I was representing my chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution at the Constitution Week Fair in Gilbert, Arizona, standing in front of our table inviting people to come learn about the DAR and to sign Christmas cards we will be sending to a U.S. military base overseas. I was wearing red, white, and blue, and explaining to anyone who asked that everyone in our group had an ancestor who either fought in or provided support for the American Revolution. Three men who were passing by were intrigued by what I was saying and they engaged me in a conversation. Eventually, two of the men moved on, but the third stayed to talk about something very important to him, with which he was sure I would agree based on my family’s connection with the birth of this great country.
In short, this man believed that there are many things wrong with our country today because the Constitution is being ignored. He believes our current president is to blame for many of the bad choices being made in this country, and that Barak Obama shouldn’t even be president because he is not a “natural born citizen” as required by Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution. I was prepared for another accusation regarding missing birth certificates but was surprised with a different argument instead. According to the man speaking with me, “natural born citizen” had a very specific meaning in the minds of the framers of the Constitution. It meant – according to my source – a person born in the United States to two United States citizens. The framers didn’t spell it out more clearly because to them it was the obvious interpretation of the phrase “natural born citizen.”
Since I had never heard this claim before (even though I took Constitutional Law in law school, have taught Constitutional Law at a community college, and have read numerous books on the Constitution), I didn’t have much I could say in response. When asked directly by the man if I agreed with this interpretation, I had to say no. I came up with a few legal arguments to support my “no” but none of them swayed the man. He declared he was very disappointed that someone with my “background” would not support the clear meaning of the Constitution. If “people like me” would not stand up and require our government to follow the Constitution our country was going to get even worse.
I was saved from continuing the conversation by the end of the Fair and our need to pack up our supplies and head home, but I couldn’t stop thinking about this most interesting conversation. It reminded me of the first time I released my book One Nation Under God which I am getting ready to update and release again. I realized then that my views on American history and politics were different than most people I know. Sometimes when I explain my views in detail, people will nod their heads and say, “You’re right, I never thought about it that way.” Other people shake their heads at me in complete disagreement with my views. The accusation that “people like me” will ruin this country will probably be repeated in the future if I dare to share my ideas again.
But I am going to share my ideas. It’s a free country, after all. I think I have something important to say, and I’m going to say it. In writing One Nation Under God, my intent was not to tell people what to think, but to give them something to think about. That will be my intent in this blog as well. I hope people will be brave enough to read the blog and make up their own minds about the very difficult and complex issues we face in America today. Tomorrow, I’ll write about my opinion on the “strict interpretation” of the Constitution. I hope you’ll come back and read it.