Wednesday, April 27, 2011
"Birtherism" Equals Racism
The above photo, of course, with the caption "Now You Know Why No Birth Certificate," is from the scandalously racist email that got a local leading California Republican in a bit of hot water this month. Anyone familiar with American racism can recognize this, like the many racist graphic "jokes" that circulated during the 2008 election, and see it for what it is. It came as part of a resurgence in the so-called birther movement, revitalized by buffoon Donald Trump (who President Obama called, today, obliquely, a "carnival barker").
Because oddly, today the White House released the so-called long form birth certificate that the birther racists claimed was being suppressed. President Obama called the affair "silliness" and a "distraction." Immediately buffoon Trump and professional quitter Sarah Palin tried to take credit for some kind of triumph, while conspiracy-minded teabaggers went deeper into their illogical, factually-challenged attempt to delegitimize the president guilty of being born black and bearing a full complement of Arabic names. Now Trump is questioning Obama's educational credentials, suggesting he's just a beneficiary of affirmative action.
To my knowledge no President has had his citizenship questioned before. And indeed there is no evidence that President Obama is anything other than who he says he is. There is not now, and never has been, any controversy over these issues. Before today's release there has been ample evidence — birth documents, eyewitness testimony, newspaper birth notices — that back up the facts of Obama's birth. There is no controversy over whether a person born in the United States, regardless of the marital or immigration or citizenship status of his parents, is other than a natural citizen. Any doubts over these questions are sheer inventions and fabrications in the fevered racist imaginations of the teabaggers and their enablers. There is no controversy among anyone with a regard for facts. Every last one of the birther assertions is manufactured out of the whole cloth of dishonesty, lies and racism, carefully pitched to the dogwhistle frequency of modern racist discourse in which few actually use the "n" word but everybody (except apparently the media) knows exactly what is being implied.
The question remains who is playing this game more successfully. Our friends at the excellent "We Are Respectable Negroes" blog wrote today that Obama has just surrendered to the birther movement by attempting to appease their irrational hatreds. In his statement today Obama failed to call out the racism that is so self evident in the birther fantasy. He made instead his typical appeal for bipartisan unity, which is certainly classic Obama.
Today's document will not silence the teabagger lynch mob, because they don't actually care whether Obama can back up his identity or not. That's all a smokescreen to cover their real racist agenda, and that agenda, fast becoming the currency of the Republican Party itself, is a mortal threat to a democratic and secular society.