As reported well in Reader Supported News, President Obama has secured the release of his long-form birth certificate even though the state of Hawaii has only provided short-form certificates since the mid-1980s. He did so because so many people persisted in complaining about the absence of the long-form document that this false controversy drowned out serious discussion and thoughtful consideration of real issues. There may also have been tactical political considerations, but that is simply a reflection of the times in which we live. Why did anyone pay enough attention to the birther gibberish to keep it going for thirty months or more? As John Cory asks, “What does it say about our "media" that they have spent so much time and so much effort promoting crazy over reality? That our "media" relishes circus clowns jumping out of their clown-cars and spraying clown-seltzer everywhere and then giddily covers the wet and stained audience reaction while ignoring the burning of fact?” The media, however, is not solely at fault. Millions of Americans paid both money and attention to the irresponsible coverage and gave it financial if not journalistic credibility.
Now the core birth record maintained by the state of Hawaii has been released. Dr. Chiyome Fukimo had attested to the propriety and existence of this record almost three years ago. Dr. Fukimo told NBC in a telephone interview “The original so-called "long form" birth certificate — described by Hawaiian officials as a "record of live birth" — absolutely exists, located in a bound volume in a file cabinet on the first floor of the state Department of Health. Fukimo said she has personally inspected it — twice. The document is real, accurate, and was exactly where it was supposed to be and it always has been.
Consequently, there never was any credible, investigative effort to find a true answer to a genuine question. If it had simply been a factual question, the effort would have vanished days after Dr. Fukimo answered the question. What Americans, and particularly white Americans, must confront is the bigotry and race baiting involved in and impelling this deplorable saga. Despite howls of protest, no elaborate rationales, and no elusive evasions provide any other credible explanation for the entire nonsensical, disreputable campaign that launched and sustained this bogus controversy. Such despicable rubbish would have hounded no white person, however unusually named.
There is precedent for this kind of thinly veiled bigotry in the nation’s history. Fredrick Douglas wrote an autobiography and could not get it published without an introduction by William Lloyd Garrison attesting to his authorship. Shortly after the Civil War in an interval known as Redemption in the former Confederacy black elected officials and candidates were viciously caricatured, slandered, libeled, and otherwise impugned by their political opponents. All manner of false charges were hurled to deny them legitimacy and deprive them of the opportunity to compete fairly for office. For almost 100 years after this benighted period, black citizens were subjected to endless schemes and brutal intimidation to deny them their Constitutional right to vote. Throughout many Republican dominated states at this moment efforts are underway to enact laws or regulations suppressing voting or voter registration among blacks, other minorities, the young and the poor. These tactics are a staple of racist white political strategy. In the last decade or so, this bigotry has tried to be more genteel and code words have been used to signal those who harbor racist inclinations, but this infection in American culture has not been eradicated. The election of a person with African ancestry has galvanized both the racist strategists and the latent bigots the strategists seek to energize and mobilize.
In the face of all this dishonorable maneuvering to undermine the legitimacy of our most uniquely named and distinctively appearing president and suppress the registration or voting of groups statistically likely to vote for him, those among us who view politics as something capable of honor have a crucial and compelling challenge. We resoundingly and repeatedly must call bigotry by its correct name. We must denounce race baiting and demand those practicing it cease and desist.
As the SPLC HATEWATCH newsletter states –
“Perhaps the time has come to state the obvious.
The people who have been selling claims that President Obama is not American — the Donald Trumps, the Orly Taitzes, the miserable state legislators hawking their snake-oil laws insisting that presidential candidates prove their citizenship — are mostly a pack of racists. In the cases where they are not, they are shameless opportunists perfectly willing to exploit racism for their own personal benefit, proponents of a second Republican “Southern strategy.”
And let’s not give a pass to the 25% of Americans who a Harris poll found last month believe Obama was not born in this country despite endless knockdowns by serious news organizations. Common sense — along with an important new study revealing the high levels of racism among those who make such claims — make it obvious what’s going on here. These people are either plainly stupid, or, far more often, whites who see Obama as the Other, the dark-skinned person who represents a racially changing society that they loathe and fear and resent.” [http://www.splcenter.org/blog/2011/04/28/lets-call-the-birthers-what-they are/?ondntsrc=MBQ110470HTW&newsletter=HW042811]
Even as the first incarnation of 21st century racist political strategy has been exposed for the utter nonsense it always was. The race baiters and hate mongers are working on new absurdities. A loud-mouthed TV personality from a wealthy family is questioning the president’s academic credentials. An immigrant lawyer-dentist who was in at the beginning of the birther foolishness is raving about his selective service number or his social security number or maybe both depending on the phase of the moon. Right wing media is broadcasting pseudo analysis of the recently released long-form birth certificate claiming it shows signs of being photo-shopped. Despite the camouflage these shysters may employ, there are only two driving forces behind these scurrilous antics - bigotry and the attempt to exploit it for political advantage.
While a person of any heritage and complexion can be bigoted, the principal responsibility and primary role in driving bigotry from our politics and our culture belongs to those of us with paler faces and European forebears. We are still by far the largest segment of the population and we are still by far the most economically and politically powerful. Now is the time for us to rise up and make real the true meaning of the American creed. We must keep faith with the premises and the promises of this nation. Our direct ancestors largely stated the premises and made the promises in the first place. We will be judged in the end by the faith that we keep. Are we worthy heirs of the glorious Spirit of 1776? Can we keep the Republic Franklin and his colleagues labored so long and so well to give us? Can we finish the work those who struggled and died before us have thus far so nobly advanced?
President Obama is capable of doing his part to ensure that the “enormous challenges out there” are dealt with effectively. In most cases, arguments will rage on what the proper response is to each and every one. I will do my best to play a constructive role. I encourage others to do likewise. One thing we must all work together to prevent, however, is the kind of communication jamming represented by bigoted, race baiting political strategists who would rather win elections than do the nation’s business.
If America ceases to be America in anything but name, the blame will not lay solely with President Obama although he has his part to do to prevent this. Nor will it mainly lay with the numerous other elected Democratic officials in the federal and state governments. We, the People, are the sovereigns in the Republic. If we cannot fulfill the highest office of all, patriot, and defend the premise, promise and purposes of the Republic by our political actions and our votes, the blame for the fall of the Republic and the corruption of America will lay substantially with us.
Mr. President you called the bluff of the boors and buffoons. Thank you! Now let us all go forth to lead the land we love toward a renewed birth of freedom and ”With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”