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Posted by on Apr 27, 2011 in Breaking News, Politics | 0 comments

Birtherism: Racism

This is probably the most difficult article I have ever written for The Moderate Voice. The issue of whether Obama was a natural born citizen of the US has been around since the primary elections of 2008. In fact, if I’m not mistaken, this issue started to gain traction after Rev. Wright affair when Obama’s oppositions (I must say, spearheaded by Hillary Clinton) started questioning Obama’s love for the country – so I guess after his much praised speech on race, questioning Obama’s birthplace is a ‘logical’ next step.

For the past two and half weeks, the media in US (and in some cases internationally) have devoted worryingly too much time to this very issue. It has held its own in the debate forum next to “lesser” important issues such as…erm, US debt, gas prices and those two (plus one) wars that America is involved in.

I think it’s also important to state where I am personally coming from on this issue.

I am a black man who was born in Malawi, but has been raised in the UK since the age of 5. I am currently engaged to a white woman who was born in the UK. On the very basic level, I was heartened that the US, despite its very complicated recent history with race relations, elected a mixed-race President. I am now living in a world where my future children (knock on wood) no longer have the excuse of their racial orientation to explain why they can’t follow their dream. But the coverage of the Rev.Wright affair and this birther…thing has left a bad taste.

I hate using race as a rationale to complex problems, but it has made me sick to watch the mainstream media “not call a dog, a dog” when it comes to people questioning Obama’s citizenship. Advocates or ‘sympathizers’ of birthers argued that it was very simple to solve and move on from – he could just release his birth certificate. Even after Obama released his certificate of live-birth which in some cases is more legally useful than the long-form birth-certificate, birthers and the mainstream media kept on with this issue. Why? Again, they would tell you because he hadn’t released his ‘real’ birth certificate, the short-form wasn’t good enough for them, even though it was good enough in a court of law. In a court of US law!

You had a birth announcement which could only come from the health-department appear in the local-newspaper, and that wasn’t good enough.

You had Republicans from the state of Hawaii say they have seen his real birth-certificate and that he was in fact born in America, again, not good enough.

You had private investigators, fact checkers and media investigators saying the man was born in the US of A but again not good enough.

You had actual elected officials question their President’s birth-place in congress and in public addresses.

(This is the one which kills me) You had the leader of the House of Representatives say that he took the President at his word that he was born in the US but neglected to denounce the birthers and their issue.

I personally find all of this incredible.

So why not call a dog, a dog and just say this issue, birtherism, is racist? As plain as that. I can’t find any logical rationale for people to question this man’s nationality and therefore his legitimacy to be President. As far as I know (happy to be proven wrong), no US president has been subjected to the same pressure as Barack Obama to disclose his long-form birth certificate to prove that he is in fact who he says he is. Personally, I thought there was more of an argument to be made against John McCain’s legitimacy to seek the presidency as he was born in US controlled Panama – I don’t remember his being forced to release his birth-certificate to the press. Where’s both Bush’s certificate? How about both Clinton’s? Reagan’s maybe? Were they released during their campaigns or presidencies? How do we know that they were not born in some far off village in Africa where they gather, dancing and chanting around a large cauldron of boiled human flesh, Huh?

I’m saddened and furious that Obama has had to release his long birth-certificate. I’m furious that Donald Trump got as much attention as he did when every single one of his assertions had been debunked from different independent sources. I feel ashamed that Obama was not strong enough to just let this go and accept that regardless of whether he releases his certificate or not, people are going to hate him regardless – many for legitimate reasons but others, like these birthers, simply because he is mixed race.

Trump is not trying to pressure Obama into releasing his school records because apparently he was not a good enough student to go to the Ivy League universities that he went to. An educated guess is that Trump is implying that Obama has benefited from extreme affirmative action…ok…a fair point if you ignore the fact that the President was also the president of the Harvard Law Review.

When will this madness stop?