>Track and Field’s Birther Movement

>In the endless (and mindless) “birther movement” of nutjobs who aren’t yet convinced that President Obama was born in the United States, we have now gotten to the point where a Tennessee state senator introduced “a bill that would require presidential candidates to present a long-form birth certificate in order to qualify for the ballot.” From a local radio interview:

Host: What are the specific requirements in the bill?

Sen. Mae Beavers: That they have to have the long form birth certificate.

Host: What is the long form birth certificate?

Sen. Mae Beavers: Now, you’re asking me to get into a lot of things that I haven’t really looked into yet.

Wants a requirement for a “long form birth certificate”, but has no idea what it is. All the proof you need that it’s politics, not policy.

XC Nation founder Aron Taylor has unwittingly waded into a similar morass with his latest post, Protecting the American HS Records.

On 13 March 2011, 17-year-old Edward Cheserek, a Kenyan citizen, finished second at the New Balance Indoor National Championships running 8:42.66 to surpass Rudy Chapa of Hammond high’s 1974 sophomore class record of 8:55.80. (Chapa was barely 16 when he set the record) Cheserek is enrolled as a sophomore at St. Benedict’s Prep in Newark, New Jersey. Cheserek has been living in the United States for 8-months after being found in the Marakwet, Rift Valley, Kenya and sponsored to the United States. Cheserek will complete his high school career prior to attaining US citizenship.

In 1974 an American citizen ran 8:55.80 to establish the American High School Indoor Two-mile sophomore record. His name was Rudy Chapa and he hailed from Hammond, Indiana. A record which has stood the test of time much the same way Gerry Lindgren’s 8:40.00 has stood as a benchmark to the American Prep Distance Runner.

As a self-proclaimed guardian to the spirit of the sport of prep and national running I am petitioning a review of the record set today by 17-year-old sophomore Edward Cheserek at the New Balance Indoor National Championships.

Edward Cheserek is NOT an American citizen. He can not represent this country for more than two years. If an athlete, no matter how great can set an American HS Record and have it recognized while they aren’t even a citizen of this nation then what point are having records?

I’ll (momentarily) leave aside that last rhetorical question, and explain a few things.

The official national high school records in track and field, and in any other sport for that matter, are maintained by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS). Their standards for accepting records do not include the nationality of the athlete. The athletes must be representing a school which is a member of a state federation, and in a meet sanctioned by a state federation or the NFHS itself.

The NFHS will not accept Cheserek’s record from this weekend. Not in any way, shape or form. Is it because Cheserek is not a US citizen? Nope. It’s because NFHS does not recognize separate records for freshmen, sophomores or juniors. And if they did, they still wouldn’t recognize Cheserek’s record because they don’t recognize indoor track.

For that last reason, Lukas Verzbicas’ indoor 5000 meter record set at the same meet will also not stand as an NFHS record. Should he break it outdoors, it still won’t be recognized. Not because Verzbicas was, until recently, not an American citizen. It’s because he doesn’t compete for his high school team, and therefore none of his marks are even recognized by the IHSA as Illinois records.

In fact, the NFHS rules for record keeping are so restrictive that, in track and field at least, hardly anyone pays attention to them. For example, their official 1600 meter (not mile) record is not the 3:53.43 that Alan Webb ran in the 2001 Prefontaine Classic, but the 3:59.51 he ran at the Arcadia Prep Invitational that same year.

Track and Field News is the guardian of the unofficial yet universally-accepted national high school records. Their record committee keeps indoor records as well as outdoor ones, as well as separate records for freshmen, sophomores and juniors. They are the ones Taylor has to petition.

And he might as well petition monkeys to fly out of his butt, because they don’t care about nationality of the athlete. Never have and never will. The only thing that matters to them is where the school they attend is located: within the 50 states and DC, or not. They’re not going to track down citizenship or birth certificates, be they short form or long.

See, when I ran in high school, I occasionally had to run against immigrants and foreign-exchange students. Some of them I beat, some of them beat me. (I once ran against Kip Keino’s son, and I think you can guess which category he fell into.) Never once did it occur to me to pretend that they weren’t in the race because their citizenship was different than my own.

I appreciate what Taylor is saying, that Cheserek is significantly older than most sophomores, and has other advantages as well. It’s commonly assumed that being Kenyan is one of them, but it should be noted that record-breaker Verzbicas is a Lithuanian immigrant. This is not a coincidence. American culture is poisonous to distance running. I’ve got a million ways to illustrate this, but none are really necessary.

If you want to improve American distance running, as Taylor passionately does, it is only counterproductive to separate American kids from immigrants. Your best hope is to surround American kids with immigrants. It might put them at a disadvantage in the short term, but distance runners aren’t supposed to worry about the short term.

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3 Responses to >Track and Field’s Birther Movement

  1. Spaulding says:

    >Superfan writes knowledgeably on track and field, but hasn't read enough about our Constitution to understand what is going on in about seventeen states with eligibility verification.

    Forget, for the moment, that the Tennessee bill is misformed, and misinformed. Our framers wrote the qualifications for President following legal practice used by Greek and Roman governments. They also intentionally wrote the document using words in common use at the time – common law – because, as Madison explained, the meanings of words changes; if the Constitution weren't interpreted as understood and voted on by our framers it would shortly be meaninglis.

    Chief Justice Morrison Waite provided just one of dozens of clarifications, all equivalent, in his 1874 case Minor v. Happersett:

    "The Constitution does not, in words, say who shall be natural-born citizens. Resort must be had elsewhere to ascertain that. At common-law, with the nomenclature of which the framers of the Constitution were familiar, it was never doubted that all children born in a country of parents who were its citizens became themselves, upon their birth, citizens also. These were natives, or natural-born citizens, as distinguished from aliens or foreigners."

    Key are – "at common-law" – "it was never doubted" – "born in a country of parents who were its citizens." Most of the states are trying to avoid the constitutional crisis of an unconstitutional man acting as president because neither party vetted Obama. They did vet McCain and never legally found him eligible, which is why no Republican challenged. They all know, and knew. That is why Bobby Jindal and probably Rubio cannot run. Jindal certainly and Rubio probably were born before their parents naturalized.

    Senator Beavers may not know the definition, but more likely, is afraid to be the one to initiate the crisis, or to attract the venom of the pro-Obama mainstream media, and is playing dumb. She needs to appear to have done something. Being born in the U.S. makes Obama what he told us he was, a 14th Amendment citizen, and not a natural born Citizen is required by our Constitution.

  2. The Track & Field Superfan says:

    >Don't forget to put on your tinfoil hat. It keeps out the Illuminati's mind-control rays.

  3. Spaulding says:

    >Ah, Superfan, if Chief Justice Waite is an 'Illuminati,' whatever that is, his definition of "natural born Citizen" remains the most cited in current constitutional cases.

    Obama's propagandists have so successfully executed a program of ridicule out of Saul Alinsky (Alinsky's 5th Rule, "Ridcule is man's most potent weapon), that people are afraid of discussion. Shoud you get curious, read Samuel Adams, who quoted Vattel more than any source but the Bible, and John Adams, or Alexander Hamilton who referred Washington to Vattel again and again, so much so that Washington never questioned John Jay's reminder to be sure to put 'natural born Citizenship' in Article II as a presidential qualification. Chief Justice John Marshall in "The Venus," 12 U.S. 253,explains that to be a natural born Citizen (he uses the French equivalent, 'native' or 'indigene') one must be "born on the soil of citizen parents," and cites Vattel (pg289).

    Find Mario Apuzzo's site. Neither Mario's, nor any eligibility case has ever been heard – no discovery. Apuzzo's writing is coherent, and citations abundent. Apuzzo's Supreme Court case for clients, the principal being Commander Kerchner, who, in the Summer of 2008, wrote registered letters to dozens of congressmen asking them to vet Obama as they had McCain, received not one response. That violates equal protection. We elect a president to execute the laws which protect our right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, " presumably giving every Citizen standing. Congress ignored a Constitutional obligation to vet candidates, each party in the interests of its inelibible candidate!

    McCain's eligibility has been questioned for years (Prof. Gabriel Chin, U of Arizona Law, Why John McCain Cannot be President:); even raising the issue would get McCain off the ballot, and Hillary was clearly ready and willing to replace Obama.

    In April of 2008 Pat Leahy, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee filed Senate Resolution 511, co-sponsored by McCaskill, Clinton, and signed by every senator, including senator Obama. It was the ploy to silence the questions about the probably ineligible McCain. Had Congress vetted Obama, the same eligibility rules should have applied to him.

    No law can amend the Constitution, so Senate Resolution 511 was not actionable. Nor was the earlier Obama-McCaskill bill, SB 2678 in Feb 2008, actionable; it attempted to address McCain's foreign birth. Here is the opinion of every U.S. Senator, from the minutes of the SR 511 Judiciary Committee hearing.

    “My assumption and my understanding is that if you are born of American parents, you are naturally a natural-born American citizen,” Chertoff replied. “That is mine, too,” said Leahy."

    They all know. The issue most, including myself, didn't understand is the significance of a nation based upon laws. What happens if a mob can ignore our legal foundation just this once? Having once refused to acknowledge the law, what prevents representatives and parties from ignoring the Constitution whenever there is an issue they can sell, or a handsome man or woman with a gift for vapid colloquy?

    Once rules can be restated by a majority, public opinion rules, and that has always led to anarchy. Every Senator knows the truth because they all signed SR 511. They will claim fear of civil unrest as the reason for avoiding the law. At least one supreme court justice, Clarence Thomas, has admitted publically that the court is evading the issue.