We conservatives are exemplified by our adherence to principle. We do not make up opinions to suit the moment, but draw on our rich traditions of thought and belief. We are distinguished in particular by the honor we bestow upon the sources of our civilization, the Bible and, for Americans, our Constitution. We take the words of the Bible, and the Constitution, seriously. They mean what our founders, Jesus and his disciples, and America’s Founding Fathers, wrote, not what some liberal theologian or activist judge decides to reinterpret them as.
The other principle that unites us is our recognition of American Exceptionalism. The United States is the most moral nation to inhabit the planet in all of history, and an inspiration to others. Our exceptionalism flows from our founding.
We all deeply admire Ann Coulter as a harbinger of our values. But her recent take on the 14th Amendment is deeply troubling. By deciding to reinterpret the words of the Constitution as embodied in the 14th Amendment to make them more relevant to our illegal immigrant crisis is to do what liberal theologians do to the Bible and activist judges to the Constitution. More than that, the 14th Amendment enhanced American Exceptionalism. While the other nations on the planet throughout history defined citizenship based on who you were born to, America has always said, “But we’re different. We’re exceptional.” Being an American throughout our history, and with a significant assist from the 14th Amendment, down to our day, means something special. Ours was a grand experiment in democracy and republicanism, and if you participated, if you believed, you were American.
The nativist thrust of the illegal immigrant debate leaves a very wrong impression. There was a post going around Facebook recently regarding illegal immigration and how other countries handle it. If you cross the border illegally, in North Korea you get 12 years of hard labor; in Afghanistan you get shot; in Iran, eight years in prison. If you believe America should be less exceptional and more like other countries, feel free to promote the values of North Korea, Afghanistan, and Iran when you go to the polls. But if you believe in American Exceptionalism, think about ‘ius soli’ and what it means. Our ancestors have come to America since its inception with the promise that, no matter their parentage, they could be Americans. The principle of ‘ius soli’ was new when America was founded, but has since inspired other nations. We are, in our exceptionalism, a guiding light to the rest of the world.