I’m sure you’ve heard by now about Michele Bachmann and her family getting citizenship in Switzerland. This is because Marcus’ parents are from there and that makes them all eligible for Swiss citizenship, something they applied for in February. And I’m perfectly fine with that. In fact, I think it’s kinda cool. If I had the opportunity to do the same thing, I would do it without hesitation. But for Michele and her constituents, it’s apparently a big problem.
Two days after a Swiss TV news crew broke the story that Bachmann sought in February to have her Swiss citizenship registered by Swiss authorities, Bachmann issued the following statement:
“Today I sent a letter to the Swiss Consulate requesting withdrawal of my dual Swiss citizenship, which was conferred upon me by operation of Swiss law when I married my husband in 1978.”
“I took this action because I want to make it perfectly clear: I was born in America and I am a proud American citizen. I am, and always have been, 100 percent committed to our United States Constitution and the United States of America. As the daughter of an Air Force veteran, stepdaughter of an Army veteran and sister of a Navy veteran, I am proud of my allegiance to the greatest nation the world has ever known.”
Her opponent is not making an issue out of it, and that’s good. The criticism of this is going to come primarily from the right, not the left, but she’s going to blame it on the left anyway:
I just got off the phone with Representative Bachmann, and her perplexity and frustration were palpable. She said that the Left and the media (I repeat myself) are all over this story partly because her vigorous advocacy for Governor Romney undermines the president’s “war on women” story line regarding Republicans.
Now that’s just funny. First of all, her advocacy of Romney is anything but “vigorous.” She looks like a hostage telling her family that she’s okay on a videotape when appearing with him. This is, after all, the man she savaged as practically a Marxist Muslim during the primary. And the notion that Bachmann, of all people, is evidence against the war on women is simply absurd; she loudly supports every element of the legislative onslaught against womens’ rights being unleashed by the Republican party.
But more importantly, if the left is going to go after this it’s not because they think there’s anything wrong with having duel citizenship — there isn’t — but because Bachmann and people like her are the only ones who do think there’s something wrong with it, which is why she’s struggling to explain it to them:
But on the substance of the issue, it was clear she saw this as just a matter of her kids’ heritage through their father: “It’s a pride-in-the-family thing,” she said. One of her sons had spent time with relatives in Switzerland and heard about the opportunity for acquiring Swiss citizenship and thought it would be “cool” to pursue it. Part of the application with Swiss consular authorities in the U.S. required the parents’ signatures — Bachmann described it as merely “updating” an existing status. As she put it, one of her staff said, “Here’s the paperwork, sign this”, and she figured it wasn’t anything new so she signed it.
I can see how she could have stumbled into this, but I’m afraid this doesn’t change anything. Passive dual citizenship is out of your control and a matter of no consequence in itself. Switzerland may well have considered her to have become a dual citizen upon her marriage (though this FAQ from the Swiss government suggests there’s nothing automatic about it now). But signing a document acknowledging the status conferred on you by another is an affirmative act, however innocent it may have seemed at the time. (If one of my kids came to me asking I sign some Armenian government form enabling them to register as a dual citizen, my answer would have been “are you crazy?”)
The author of that National Review article cited above, Mark Krikorian, was one of the first conservative to blast her on the issue. But of course, he stills blames it on the left:
It’s not that they’re giving up American citizenship and moving to Switzerland, which is their right, if the Swiss permit it — rather, they’re acquiring dual citizenship. This is outrageous and she needs to hear about it…
But one’s chief political allegiance is expressed through citizenship, through being a member of We the People — and claiming membership in two national communities is like belonging to two different religions, which means neither is accorded the respect due it.
Switzerland’s a fine country. It’s “shoot twice and go home” attitude and the fact that even the Nazis were reluctant to screw with them speak highly of the national character. I encourage the Swiss to visit our country and encourage Americans to reciprocate. But it’s still a foreign country. If you like the place so much that you want to plight it your troth, then ask them if they’ll let you move there. But if you’re not going to join with them as a permanent member of their national community, destined to share in both their triumphs and their struggles, then don’t pretend to be Swiss — it’s an insult to both countries…
As John Fonte has written, “Dual allegiance is incompatible with the moral basis of American constitutional democracy.” The fact that even a patriot like Bachmann would do something like this is testament to how thoroughly the moral relativism of the post-national Left has permeated our culture.
Isn’t that amazing? Even when one of the most anti-liberal politicians in the country does something her compatriots don’t like, it’s the fault of liberals! Other right wingers joined in the lynch mob:
“Dual Citizenship Is Treason,” blared a headline at the Daily Paul, a website “inspired by” Ron Paul.
“I am against dual citizenship of any kind. When you benefit from the blood spilled by patriots in the past, the least which can be requested of you is undivided allegiance. The United States is not like any other country… For most of the country’s history, dual citizenship was considered the equivalent of political bigamy,” wrote a blogger there.
“Just when you think it’s safe to vote for a Republican, along comes Michele Bachmann… with what should be a career-ending piece of news, at least on the national level,” remarked Michael Walsh at National Review’s The Corner. “Good grief.”
“How she thinks that she can sit in the US Congress of the United States after swearing allegiance to the country of Switzerland is beyond my comprehension,” wrote conservative blogger Lori Stacy on Examiner.com. “Michele Bachmann needs to step down immediately and apologize profusely to all of our citizens and especially the residents of her district in Minnesota for carrying on this egregious offense of representing them since March 19th after becoming a citizen of a different country.”
How amusing. Here’s how someone who isn’t xenophobic would respond to this nonsense:
“Yes, we applied for dual citizenship. We think it’s great for our kids to share the heritage of their grandparents and dual citizenship opens up many opportunities to them both culturally and legally. Switzerland is a longstanding ally of the United States and one of the world’s great nations. We are proud to be legal citizens of both nations, but more importantly we are citizens of the world.”
But you can’t do that on the right, where xenophobes run the place.
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