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STRICT DECONSTRUCTIONALISM

In your August 11 editorial on the 14th Amendment [Goodbye 14th Amendment?”], you write that “red-clad politicians,” Senators Kyl and Graham, are questioning “the wisdom of the US Constitution.” But your portrayal of the matter distorts the position held by those who oppose birthright citizenship for illegals. The problem is not the 14th Amendment, but the manner in which it is interpreted and applied.

Contrary to your assertion, there is no serious discussion of repealing “this cornerstone of our modern democracy.” We routinely debate the meaning of both the First and Second Amendments, despite the fact that the founders’ intentions are clear to most of us. Discussing how these measures apply to modern citizens is not the equivalent of calling for their repeal.

The 14th Amendment, like the First and Second, can be and has been distorted. Your writers concede the point: “It is possible,” they speculate, “that the law was not intended to cover the children of illegal immigrants.” It is not only possible, but nearly certain. Your editorial observes that the 14th bestows citizenship upon “all persons born or naturalized” in the US, but it neglects to mention the critical phrase that follows: “…and subject to the jurisdiction thereof.” Former slaves were subject to the jurisdiction of the US, and they, by design, were the beneficiaries of the citizenship clause. Whether “undocumented workers” fall under the jurisdiction of the U.S. is far from certain.

There is nothing radical about questioning the wisdom of providing constitutional protections to non-citizens who have demonstrated contempt for American law. Quite the contrary: The true extremists are those who condone criminal behavior and the distortion of our founding documents for perceived political gain.

Charles Davenport, Greensboro

LEAKAGE

Thumbs down on ”Fix my Damn Leaking Roof” [by Brian Clarey; Aug. 4, 2010]. The story seemed to be going for a NYT Magazine piece, but ended up more like something from the Onion. I would have titled it ”Obsessive man pissed at HOA for a decade.” I’m not really sure how this was relevant to anyone in the Triad.

Jamie Stroble, Greensboro

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