The Birther of a Nation
“Bigotry dwarfs the soul by shutting out the truth.” – Edwin Hubbel Chapin, 1814-1880.
If John McCain had won the 2008 election, some television reporter might have mentioned, in passing, during a lull in the inauguration ceremony, the trivial fact that he had been born in the
Canal Zone but was still a “natural born Citizen” as required by the U.S. Constitution.
But Barak Obama won the 2008 election. He was born in
Hawaii on August 4, 1961, a little less than three years after Hawaii became the fiftieth state, and a little more than 63 years after the United States unilaterally “annexed” the former . That might have been a brief filler for a slow moment during his inauguration coverage. It warranted nothing more. Kingdom of Hawai’i
But not long after that, I heard the despicable Rep. Michelle Bachmann, R-MN, tell a crowd of supporters that Barak Obama was “the first non-American president.” I could only assume that by that she meant that his father was from
Africa – the only difference between him and the 42 other men (Grover Cleveland served two nonconsecutive terms) who had served before he became the 44th president. I found it truly offensive and said so.
Oh, no, her supporters told me. She’s referring to the “fact” that he was born in
. His birth certificate is a fake. He has never produced the “long form” birth certificate to disprove it. There must be a conspiracy. Kenya
Well bullshit. We all know this is all about the fact that Barak Obama is the first Black president. The “birthers” know this better than anyone.
President Obama has proven himself to be a centrist, but he has been called everything from a communist to a fascist to the Antichrist. The real problem is that he is Black, and a surprising number of people in this country just can’t handle that.
On April 12, 1861 – a hundred years before Barak Obama was born and 150 years ago this month – Confederate forces started shooting at the Union’s
Fort Sumter in , starting the War Between the States. Four very bloody years later that war ended, on paper at least, but it still rages on in the minds of far too many of our people. South Carolina
The Civil War ended, but we had to live through the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, the excesses of Reconstruction and its backlash Ku Klux Klan, the migration of Black citizens to the North and their consequent rejection and subjugation there as well, the imposition of poll taxes and literacy requirements, the contemptible standard of “separate but equal” that was upheld by the Supreme Court for shameful decades, the civil disobedience of people like Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King that led to King’s murder, the burning of churches, and lynchings, the disgusting recalcitrance of George Wallace and Orval Faubus, and gross economic inequality and geographical isolation which malinger to this day.
I voted for Barak Obama because his intelligence impressed me, his compassion warmed me, and his words inspired me. I did not vote for him because of his African heritage, but I was glad that the candidate of my choice was Black. I knew that this represented yet another big step forward away from the single greatest stain on our history and our conscience as a people. When I saw the camera at the inauguration focus on Jesse Jackson, who stood silently watching as tears streamed down his face, my face was already sodden. One more barrier had fallen. Someday we would finally escape this loathsome heritage.
I was not alone, but there were some – far too many – who saw Obama’s election as a terrible calamity. This can’t be happening, they felt. He’s Black!
The “birther” claptrap gave them something to grasp, some socially acceptable complaint they could use to express their socially unacceptable dismay. Provide the birth certificate, they demanded. Not the printed form from the State of
that is acceptable in every other situation to establish citizenship and identity, but the “long form,” the copy of the original itself, with signatures and everything. Hawaii
Well, President Obama did that yesterday. “We do not have time for this kind of silliness. We've got better stuff to do. I've got better stuff to do,” he said, but there it was, produced as demanded, telling us what we already knew.
Thank goodness. This nonsense is finally over. That should shut them up, right?
Well, just do a search on “Obama birth certificate.” They’re still yapping. It’s a fake, they say. It doesn’t prove anything. There are irregularities. Anyone can make something that looks like a real birth certificate.
What they are really saying is “He’s Black!” And they know it.