With his frustration apparent, President Obama released a copy of his “long form” birth certificate today, in an attempt to squelch, once and for all, the bubbling narrative that he was not born in the United States and is therefore not a legitimate president.
The President was gracious enough to only show frustration. I can’t help but feel only shame for our country right now.
Forget the three wars we are fighting. Forget persistent joblessness. Forget crippling corruption on Wall Street and in Congress. And most of all forget the all-out assault on the American middle-class because the question at hand is how can it be that this country has an African-American president.
The attack on the legitimacy of the Obama administration from the birther crew has always been about race. Sure, birtherism is nothing more than another political conspiracy narrative, like Triggers (those who do not believe Sarah Palin’s youngest son is hers) and Truthers before it. Except unlike the others, Republicans took birtherism mainstream. And for this we need to hold them accountable.
What these, and really all conspiracy theories share at their core is a distrust of institutions. Given what a terrible job governing our institutions have done of late, and given the easy access to “evidence” to support mistrust, it is easy to see why these stories don’t just die–among the conspiracy crowd.
But it is not so easy to understand why the story won’t just die among Republicans seeking office.
It is bad enough our already-stressed federal courts have to entertain this nonsense. But our President and our country should not be subjected to news-conferences called by a failed real estate developer turned reality tv host to debate the President’s citizenship.
For those who cling to conspiracies to explain their own political dissatisfaction, today’s actions will likely do nothing to satisfy their suspicions. And for Donald Trump, who has taken his racism up a notch by calling for the release of President Obama’s academic transcripts because he just can’t comprehend how the President got into Harvard, the time is now for all Republicans to end, and publicly, their flirtation with this rhetoric.
See, racism is a lot like a pregnancy–you can’t be just a little bit racist, nor a little bit pregnant. We know what Donald Trump and the birther crew are. But what about the rest of the GOP that helped keep this story in play?
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photo courtesy of Violentz via Flickr