, again, would require a conspiracy over the course of years, if not a decade or three, negating its probability. Seriously, try again. But this time, think a little harder.

  30. Greg says:

    As the winners in Wong Kim Ark argued:

    “If a modern Confuscious or a greater than Li Hung Change should be born upon our soil, and the people of the United States should be of the opinion that he was the best person in this country for their president, it is not plain where, if he were elected, the disgrace would lie; but, if there were any, it would seem to fall, not on the Chinese race, but on the white citizens of the United States, who selected a Chinaman as the highest officer of their government.”

  31. Mario Apuzzo says:

    Wong Kim Ark also told us what a “citizen of the United States” is and what a “natural born Citizen” is.

    Get your tumbs ready if they are not occupying any spaces.

  32. Mario Apuzzo says:

    What are you taking about?

  33. dunstvangeet says:

    In fact, there has only been four President that did not hold either a major Federal Office (Congress, Cabinent, Vice President), or a State Governorship before being elected President. Those four Presidents had long careers in the Military. Those four Presidents are George Washington, Zachery Taylor, Ulysseus S. Grant, and Dwight D. Eisenhower

    George Washington – Military Career
    John Adams – Vice President
    Thomas Jefferson – Secretary of State, Vice President
    James Madison – U.S. Representative (VA-01, VA-05), Secretary of State
    James Monroe – Senator (VA), Governor (VA), Secretary of War, Secretary of State
    John Quincy Adams – Secretary of State, Senator (MA)
    Andrew Jackson – Senator (TN), Representative (TN-AL)
    Martin Van Buren – Senator (NY), Governor (NY), Secretary of State, Vice President
    William Henry Harrison – Representative (OH-01), Senator (OH)
    John Tyler – Representative (VA-23), Senator (VA), President Pro Tempore, Governor (VA), Vice President
    James K. Polk – Representative (TN-09, TN-06), Governor (TN), Speaker
    Zachary Taylor – Military Career
    Millard Fillmore – Representative (NY-32), Vice President
    Franklin Pierce – Representative (NH-AL), Senator (NH)
    James Buchanan – Representative (PA-04, PA-03), Senator (PA), Secretary of State
    Abraham Lincoln – Representative (IL-07)
    Andrew Johnson – Representative (TN-01), Governor (TN), Senator (TN), Vice President
    Ulysses S. Grant – Military Career
    Rutherford B. Hayes – Representative (OH-02), Governor (OH)
    James A. Garfield – Representative (OH-19)
    Chester A. Arthur – Vice President
    Grover Cleveland – Governor (NY)
    Benjamin Harrison – Senator
    William McKinley – Governor (OH)
    Theodore Roosevelt – Governor (NY), Vice President
    William Howard Taft – Secretary of War
    Woodrow Wilson – Governor (NJ)
    Warren G. Harding – Senator (OH)
    Calvin Coolidge – Governor (MA)
    Herbert Hoover – Secretary of Commerce
    Franklin D. Roosevelt – Governor (NY)
    Harry S. Truman – Senator (MO), Vice President
    Dwight D. Eisenhower – Military Career
    John F. Kennedy – Representative (MA-11), Senator (MA)
    Lyndon B. Johnson – Representative (TX-10), Senator (TX), Democratic Senate Leader, Vice President
    Richard Nixon – Representative (CA-12), Senator (CA), Vice President
    Gerald R. Ford – Representative (MI-05), Republican House Leader, Vice President
    Jimmy Carter – Governor (GA)
    Ronald Reagan – Governor (CA)
    George H.W. Bush – Representative (TX-07), Vice President
    Bill Clinton – Governor (AR)
    George W. Bush – Governor (TX)
    Barack Obama – Senator (IL)

  34. dunstvangeet says:

    Finally, you’re starting to get it. Wong did tell us what a Natural Born Citizen of the United States is.

    “all persons born in the allegiance of the United States are natural-born citizens.”

    It goes on to explain exactly what allegiance of the United States means.

  35. Mario Apuzzo says:

    We are not arguing the same thing. If the voters elect a eligible person for President who ever that person is, so be it. But at the same time, that person cannot hide from the voters who he is and the political institutions allow him to get away with it to the detriment of the people.

  36. Mario Apuzzo says:


    You are the one that has to think a little harder, my friend. Someone can hold all the political jobs in the world. It does not change his birth status.

  37. Mario Apuzzo says:

    So what. None of that changes any one’s birth status.

  38. nbc says:

    Denying people their constitutional rights because of the possibility of what some consider to be distasteful consequence.

  39. nbc says:

    Another hypothetical scenario I notice. Furthermore, I am not aware of any laws that state that a person cannot hide from voters who he is, and furthermore, this assumes the very hypothetical situation that political institutions ‘let him get away with it’. Furthermore, the Constitution is clear that once found qualified and sworn in, the fate of a President does not rely on the whims of some poor losers. The founding fathers correctly limited such powers to avoid exactly what is happening now, a situation where voters, who have lost at the polls are using their dissatisfaction, combined with some shaky arguments, to have a duly elected president removed.
    You are surely again, making an argument based more on your personal sentiments than logic, the law or the Constitution.
    Surely the Constitution must have some relevance don’t you think and cannot just be ignored then it comes to standing and justiciability just because someone claims, without much convincing evidence, that somehow the Constitution may have been violated.
    Such a position would doom our Constitution and our political system

  40. nbc says:

    Now you are not sounding very logical, you were arguing a very hypothetical though possible situation to argue that therefor the Constitution should be reinterpreted in many areas to satisfy the fears of a few.
    Sure, the Constitution allows for a child born to foreign parents to become our President, and for good reasons. That this may have some possible though not very plausible consequences is something that is well outweighed by what it enables.

  41. nbc says:

    It surely did and its ruling does not give much support to your position.
    Is that not a bummer..

  42. Expelliarmus says:

    Obviously you don’t have a background or understanding of election law.

    A candidate who fulfills whatever requisites there are for getting on the ballot is legally presumed to be eligible. Someone who is elected to office and installed similarly is presumed to be eligible.

    You can’t overcome a presumption by raising a question — you need evidence.

    It isn’t the candidate’s responsibility to come forward with evidence to bolster a presumption that already lies in his favor — rather, it is the burden of those who contest his eligibility to come forward with the evidence that overcomes the presumption.

    You can blow all the smoke you want, but you still cannot prove that Obama was born anywhere other than Hawaii. And you’ve got the burden of proof in any hypothetical legal proceeding.

  43. Greg says:

    Obama wrote an autobiography about his Kenyan father. It was on the New York Times Best Sellers list. He spoke of his Kenyan father in his 2004 DNC speech.

    Your argument is that this one fact disqualifies Obama.

    This fact which you claim disqualifies Obama was anything but hidden, it was part of his narrative. It was part of his selling point!

    Could the future child of bin Laden hide his parentage? Sure, but he could also hide his college-age DUI conviction. He could hide his affairs. But, like his affairs or DUI conviction, hiding his parent’s identity/citizenship seems like it would have no impact on his eligibility. Because, again, Obama didn’t hide his father’s nationality – and the voters disagreed with its disqualifying nature!

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