Should The Natural Born Clause Be Changed?
Debate Rounds (3)
Yes it is possible to change parts of the original Constitution (the Articles) referring to when the 13th and 14th Amendment freed slaves and gave them more rights, which made parts of the OC unneeded. While the OC did not directly state slaves, it referred to "other persons" and "such persons" in some Articles. I am stating this to support my reasoning for the change of the clause. Yes we can set some strict constitutional requirements in order for one to become president like Congressmen such as a higher number of years in the US, a high number of years of being a US citizen, and so on. Even if this person does still secretly support the country he/she comes from, and helps this country if it is against the interests of the US by committing treason (an act that endangers one's country), there is the checks and balances system. If the President does a crime, Congress (or more specifically the House) may impeach (bring charges against) and the Senate may remove the President from Office. The checks and balances system was created by the Founding Fathers in the Constitutional Convention to keep the government from becoming as destructive as the King of England. Yes they also created the natural born clause to keep the US from having a destructive government like before, which was an interest at the time. But times have changed. Today, America has been built upon immigration. There are some people out there not from this country who can do great things for us, and who can help America become greater. However, just don't let The Terminator from becoming President ;)
While perusing through the unaccepted debate challenges, this one caught my eye. I have often pondered the Natural Born Clause myself. After tossing the issue back in forth in my head I came to the conclusion that the law is valid and is in place for good reason.
As this is bwilkins329's first debate, I would like to take the opportunity to welcome him to DDO. This site can provide all sorts of great discussions and is great practice for someone looking to become a solid debater, or just looking to broaden their mind. I also noted from Pro's profile that he is conservative. I am as well, and I am sure this will make for an easier discussion for both of us.
Pro did not indicate whether the first round was for acceptance or not. To be fair, I will only address what he wrote in the first round and will not introduce any arguments of my own until the later rounds.
First of all, Pro says that it is possible to change parts of the original Constitution. I would take issue with him here. You can't re-write what the original constitution says. As we are both conservative, I believe we would agree to this. If you could change parts of the original document, then what stops us from changing the rest of it? Pro cites the example of the freeing of slaves. In Article 1, Section 2, you will read: "Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers , which shall be determined by adding to the whole number of free persons...."
When the slaves were freed, the original text of the Constitution was not changed. The 13th Amendment simply changed who was defined as free under the law. Originally, non-free persons included both slaves and criminals; after the amendment, there was no more slavery in America; therefore, they were no longer prohibited from receiving constitutional rights. So we see that the example of freeing slaves does not prove that the original Constitution was changed.
Pro goes on to say that even if we have a non-natural-born president who helps his native country by treasonous actions against the United States, Congress can impeach him and he will be removed from office. By making this statement, Pro seems to acknowledge that 1. such an occurence is possible if the natural born clause is repealed, and 2. it would endanger the United States. Are you aware of what kind of damage a treasonous president could do to this country?? On the political battlefield we can sling mud all we want about presidents we try to brand traitors (Bush and Obama especially receive this treatment). But suppose a president actually secretly aligned himself with the military of an enemy nation? As commander-in-chief, he could provide them with information that, should it fall into enemy hands, would cause astounding damage.
Finally, Pro says that the natural-born clause was created to ensure that the U.S. does not have a destructive government. He also says: "But times have changed. Today, America has been built on immigration. There are some people out there not from this country who can do great things for us...." I agree on the note that there are many non-Americans who can indeed be beneficial to America's growth as a nation. But have times really changed? Are all foreigners so strongly pro-American? I believe anyone would agree that there are plenty of crooked people out there who hate the United States and would love nothing more than to see her brought down. This is a clear danger, and ensuring that our president and vice-president are American-born is a strong measure against foreign intrusion. A natural-born citizen would have pledged their allegiance to the U.S. from day one.
I look forward to hearing from bwilkins329 for round 2!
Thank you, Con for joining this debate. I look forward to your response.
Up to this point, Pro hasn't clarified who he is referring to when talking about "such persons" and "other persons" in the Constitution. I would ask him to elaborate.
Pro goes on to say that immigrated citizens would not be elected because of the "ignorance of Americans." This ties into the prime reasons that a non-American-born citizen should not be allowed to be president. It is not ignorance that would prevent them from being elected. Overall, I believe most people would be uncomfortable with the idea of a non-American representing the United States, in addition to an awareness of the security reasons mentioned previously. True, natural born Americans can be treasonous as well, and this may be a real danger. But you must consider what allowing non-American-born people to be president would add to the dangers already at hand. Most American-born people who hate America show their sentiments by outspoken declaration or even acts of violence. Timothy McVeigh, while perhaps not a complete anti-American, would surely have never run for President. In contrast, consider the views of many prominent radical Islamists, who say that America should be destroyed from within (for more on this, check out some of the articles on Daniel Pipes' website).
Pro reiterates his point from round 1- he says that even if a foreign president proves to be a serious threat, we simply use checks and balances to remove the president and change the law back to its original form. He then says that he is aware of the tremendous damage that could be done if this happens. I thank him for acnknowledging this, but I highly question whether the damage would be so "easily resolved." Suppose a president gave away all our most advanced secrets of military technology? You're talking about a nation that now has the ability to attack and cause unthinkable amounts of damage to this country. It would do no good to solve an issue such as this with foreign policy. This may seem like a wild scenario, but it is certainly not an impossible one.
As for the Constitution, Pro agrees it was not changed when the slaves were freed, but he is mistaken when he says that this rendered parts of the constitution unnecessary. The passage I cited earlier (that refers to free persons) is still being used today, only today it only applies to criminals and non-criminals. This shows the incredible foresight of the founding fathers- many of them were strongly anti-slavery. They were obviously aware that slavery would probably be abolished before long, and thus made it legal to do so.
bwilkins369 forfeited this round.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by FourthsCharter 3 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro was incorrect in his original statement that the original constitution was changed. Con did a better job refuting Pro's points, as Con was able to clearly outline the issues with possible treason and used sources to back up what he said. Pro often had statements with no backing such as immigration prominence in the states (a statistic would have been nice). I gave conduct to Con, as Pro forfeited a round.
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