By Doug Hagmann Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Sadly, there seems to be more talk about ineligibility on any given Sunday during football season in the U.S. than about one of the most important issues in America today. It’s the issue that still hasn’t gone away, despite the best attempts of politicians, media pundits, and well known talk show hosts from both sides of the political aisle. It’s the issue of the eligibility of Barack Hussein Obama to occupy the highest elected office in the United States.
Many Republicans and conservatives, under the influence of their Kool-Aid induced agendas, have described the eligibility issue as a “distraction” from the real issues. The majority of Democrats and progressives, for obvious reasons, have resorted to associating the issue with race, bigotry and hatred. Together, detractors of this issue from both sides have engaged in the methodical marginalization of the message and mocking those who dare act as the messengers.
What could be more fundamentally important than ensuring that the person at the helm of our country, the Commander-in-Chief of the most powerful military in the world, the holder of the keys to the nation’s nuclear lockbox is indeed constitutionally eligible to hold this office? I see more outrage on Sunday afternoons by grown men living vicariously by dressing up in the jersey of their favorite football player when a receiver is declared ineligible.
Despite rabid and consistently incorrect assertions to the contrary, Barack Hussein Obama has not provided one single item of authenticated evidence to prove that he is a natural born citizen and thusly qualified to be president as defined by Article II, Section I, Clause 5 of the United States Constitution. Not only has he not provided such documentation, he has fought long and hard, and spent what many reliable reports suggest as well over a million dollars against releasing his birth certificate and numerous other documents relevant to his background.
It is not within the scope of this article nor is it my intent to discuss the definition of natural born citizen, the “Vattell Theory,” or other technical matters related to this issue beyond this one fact: Obama could have been born in the middle of the White House lawn at noon on a crowded weekday with John, Jackie and Rose Kennedy serving as witnesses, and with Teddy serving the drinks, but that, by itself, does not make him eligible to hold the office of President of the United States.
While the so-called men in our country are busily fretting over the news that Brett Favre is ending his NFL streak, there is one real man, an American patriot, whose own unblemished record is also coming to an end today. His name is Lt. Col. Terrence “Terry” Lakin, an Army flight surgeon with 18 years of honorable service to our country. His military court martial begins today, and by all accounts, he will be spending the next one to five years in Leavenworth.
In terms of contemporary history, I’d sadly wager that Favre has better name recognition than Lakin. In terms of historical importance, however, I’d wager that the annals of American history will hold a special place of valor, honor and bravery for Lt. Col. Lakin. It will not likely be for the venue he chose, his method and manner of battle, but for the fact that this highly decorated man had the guts to do what countless others haven’t. That is to ensure that as an officer in our military, he was following legal and legitimate orders in accordance with the Constitution of the United States.
I doubt that the start of today’s court martial proceedings of this high ranking military official will receive much, if any, coverage by any of the mainstream talk show hosts regardless of the network. If there is any discussion devoted to the issue, it will likely be limited to the fact that Lt. Col. Lakin disobeyed a direct order and essentially invited his own court martial and paved his own destiny. Perhaps that is the case, or at least the most basic legal element of this case.
Meanwhile, the majority of the mainstream conservative commentators and pundits will continue to ignore Lt. Col. Lakin and the larger eligibility issue or mock those who bring it up, even as they pay lip service to the Constitution of the United States. These media pundits have been issued their “talking points” and a list of topics that are out of bounds. If they wish to continue with their comfortable media careers, they must not stray from the approved script.
Members of the elite conservative bloggers who wish to remain on the “A” list of invitees to network and cable news shows must also conform to the topical standards and avoid devoting any virtual print space to this issue. Whether a co-opted conservative pundit or blogger, or a progressive with an inherent disdain for such inconveniences as the U.S. Constitution and the rule of law, their responses or lack thereof will be similar.
Detractors of the eligibility issue will insist that this case is about a military officer failure to report, or in military parlance, “missing movement” and nothing more. Lt. Col. Lakin failed to obey orders and must be punished, period. This case is about following or failing to follow military orders, nothing more and nothing less.
By that logic, the military guards at Auschwitz and other concentration camps should never have been subjected to trial at Nuremberg or otherwise punished. After all, they were just following orders. As for the detention and extermination of the Jews, well, bringing that up while there was a war going on was a distraction from the real issues of the day.