Tag Archives: birthers

Resolving Any Doubts……

Does anyone seriously doubt the persistence of racism in America? Or the influence of that racism on our politics?

Phyllis Schlafly–never a subtle communicator–responded to news that minority births in the US had outnumbered Caucasian ones by explaining that this is a calamity because “those people” don’t “share our values.”  

I devoutly hope they don’t share hers.

A lone statement by a woman who has long been loony-tunes, of course, wouldn’t confirm the persistence of anything. But Schlafly is hardly alone.

Just in the last week, we’ve learned about the gazillionaire from Chicago who was planning to bankroll a SuperPac ad campaign focused upon President Obama’s links to his former Pastor, the not-so-reverend Jeremiah Wright. According to information about the plan leaked to the media, the ads had a decidedly racist cast.

And we mustn’t forget the news that Arizona’s Attorney General is debating whether to place the President’s name on that state’s November ballot, since the AG “isn’t sure” Obama was born in the United States.

The question of Obama’s place of birth is another one of those dog whistles. Most of us hear “place of birth,” but the intended audience hears “doesn’t look like us.” He’s “other.” Not a “real American.”

Look–it is absolutely possible to disagree with Barack Obama on specific policy issues. It is absolutely possible to argue that he has mishandled some governmental function. But most of the crap that gets thrown at this President has absolutely nothing to do with the normal give and take of policy or political disputes. “He’s trying to change America!” “He’s a socialist!” “He’s an elitist!”–all boil down to variants of “he’s black.”

And black people, you know, “don’t share our values.”

Sometimes, All You Can Do is Laugh

Yesterday, I got an email from the Obama campaign. The campaign has obviously decided to have some fun with the “birthers”–in return for a contribution, I can get a mug or a tee-shirt with “Made in the USA” on one side, and Obama’s long-form birth certificate on the other.

Today, my sister sent me a link to a video message from George Takei to the Tennessee legislature, which is considering legislation called the “Don’t say gay” bill. It would ban the use of the word “gay” in Tennessee schools.George has offered “Takei” as an alternative, and explains how that will work.

And of course, in my post yesterday, I noted some of the more creative reactions to tomorrow’s anticipated Rapture. (My favorite remains the “After-Rapture Looting Party.”)

I think all of these responses are perfect. Clearly, the crazies among us don’t respond well to facts, evidence, science, logic or common sense.

I’m having a good laugh and then I’m going out to saddle up my dinosaur.

The Inmates and the Asylum….

Every morning I wake up to additional evidence that America has lost its collective mind. Just a brief sample from the morning news:

  • Obama finally got so fed up with the birther nonsense that he posted the long-form birth certificate that Hawaii normally declines to provide. As we might have guessed, that simply moved the target, with crackpots claiming it was never about the place of his birth, but the fact that his father was Kenyan. This, despite clear language in the 14th Amendment that makes any child born in the U.S. a citizen. We know the crazies are aware of that language, because they want to change it in order to deny automatic citizenship to children of immigrants. The Onion was right: next the “afterbirthers” will demand to see the umbilical cord. (Stephen Colbert has already called for Obama to release his grade school report card…but how do you satirize people who are already walking self-parodies?)
  • John Yoo–author of the infamous Bush Administration memos–says the President doesn’t have the authority to require businesses bidding on government contracts to disclose their political contributions. According to Yoo, U.S. Presidents can authorize torture, issue Signing Statements that invalidate duly-enacted legislation (and by implication invalidate the Constitutionally-required Separation of Powers), but in his alternate universe, they can’t require people who want to do business with the government to provide information that might disclose improper influence-peddling.
  • Donald Trump is still on my teevee.

I rest my case.

It’s a Mad, Mad World

Well, I see that a new poll has found that 51% of likely GOP primary voters believe Obama was not born in the United States. (The poll did not offer a breakdown between those who believe he’s Kenyan and those who don’t think Hawaii is part of the U.S.) The percentage of “birthers” was even higher among those with a positive impression of Sarah Palin.

It is really rather amazing to see the tenacity of this assertion, especially in the face of so much evidence to the contrary. Equally mystifying are the large numbers of Republicans who continue to insist that the President is a Muslim (many of the same people who condemned his former Christian pastor).

I think there is really a simple explanation for both accusations. We live at a time when it just isn’t considered acceptable to use the “N” word, or to be forthrightly bigoted against African-Americans. And that, at least, is progress. But it presents a dilemma for the folks whose real problem with the President is the color of his skin. Better–or so these folks evidently think–to cloak your racial animus by attributing your disapproval to the illegality of his election, or to your opposition to (okay, bigotry about) his “real” religion.

It must be really awful to live with so much fear of people who don’t look like you.