In a radio interview, Mr. Huckabee said, "I would love to know more, but what I know is troubling enough. And one thing that I do know is his having grown up in Kenya, his view of the Brits, for example's very different than the average American." This is a bald-faced lie. President Obama did not grow up in Kenya. Why a person of Mr. Huckabee's prominence would make such a statement in public is puzzling to say the least.
With the unusual name, for many of us, of Barack Obama, the president has been subjected to ethnically tinged attacks like none of his predecessors ever experienced. Lest we forget, the president had a Kenyan father and a Kansan mother. His father was black and his mother was white. President Obama was born in Hawaii in 1961. A persistent paranoid din continues to insist that he was not, but that is another strain of the rabid, personal attacks on the President.
There is no evidence to support the contention that President Obama grew up in Kenya. Yet a potential Republican candidate for the presidential nomination felt comfortable making this claim on a radio talk show. The question is why.
Mr. Huckabee knows that if he is to gain the Republican nomination he will need to win in Republican primary and caucus contests. To do so, he needs to demonstrate that he is a vehemently anti-Obama as the majority of likely primary voters. Therefore, he broadcasts lies about where the president grew up. He has joined with Newt Gingrich in suggesting that the president - "Has a Kenyan world view." If this were not such a serious breach of responsible political discourse, it would be laughable.
The Constitution of the United States requires candidates for president to be a "natural born citizen." It is simply beyond the pale of reason to believe that anyone would undertake the enormous expense and grueling effort of campaigning for the presidency if he or she did not incontestably meet this requirement. The fact the thousands of Americans believe President Obama did seek the presidency without being a natural born citizen says much more about their contact with reality than it does about the president.
The Constitution also stipulates, “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States." Nonetheless, people continue to prattle about the president's status as a Christian or a Muslim. The clear language of the Constitution make is obvious that neither matters. There is no religious test for an office of public trust in the United States. That is the sum and substance of the story. As citizens, we have an enduring obligation to uphold the Constitution. Therefore, we have a genuine obligation to tell the Islamophobes to find some other reason to bay at the moon. Our Constitution welcomes all faiths in service to the Republic.
Why do these things persist regarding President Obama? It is not because there is a shred of credible, authenticated evidence to support any of the rants. It seems to be because the president's political opponents believe they can energize and mobilize citizens to oppose and vote against a president they have been duped into thinking is somehow alien. In its most crude form, this tactic is a veiled appeal to racial bigotry. President Obama has one easily recognizable characteristic that differentiates him for all of his predecessors. He is of mixed racial heritage. He looks like a fair-skinned black man. Ironically, he shares this trait with Raymond Parks who gave the mother of the modern civil rights movement the surname by which we know her.
For some among the electorate, President Obama's racial heritage is a point of dissatisfaction. For some among the field of candidates, it is an avenue of exploitation. All of us need to get over this racial fixation and uphold the Constitution in fact and in ongoing practice. As there is no religious test for office, there is likewise no racial test for office.
This country and the Republic face difficult issues in turbulent times. We, the people, need rise up and live out the true meaning of the American creed. We need to hold our actual and aspiring leaders as well as ourselves to a principled standard. We need to evaluate all officials and candidates by neither the color of their skin nor the connotations of their names, but by the caliber of their conduct and the content of their character.