While there's been some good discussion on how some Republicans now want to repeal at least part of the 14th Amendment, and how this ties into the Dred Scott decision, right-wingers keep trying to go around that by claiming that they "could not have expected" the law would be "abused" by those of a foreign race. As Tim Wise taught us at Netroots Nation, we cannot ignore the racial aspect of why they're doing this.
And last night, Jon Stewart didn't disappoint. He hit the nail on the head. Video and transcript of Jon's brilliant takedown below the fold.
To expose that right-wing argument as a shoddy lie borne out of willful ignorance or stupidity or deception, as far as I can tell, only Keith Olbermann and Jon Stewart covered how the Senate DID INDEED discuss those of a foreign race using it to gain citizenship. In that time, it was the Yellow Peril, now known as Chinese people.
Remember when the 14th Amendment, you know, the one that guarantees equal protection under the law, as well as citizenship for any person born in the United States? Remember when that was passed, and how heated the issue became? I remember this one episode of Actual Crossfire in 1866...
Senator Edgar Cowan (R-PA) argued that if the amendment passed, California would be "overrun by a flood of Mongols", that Californians would be "immigrated out of house and home by the Chinese", and that "it is utterly and totally impossible to mingle all the various families of men, from the lowest form of Hottentot up to the highest Caucasian, in the same society".
Boy, was that guy wrong. First of all, almost all of the various families of men from 1866 have been successfully mingled, from highest Caucasian, through yellow peril, and black Irish. Freeze your TiVo, you might enjoy this.
And second, as far as California goes, the Chinese have only managed to take control of a small section of San Francisco, and one really beautiful movie theater in Hollywood. Our movie stars never fell for your devious Chinese foot-and-hand cement traps, haha. They removed their extremities before it hardened.
So the worries around the 14th Amendment never came to pass, and yet suddenly, 145 years later...
HARRY SMITH, CBS (8/1/2010): There is a movement afoot to rescind the law that makes anyone born in the United States a citizen, specifically aimed at the children of illegal immigrants.
My God, the Hottentot Mongrel flood is back! Threatening to overwhelm us! What's the issue about it this time?
DYLAN RATIGAN, MSNBC: ...anchor babies...
You mean the hottest show on Nick, Jr., "Anchor Babies"? This is Baby Brian Williams, saying to you and your family, I just made a boom-boom.
Wait a minute, y'all are repealing the 14th Amendment to send a message... to babies?
WENDY MURPHY (7/28/2010): You know, look, I know it's babies, and it's hard to be tough on babies, but let's remember...
OK, wait, I'm going to stop you right there. Here's a sign you shouldn't finish a sentence, when it begins with, "I know it's hard to be tough on babies, BUT..."
The free ride is over, you drooling, diaper-soiling, poor-motor-control-having little shits. Hey moron, object permanence called. Can I get a Piaget? Nothing? I'm sorry, crazy lady, you were saying?
MURPHY: ... it's hard to be tough on babies, but let's remember, we're talking about illegal aliens coming to this country for the purpose of birthing a child, not because they love the kid, because they want that child to provide them with the benefits of U.S. citizenship.
Whose parents are exploiting you for citizenship? Your parents, yes they are!
So, one attorney talking crazy talk. It's not like she's an elected official espousing some radical conspiracy theory.
ERIC BOLLING, FOX BUSINESS NEWS: Your theory is that al-Qaeda will send a pregnant woman over here to have a baby, and then start to train these babies to be terorrists, is that right?
REP. LOUIS GOHMERT (R-TX): Well, Eric, it's not just a theory.
(in Gohmert voice) It's not just a theory. In fact, my doctor says it's a symptom of my syphilitic mind.
The idea that al-Qaeda is planting children here to be raised as sleeper cell terrorists, that... (pause) There is a kid in my son's kindergarten class, Osama Feldstein, who does kinda stand out.
All right, but that's not a normal Congressman. It's Louis Gohmert. He actually believes that hate crime laws lead to necrophilia, and that Senators should be elected by state legislatures, and that the Moon is made of whipped cream which a giant fat man eats every month. I only made up one of those.
[side note: Though he may be a Blue Dog, gotta give props to Rep. Heath Shuler (D-NC) for calling Gohmert a "gutless chickenshit thief" back in 2007 for stealing one of his signs.]
It's not like any of our more rational and respected political figures give this movement any credence.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC) (7/28/2010): Birthright citizenship, I think, is a mistake, that we should change our Constitution, and say if you come here illegally and you have a child, that child's automatically not a citizen. ... They come here to drop a child, it's called "drop and leave".
No, YOU call it "drop and leave". I believe they call it the miraculous birth of their child. And why do politicians always have to give everything a catchy name? Shock and awe, cut and run. I'm against astronauts having sex in space, vote no on "Tang and Bang". No selling Easter candy to pedophiles, you heard me, "No Peeps for Creeps". I have 30 more of these.
So much irrational illegal immigrant hate. I just wish there was a voice of reason out there, someone who could see this issue clearly.
LOU DOBBS (8/2/2010): And the idea that anchor babies require somehow changing the 14th Amendment, I part ways with the Senators on that. ... I have to insist that we recognize those anchor babies as citizens of this country.
Hooooo.... Lou Dobbs thinks your measure is too draconian. Lou Dobbs. Lou Dobbs, who spent the last 15 years of his life trying to get Dora the Explorer deported, thinks you've gone too far! For more, we go live to the Mexican border with our Senior Immigration Correspondent, Jason Jones.
This is where the piece goes from hilarious to fucking brilliant.
STEWART: Jason, welcome to the show. The vast majority of immigrants, illegal and otherwise, are just hard-working people looking to make a better life for themselves and their families, often paying into systems like Social Security, while not receiving any of the benefits. They're frequently a vital part of our nation's economy.
JONES: That's right, Jon. And people are sick and tired of it. It's got to stop! Sucking out our country's valuable resources with their drop and leave Mexican sleeper terror babies.
STEWART: I'm sorry, Jason, I hate to interrupt, OUR country? Not to obviously discount your impassioned stance, but you and Sam are Canadian, and if I'm not mistaken, about to drop your 3rd anchor baby.
JONES: Damn straight! By the way, that shit drops August 10th, son, check it out! P Jones III in the house, it's a trilogy, yo!
STEWART: Yeah, first of all, I don't think you should be the hype man for your children. And second of all, isn't your situation exactly what these critics are complaining about?
JONES: Oh yeah, yeah, it's a giant scheme. Me, fuckin' Rick Moranis, Marty Short, we're all spitting out Canadian terror babies like watermelon seeds, so in 20 years they can overthrow America and make it, I don't know, more polite. Busted! No, no, no, this is completely different.
JONES: We're white! That was the point you were getting at, right?
JONES: Yeah, fuckin' damnit! My offspring will BURY you, Stewart... with kindness and respect! Fear us!!!
That's really it, isn't it? You don't (and won't) see the Republicans direct their anger towards people like Jason Jones. Because he's white. Sometimes, it really is that simple.