Ellen Endo headshot2By ELLEN ENDO

Watching the latest Republican debate recently, I realized that the only candidate worth taking seriously was not on the stage. She was actually sitting in the audience — South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley.

It was Haley who, following President Obama’s State of the Union address, delivered the Republican response with poise and potency. I didn’t agree with everything she said, but she restored my faith in the two-party system.

It’s a good thing I am not running for president of the United States — not that I couldn’t. After all, I can stammer like Jeb Bush and hurl unfounded insults like Donald Trump. I can wear pantsuits from the 1980s like Hillary Clinton. What’s more, I have no experience holding public office, nor have I served in the military.

But I do have something in common with one of the GOPers — Texas Senator Ted Cruz. You see, Cruz was born in Canada to an American mother. I was born in Italy to an American-born Nisei father, who was serving overseas with the United States Army. Ted’s real name is Rafael Edward Cruz. And, my middle name is Rafaella. Coincidence?

Well…yes…that’s just a coincidence.

The question is: Are Cruz and I “natural born” citizens and, therefore, eligible to run for the nation’s top office as described in the U.S. Constitution? Thank you, Founding Fathers, for the vagaries that have kept us arguing among ourselves for two-and-a-half centuries about things like “inalienable rights” and the right to bear arms.

Fortunately, I have no White House aspirations. Cruz, on the other hand, gets to spar with the Mouth that Roared, Donald Trump.

Meanwhile, Democrats are watching from the sidelines and guffawing all over themselves. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest commented on the subject recently during his daily press briefing. “It would be quite ironic if after seven or eight years of drama around the president’s birth certificate, if Republican primary voters were to choose Sen. Cruz as their nominee, somebody who actually wasn’t born in the United States and who only eight months ago renounced his Canadian citizenship.”

Earnest was referring to the Trump-led birther movement that prompted Obama to release his long-form birth certificate in 2011. When Earnest was asked if Obama enjoys watching the Trump-Cruz conflict following his own lengthy battle with Trump, the press secretary said, “I don’t know if he does, but I sure do.”

When I go to vote, the poll worker checks my ID. If I go to the doctor’s office, I am asked for an insurance card to show that I’m covered. Even if I buy a pack of gum, the terminal verifies my ATM card to approve the purchase.

Not so in the vast corridors of our federal government. There must be some agency, some department, someone who vets such things as eligibility to hold the highest office in the land.

I did some checking, and voila! Both the non-partisan Congressional Research Service and the conservative Heritage Foundation have determined that a child of a U.S. citizen is considered to be eligible for the presidency regardless of where he/she was born.

No wonder there’s confusion. Congress has revised the immigration laws 30 times since 1790 when the first Naturalization Act established rules for naturalized citizenship. Not surprisingly, they limited citizenship to white persons and placed no restrictions on immigration. The magnanimity was induced not by brotherhood but by a shortage of farm and plantation workers. Home of the brave and land of the greed.

If Cruz should become the Republican nominee, will Trump support him? Will Trump join the ticket as the vice presidential candidate? Will I win the next big Powerball jackpot?

But the MVP (Most Vicious Politician) prize in the debate goes to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who vowed that if he’s the Republican nominee, Hillary Clinton would “not get within 10 miles of the White House.”

Toward the end, Christie turned to the camera and addressed Obama directly, saying, “We are going to kick your rear end out of the White House come this fall.” Ooh, big talk, especially when you know the guy is leaving anyway.

So, let me get this straight. If Trump is elected, he will prevent thousands of Muslims from entering the U.S., build a huge wall, and deport as many illegal Mexican immigrants as possible, et cetera, et cetera. If Christie is elected, and Obama or Clinton try to come over to visit him in the White House, he will call security.


I often stay up late, working. It’s my favorite time for writing. Here are a few jokes from recent late-night talk shows:

“The nominations for the Academy Awards came out. All the acting nominees are white for the second year in a row. The Academy Awards are so white they’re being held in the organic fruit aisle at Trader Joe’s.” — Jimmy Kimmel

“President Vladimir Putin said that Russia has invented the world’s most effective drug to fight Ebola. Yeah. When asked if he tested it on rats, Putin said, ‘You could call them that. Sure, yeah, yeah. They’re rats.’” — Jimmy Fallon

Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of The Rafu Shimpo or its management. Comments and/or inquiries should be directed to ellenendo@yahoo.com.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.