Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Pandering to Ignorance

The above picture is a copy of the state-issued birth certificate of President Barack Obama. This is not good enough, though, for rabid teabaggers known as "birthers." They keep obsessing over the "long-form birth certificate" and want President Obama to be seen holding a copy in his hands to "prove" once and for all that he is a natural-born citizen. Its ridiculous. This demand has racist undertones, even though people who are birthers deny being racist. However, their ignorance knows no bounds. Black people in America have constantly had their citizenship denied and questioned. From the 3/5ths compromise in the U.S. Constitution to the Dred Scott Decision to the Jim Crow laws to the purging of voter rolls in Florida in 2000 and Ohio in 2004, there has been a systematic effort to deny black people their full rights as American citizens or even identity as Americans.

This latest episode is not any different. Its not hard to believe that the first black president would face such opposition. That much is to be expected. After all, when Richard Nixon saw the key to his 1968 victory as being disaffected white voters in the South, slowly but surely, the South turned from being loyal Democrats (due to the sheer hatred of the Republican party regarding the liberation of slaves and destruction of the South in the Civil War and the Reconstruction period) into a solid Republican region.

While some might wonder why Obama just doesn't come out and show that he has a birth certificate that birthers will accept, I'm familiar with this game. Its merely a taunting game. Nothing Obama can do will ever satisfy these people. Its an endless taunt because this hardly matters. The point is that among birthers and teabaggers, they do not consider Obama to be a legitimate president at all and they are grasping at the only thing they think they have a case on regarding his supposed illegitimacy. In psychology books, there is a concept known as "projecting." According to this psychological disorder, a person often projects his or her doubts or shadow personalities onto someone that he or she views as an "enemy." So, perhaps this is just an indication that these birthers and teabaggers had doubts about Bush's legitimacy and project it on to the scary black man. After all, Bush was definitely an illegitimate president who couldn't even win the popular vote in 2000. If people want to get outraged by illegitimacy, the time to do that was in 2000, not 2008 or 2010 or now. As one Bushie told me in 2002: "Get over it!"

So, let's just humour the birthers for a moment. Let's say that Obama was born in Kenya, not Hawaii. His mom was a natural born citizen and that means that any child she gives birth to anywhere in the world is a natural born citizen!! So, if Obama was born in Kenya, then the argument is irrelevant anyway because of his American-citizen mother. As one who was born overseas to one parent who is a natural-born American citizen and one parent who was not yet a citizen, I received a birth certificate that was issued by the Department of State. It looks similar to the one posted above. Same colour paper, similar design style. Very much U.S. government bureaucracy style. If I ran for public office, would the birthers have an uproar over my birth certificate? Well, as Sarah Palin would say: "You betcha!"

Second point. In 2008, if we did not elect Obama president by a clear majority, then Senator John McCain would be our president now. And guess what? McCain was born in Panama!!! But no one questions his citizenship because his father and grandfather were both Admirals in the U.S. Navy. But more importantly, no one questions his citizenship because he's WHITE. Well, technically, Obama is half-white. His African father abandoned his white mother and he was raised primarily by his white mother and her white parents, save for a few years in Indonesia as a young boy.

Third point. Let's say that Obama was born in Kenya for argument's sake. Now, let's think logically about this. This means that Obama's mother, who was from a lower middle class family and was in college in Hawaii, would have to travel to Kenya all by herself in her last month or two of pregnancy. Remember, this was 1961. Travel was not cheap, especially to an isolated place like Kenya would be at that time (I don't think you can get a direct flight from the U.S. to Kenya even today). What loving parent would allow their only daughter to travel halfway across the world alone and pregnant so she can give birth to their first grandchild in some questionable hospital in a third world country? That's the question no birther can seem to answer. Its not rational to think that they would've allowed this. For one thing, how could they afford it? For another, why would their daughter travel halfway around the world to give birth away from the people she knew all her life? Another point, Obama's father was a polygamist, who had a wife back in Kenya. Why would he want his American wife to potentially meet the African wife he never told her about? Finally, after giving birth, this white woman would return to the U.S. with a black baby in her arms and have to go through customs. This is 1961, remember. America was still segregated and miscegenation (interracial sex / marriage) was against the law.

Occam's Razor applies here. So does logic. Which makes more sense? Obama was born in a hospital in Hawaii as the state issued birth certificate and two newspaper announcements from that era claim, or this fanciful, highly entertaining story of a traveling pregnant American woman seeking to give birth away from her family in a strange country with questionable medical facilities. The burden of proof is on the birthers. Where's the plane tickets or Kenyan hospital forms / bill?

When I pointed this out to my crazy fundamentalist Christian Uncle and Aunt, they defriended me on Facebook (it was some time last year). That's the problem with ignorant people. They want to believe what they believe despite any logical argument or questions that poke holes in their faulty belief system. Its the whole sticking one's finger in the ear and babbling out loud so they can't hear you. Truth is so scary for these people. Instead of expending so much time obsessing over the president's birth, they should be wondering why the party they keep voting for is scheming to get more money to flow into the pockets of billionaires. Its the standard distraction technique: show a shiny object with one hand while the other picks their pockets clean. This is why I absolutely hate ignorant people. They deserve every misfortune they endure because they have no clue who their real enemies are. They do the work of the wealthy class yet get nothing in return but lies, lies, lies. You can't live on a diet of lies.

Jumping into the fray is none other than Donald Trump. He's supposedly thinking about running for president, but the skeptics among us are naturally cynical about all this publicity. He's an incredible narcissist who needs to have his name in the public constantly. Despite his wealth, he's not considered a credible candidate. No one with that dead animal on his head could ever be taken seriously. While he's wondering about Obama's birth certificate, he hasn't disclosed what the deal is with his crazy hair. Its obviously a toupee.

I have no idea why he has come out as a birther. This strange phenomenon has affected the Republican Party like a contagious disease. Polls show that 51% of Republicans believe that Obama was not born in the U.S.A. (call it the Fox News effect: repeating a lie often enough will eventually become true). Another 20% of Republicans "don't know" if Obama is a citizen. That means only 30% of Republicans believe that the president is a citizen. Amazing. The level of ignorance affecting that party is stunning. We've never seen mass delusions on this scale since Soviet communists in the waning days of the USSR! This is what happens when ideologues shun logic, reason, and the quest for truth. Preferring a diet of lies, propaganda, and ideology is a sure recipe for disaster and that's why the Republican Party imploded under the incompetence of George W. Bush and the empty propaganda of Karl Rove.

Other Republican presidential hopefuls Newt Gingrich and Mike Huckabee have perpetuated the Kenya-connection of our president. Gingrich claims that Obama's Kenyan heritage of "anti-British colonialism" makes him completely foreign to the American worldview. Really? Weren't our Founding Fathers "anti-British colonialism" as well? Didn't we fight a revolution to be rid of the British Empire from our shores? If its good for us, why is it not good for India or Kenya? Oh, my mistake. Its because they're black (or brown). Another double standard. What's okay for white Americans is not okay for black Americans or black people in general.

Not to be outdone, Huckabee recently said in a radio program that Obama's upbringing in Kenya, being raised by his Kenyan father and grandfather meant that he was likely influenced by the "Mau Mau" uprising (where Kenyans killed white settlers in the quest for independence from the United Kingdom in the 1960s). When he was called up on his ignorance (Obama was raised by his mother in Hawaii and Indonesia. He only saw his father twice in his entire life. TWICE!! And he didn't go to Kenya until he was a young man in search of his roots), Huckabee backtracked and claimed that he meant Indonesia. He lied to get out of a devastating lie. There was no such thing as the Mau Mau's in Indonesia!!! But this hardly matters to the birther and teabaggers who listen to his every word. The world outside of our borders is a scary place. Its filled with black people and brown people and yellow people and they all want to kill us!!!

Another reason why I hate ignorant people. We share the planet with 95% of the non-Americans who live on this spinning marble in the vast galaxy. The world is not scary out there. People generally want the same things in life. Anyhow, such ignorance and lies spewed by a potential candidate should be an automatic disqualifier. If he is willing to lie about facts that we can check, then he's willing to lie about anything. His trustworthiness is non existent. Even worse, Huckabee is a minister, which means he violated a major commandment (and we know how much conservative evangelical Christians love the Ten Commandments by their obsession with wanting to post it in every government building and schoolhouse). THOU SHALT NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS. Huckabee so deserves to go to hell for that lie.

Finally, below is a picture of the birth certificate that Donald Trump released to prove his citizenship. The only problem is, this birth certificate is considered a souvenir from the hospital. Something that goes into a scrapbook. Its not a state issued birth certificate that must be shown to prove identity when starting a new job or applying for a passport. Also, the interesting thing about this is that Trump was born in "The Jamaica Hospital." Had this been Obama's birth certificate souvenir, you can bet that teabaggers and birthers would claim that this proved that Obama was not an American, because he was born in Jamaica!!! That's how lies work. They will take whatever they can use to prove their own prejudices, truth be damned. Because its not about the truth. Its about undermining the first black president of the United States of America and trying to make his presidency a failure just like their darling beloved president George W. Bush, whom God had made president to save us from 9/11. Gawd, can you tell how much I hate ignorant people? People with IQs below 100 should not be allowed to vote. Seriously. They are so easily manipulated by billionaires with ulterior agendas. As my supervisor at my last job in Atlanta often loved to say: "There is no cure for stupid!"

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