Barriers to the White House
Re “The naturalized American dream,” Current, Feb. 4
What Richard Tedlow failed to mention is that the president of the United States is the chief formulator of foreign policy. Should we take the risk that our president’s decisions in foreign policy might possibly be influenced by loyalty to his or her country of birth? That this risk is real is evidenced by a story printed in The Times in the fall of 2005 about a naturalized citizen who had been a citizen for more than a decade but was arrested on suspicion of transmitting classified information to the Philippines. Many of your readers may be able to relate to this type of loyalty. I was raised in Ohio. Even though I have lived in California for more than 50 years, I have strong loyalty to my home state. I still consider myself a Buckeye living in California.
Tedlow’s amendment doesn’t work for me. I like the idea of a built-in buffer to holding the most important job on the planet. And what’s the next step? The president could be the legal spouse of a naturalized citizen? What I’d prefer is an IQ amendment. People with an IQ below 120 (or some agreed-upon level of cognitive or intellectual competence) should be barred from the office. That would have clearly ruled out the existing occupant at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
If naturalized citizens are allowed to become president, shouldn’t noncitizens be able to vote? After all, the president has more influence and affects the lives (and future lives) of all the inhabitants of the Earth more than any one person on the planet. Rather than tinker with the rules for a tiny elite that wins the economic lotto that is the American dream, why not talk about the disproportionate effects of the American presidency (and empire) on the very survival of the species?