My second-tier research assistant TNA sends me a link to this story:
Greens co-deputy leader Scott Ludlam has announced he will quit politics today because he is a dual Australian-New Zealand citizen and was ineligible to have ever been elected under the Constitution.
Senator Ludlam said his dual citizenship was brought to his attention last week and it was something he should have checked when he first nominated for preselection in 2006.
He should have checked? Surely somebody else should have checked, no?
This is what I found so odd about the Birther thing with Obama. There are criteria in place for anyone wishing to run for President of the United States, but apparently there is no official body responsible for ensuring the criteria are met. From what I can tell, the setup relies on honesty and a sort of “well, everyone knows” approach. I would have thought Obama and everyone else would have had to demonstrate their eligibility to an electoral office of some sort, who would then confirm or reject the candidate. The situation where questions were raised over Obama’s eligibility, dismissed as racist by his supporters, then halfway through a term he releases a birth certificate which is immediately denounced by sections of the internet as being false is the sort of clusterfuck you’d see in Africa. Which is somewhat ironic, now I think about it.
You don’t need to be a “birther” – and I’m not – to think these questions could have been entirely avoided by having a competent vetting authority in place. It is politicians who pass the laws demanding ordinary citizens produce reams of documents: certified copies, utility bills, passports, etc. every time we are forced to interact with the state in any capacity. But for them? No vetting is required, it seems. Good old-fashioned trust and honesty will suffice, even if it means candidates forgetting they’re half-Kiwi.