Rebirthing Birtherism

I had a relative who tried every new age fad. One of the weirdest fads was rebirthing: the notion that if you regress to the womb, you will achieve enlightenment. Yeah, right. Whatever.

There’s a form of political rebirtherism abroad in the land. This time it comes not from gullible new age flakes but cynical “conservatives.” I put that word in quotes for a specific reason: ain’t nothing conservative about Trump era conservatism. Conservatism is supposed to preserve the best of the past instead of wrecking the present.

The people floating the racist “Kamala Harris is not a citizen” canard are not conservatives, they’re radicals out to deny and destroy the plain language of Section 1 of the 14th Amendment:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

All persons means all persons, not just white Trump voters. One thing that the MSM has largely ignored in its stories about reborn birtherism is that John Eastman, who wrote the specious Newsweek article cited by the Impeached Insult Comedian, ran for California Attorney General in 2010. He finished second in the GOP primary in a race that was won by Kamala Harris in a general election squeaker. That makes this racist attack on Senator Harris a combination of sour grapes and right-wing ideology; a toxic blend if ever there was one.

I’ve read Eastman’s piece but I’m not linking to it because it’s what Sherlock Holmes would have called a tissue of lies. Instead, read Mark Joseph Stern’s brilliant piece in Slate. He ably disembowels Eastman’s tawdry theory so I don’t have to. Stern points out the links between this witless and baseless white supremacist theory to the Federalist Society and the Claremont Institute:

Why, then, do outlets like Newsweek and the Washington Post keep publishing articles that promote this lie? A coterie of racists based at the Claremont Institute hope that if they repeat it enough, they can leave the door open for a mass expatriation of second-generation Americans, most of them minorities. Indeed, there are few if any supporters of this falsehood who lack connections to the Claremont Institute. Eastman is a senior fellow at Claremont and the founding director of its Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence. Josh Hammer, the Newsweek editor who commissioned the piece, is a former fellow at the institute. Michael Anton, who manipulated the text of a quote from the Senate debate over the 14th Amendment in a Washington Post op-ed to make this lie seem more credible, is a senior fellow there.

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The Claremont Institute masquerades as an intellectual salon of the right, but it is really just a racist fever swamp with deep connections to the conspiratorial alt-right. It even granted a fellowship to Jack Posobiec, who helped promote the notorious Pizzagate conspiracy theory. Claremont’s resident bigots offer deranged fantasies of violently expelling Americans from their home country because of their ethnic backgrounds. Their work deserves the intellectual weight given to that of David Duke and his Nazi-loving fellow travelers.

The principle of Birthright Citizenship was upheld by the same Supreme Court that validated Jim Crow in Plessy v. Ferguson. Children of immigrants who are born in America are Americans. Period. Case closed.

I remember when Newsweek was a vital and respected news outlet instead of a source of racist Trumper disinformation. I subscribed to it for decades. Unlike its rival Time Magazine, it stopped being vital quite some time ago. Newsweek alum Jonathan Alter sums it up perfectly:

Finally, I have a new featured image as well as a new blog category: The Legal Docket. I like having featured images for my posts and I’m donning my lapsed lawyer hat so much that it was time to do this. The inaugural image is of Clarence Darrow and William Jennings Bryan at the Scopes Monkey Trial. Film buffs will note what a good job Bud Westmore did of making Fredric March look like Bryan in the original Inherit The Wind.

I originally planned to write a more Newsweek focused post and use the song below for the post title. I believe in recycling so Jethro Tull gets the last word:

One thought on “Rebirthing Birtherism

  1. Michael D Storey says:

    This denying the existence of Black persons isn’t new. The compromise that deemed them 3/5’s of a person was another attempt. Red lining was another. Or should I say is another, as red lining is still very much a part of the mortgage terrain of this great and ungrateful nation of ours. Both My President and Ms Harris are asked to verify their existence. Do you think that it will be over then? She will be accused of presenting fraudulent documents. You can feel it coming.

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