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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Born in the USA! (Part II)

People can believe whatever they want. Some still believe that if one sails too far in one direction, one will fall over the edge and become dragon-fodder. Some believe that man never landed on the moon. The Solipsist believes that North Dakota does not exist, and you will never convince him otherwise. And, of course, some believe that Barack Obama was not born in Hawaii (or, presumably, any other state) and was thus ineligible to be elected President.

One should not devote too much time to refuting these assertions, especially since we did so yesterday. We thus continue our discussion of this non-issue with Point Two of our extensive two-point discussion:

It really doesn't matter anyway

That's right: Even if it somehow turned out that Obama was not born in the USA, he is still the President. He won the 2008 election by a sizable margin over Senator John McCain, despite any concerns raised about his natural-born citizenship. Meaning that a significant percentage of the American electorate either felt that Obama was enough of an American for them, or at least he was the better-qualified candidate whatever his planet of origin.

But Solipsist, it's in the Consti-TOO-tion!!!

Well, OK. The Constitution also says that Black people are only equivalent to 60% of a human being.

(DIGRESSION: Would this mean that Obama technically only needs a 60% verifiable birth certificate? 'Cause if so, we think the "Certificate of Live Birth" he's offered should count.

((ADDITIONAL DIGRESSION: A friend chastised us for "not doing our homework" because, if we had, we would see that Obama's sister, who was born in Indonesia, also has a "COLB" from Hawaii. The point supposedly being that these documents are unreliable. If this is true, we would accept the fact that Obama's sister's certificate is a less-than-absolute guarantee of HER place of nativity, but we would hasten to point out that this proves nothing about Obama's birthplace. EOAD))

(BACK TO THE ORIGINAL DIGRESSION: Of course, President Obama is only half-Black, so maybe that makes him 80% human--which still puts him ahead of Biden. EOD)

OK, anyway, back to the original point: It is in the Constitution that one must be a "Natural-Born Citizen." Congress and the judiciary have expanded and expounded upon this clause over the years. Thus, for example, a child of two American citizens born outside the country will be granted natural citizenship. Also, those born to American parents on overseas US territories like military bases will also receive automatic US citizenship. Presumably this explains the relative lack of foofaraw over the fact that John McCain was most emphatically and unambiguously NOT born in the USA (he was born in the Panama Canal Zone). Unfortunately, Obama doesn't qualify for this sort of consideration: His father, of course, was a Kenyan citizen who traveled to the United States for the sole purpose of furthering his studies and impregnating our women.

Which brings us to the thorny question of racism: Is the continued focus on Obama's place of origin simply a manifestation of inherently racist attitudes? Well, yes and no. We were actually surprised to see how many challenges to presidential aspirants' "Native-Born" qualifications there have been. While it did not receive much attention, John McCain's eligibility was challenged. The citizenship of Al Gore, that most blandly American of candidates, was challenged on the grounds that he was born in Washington, D.C. (i.e., not a state). So it is quite likely that Obama's standing would have been challenged regardless of his color. Nevertheless, if Obama's father's name had been, say, Barry Owens, and he was from, say, Canada instead of Kenya, we consider it unlikely that this controversy would still be raging.

The most infuriating thing about this whole controversy, for us, is the hypocrisy. Let's face it, those behind the Birther movement could care less about the constitutional questions. You think we're wrong? We'll take it back--IF you can show us any leader of the movement who was equally concerned about the blatant unconstitutionality of the 2000 election of George W. Bush.

Of course, the reason people are screaming about Obama's supposed alienness is that they hate Obama. Fair enough. We hated George W. Bush. But we hated him in policy grounds: pointless wars, environmental degradation, economic cataclysm. And there are similarly "valid" reasons to dislike Obama. The Solipsist, a lifelong Democrat, has plenty of gripes with President Obama, from his too-timid healthcare plan to his apparent unwillingness to stand up to Republicans and big-business interests.

Why won't Birthers simply let the citizenship non-question go and focus on these more-substantive issues? Is it because the people behind the Birther movement have no better ideas for solving the nation's real problems? Indeed, is it because they themselves profit from these problems and don't want anyone to focus too closely on them? Now there's a conspiracy theory worth investigating!

"Donald Trump Strikes Back"


  1. How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

  2. Your column today states the most ridiculous premise I've ever read! It's WYOMING that doesn't exist!
    North Dakota, of course, exists... it just doesn't want to.