Monday, April 11, 2011

Birthers Need to Get a Grip

Therer's a subset of the American population that are known as "birthers."  To the point, they are the ones who adamantly call for the production of President Barack Obama's original birth certificate, and quickly fasten onto rumors of forgery and allusions to other certificates.

Let's address some of the facts.  First, Obama has indeed made his birth certificate available.  The state of Hawai'i won't release it to anyone without a tangible interest, but the fact of the specious controversy surrounding Obama's nationality made tangible interest pretty much universal for every American.  So it's been studied by more than one individual, including those who can be regarded as neutral.  Obama's attending OB-GYN, for instance.

Obama's family tree is a little confusing.  His parents and grandparents are from quite literally all over.  Africa, Indonesia, wherever.  The man is a walking example of the Great American Melting Pot.  Me, I'm fourth generation northern European.  I'm from Minnesota, my parents are from Minnesota.  My grandparents grew up there.  Go further back though, and you find people living in Bavaria, Finland, Sweden.  Obama's family are a little more recently from somewhere else, and so what?  He's from Hawai'i, and Hawai'i was a state of the US nearly two years before Obama was born.  In fact, they almost share birthdays - both came to the US in August.

Documents purporting to prove that Obama is actually a native of Somewhere Else have universally been proven false.  He isn't native to Kenya, nor to Indonesia.  Perhaps most damning to the birthers' theories are the little incidental details of Obama's birth.

Dig back through the archives of Hawai'i's newspapers and you find a teeny little mention of a son born to Mr. and Mrs. Barack Obama on August 4, 1961.  And now here's the kicker, if you find a hard copy somewhere of the newspaper, one that somehow escaped lining the bird cage for fifty years, I reckon it'll still say the same thing.  Nobody's dug into the official archives and paid a ton of money to get a line changed here or there.

So what's up with the birthers?  Why the refusal to accept the reality?

I think it's for the same reason Democrats recounted the Florida vote so carefully back in 2000.  They didn't want to lose.  They didn't like the closeness of the vote and frankly some of the circumstances looked a little hinky: governor was kin to the Republican candidate, Dems were on a high note and how could it be so close?  So there was some bitterness.  Now Republicans were on a high note and God forbid we have to deal with Hillary in all this mess, certainly something about the guy can't be right - what's up with that family history?  It all looks so iffy...and yet it isn't.  Obama's as American as you, me, and the guy standing up to say the Pledge of Allegiance for the first time as an American citizen.  Stepping up as a candidate for the Presidency is to throw your hat into the most awful of rings.  There is no privacy as President.  You can't scratch your butt without getting caught on camera.  It's nigh-on impossible to get away with anything, and you can bet there's never going to be a way to close all the loopholes of your family history, if you're trying to cover something up.  So you take the path of least resistance: the truth.  Saying what's real.  You do what you can to eliminate or simply sidestep the friction of being a candidate, and then President, so you can get on with the job of actually being President.

Silk boxers.  That's all I'm saying.

The truth.  That's all I'm saying.  His birth certificate has been seen.  Whether you heard about it or not, that's not my fault nor his - if you weren't listening or watching, then who's to blame?  If you're not going to believe it until you get to actually lay hands on the birth certificate itself, please step up and shove your fingers into Jesus' side while you're at it, while I rustle up some name change forms for you.  "Doubting Thomas," that has a ring to it...and hey, you're already at the public records office, so there's a trip you've saved.

It's one thing to be passionate about your beliefs, to be 100% behind your candidate.  Well and good, and well you should.  If you think your candidate is the right one for the job, back him.  But to try to make him look better by tearing the other guy down, well, that's just lousy sport.  Not that I'm saying there's anything sporting about the American political scene, I'm saying that if that's all you bring to the party then maybe your position wasn't so strong in the first place.  If all you have in your favor are negative statements about the other guy, perhaps you'd do better as a journalist.

Donald Trump needs to step off his soapbox, because he's braying about facts that have already been verified - just not verified in the direction he wants.  Further braying only makes him look more an ass than he already does - which ought to really raise the bar for the next guy.

This issue is so old its sell-by date is covered with the dust of years.  To raise it again is to admit defeat before the battle's even joined.

If you don't like the President, say so.  Just don't say he isn't American.

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