There are a growing number of states moving forward with legislation that just may cause the latter.
The latest to get on the eligibility bandwagon is Oklahoma. Oklahoma Senate Bill 91 would require presidential primary candidates to prove they are naturalized United States citizens by showing their birth certificates to the election board. On March 14, 2011, the Oklahoma state Senate passed the bill by a 34-10 vote. The bill is now in the Oklahoma state House, where the Rules Committee approved it on April 6 by a vote of 11-0.
The applicable part of SB91 as to presidential candidates reads:
The candidates shall ... be required to provide proof of identity and United States citizenship to the State Election Board. A candidate shall present a current state or federal government-issued photo identification to provide proof of identity, and shall also present one of the following documents to provide proof of United States natural-born citizenship:
1. An original birth document issued by a state, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or the District of Columbia, or a certified copy thereof;
2. An original birth certificate issued by the federal government, or a certified copy thereof;
3. An original United States Certificate of Birth Abroad; or
4. An original Report of Birth Abroad of a Citizen of the United States. Copies of these documents shall be made by the State Election Board and kept available for public inspection pursuant to the Oklahoma Open Records Act.
And so what’s wrong with that? Common sense, right? State Senator Rick Brinkley (R-Owasso), the original author of SB 91, notes: “Last year voters overwhelmingly approved a state constitutional amendment requiring most voters to to show a photo ID at their polling place.” So it makes sense that candidates be held to the same standard, right?
Well, yes, but even a higher standard for such a high office as President of the United States, wouldn’t you think? To serve in the military, this writer was subject to a vigorous (and expensive) background check to insure I was who I claimed to be. It began with my producing a long-form birth certificate. You see, I remember that, since when I first applied all I had was one of those “Certificates of Live Birth,” which had none of the required signatures, and which were too easy to obtain to prove anything about my birth and who I really was. And so the military rejected it and sent me home that day. They told me to write to New York City and get an original. The same thing would be true for anyone who hopes to join the U.S. Armed Forces. But back to the background check: I had to detail an incredible amount of information dating back to my birth. They wanted to know about every move i made, every address I had, and more. Why did I move? What jobs did I hold? Why did I quit? What schools did I attend? Who knew me? Who could vouch for me? They also wanted details about my parents, siblings, affiliations, travel history (including if I ever went to a communist country), etc. And because I was enlisting into a position that would expose me to sensitive security information, investigators actually went back and checked all this. I believe the cost of the investigation back in those days (early 1980′s) was approximately $40,000.
The background investigation still wasn’t complete when I arrived at my first assignment (a year later), and so the unit had to assign me to another office while I waited. Secrets needed to be protected until they could prove who this 23 year old kid was. I understood it then. I still do now.
But if those were the rules for me, the average soldier, what about the requirements for the Commander In Chief? You know: the man who potentially could do the most good or the most harm to our country; the man who has access to all of our nation’s greatest secrets; the man who confers with heads of states (including enemy states) from all over the world; the man who directs our armed forces in war. Shouldn’t the security requirements to know who this man is, to prove who this man is, be equal to, no, far greater than that for the common soldier? Or to put it another way, don’t we believe in equality before the law? And as to men like the President, doesn’t the wise old Biblical law apply: “Where much is given much is required”?
These are good question, fair questions, I think. And I think we need to know the answers. Why should there be so much mystery around something so basic, and yet so vital? And, perhaps, more importantly, why, at this late date, are we still tolerating it?
The Moral Liberal asks the President to do the moral thing, the right thing, the sensible thing, and produce his birth certificate and other missing records.
Steve Farrell is one of the original pundits at Silver Eddy Award Winner, NewsMax.com (1999–2008), the author of the highly praised inspirational novel Dark Rose, and Founder and Editor in Chief of The Moral Liberal.