What Really Motivates the Birthers?

Just coincidentally a week or so ago, I was looking for something in my desk and came across an envelope with my mother’s handwriting on it. Just one word–“Important.” I had a vague memory of seeing it when I was going through papers after her death, so I decided to open it. Guess what I discovered? A Certificate of Live Birth.

For some reason I needed a copy of my certificate of live birth in 1990 and sent for it. The certificate itself is a Xerox on elaborately bordered, special paper (manufactured by the American Bank Note Company, no less), which bears the words, “Certification of Vital Record.” It was produced by the Commonwealth of Virginia, Department of Health, Division of Vital Records. At the bottom right is the seal of the Virginia Department of Health. At the bottom left is a raised version of that same seal. In tiny print at the bottom, it reads, “This is to certify that this is a true and correct reproduction or abstract of the official record filed with the Virginia Department of Health, Richmond, Virginia.” That’s followed by the photocopied signature of the then State Registrar.

It has a birth number and all sorts of interesting statistical information. Of particular note is box 15 “Birthplace (State or foreign country)”. Typed in is the word, “Virginia.” Not, Virginia, USA; just Virginia. As certified by the doctor attending, a Dr. Jones–hmm, that sounds like a made-up name, doesn’t it–it even includes the time of birth: 2:20 a.m.

All of this bureaucratic information, the birth number, the raised seal, even the facsimile of the original record, etc., is reminiscent of the Certificate of Live Birth for Barack Hussein Obama, which I’ve viewed at Politifact.com, a 2009 Pulitzer Prize winner, by the way. However, according to Donald Trump and other birthers, there is a question as to whether I was really born in Virginia, because for them, a certificate of live birth doesn’t cut it.

I guess my mother and father conspired before my birth to make me a bureaucrat in a Federal agency, so they submitted false information to the Commonwealth of Virginia so it would appear I was born there. How devious is that?

Then, deeper in the envelope, I found a 1976 version of my certificate of live birth. Though the middle portion of this version is the exact same record as the 1990 version, the whole certificate is a Xerox. Uh, oh. I now have two versions of my certificate of live birth. Highly questionable. The information on both versions match to every letter and comma, but two versions? I better not run for office–I have my own conspiracy in the making.

Then, there’s the whole matter of one citizen verbally abusing another citizen over the production of a “long form” birth certificate. I went to Virginia’s state government Web site and searched for “long form birth certificate.” No hits. Apparently, either of my two versions of my certificate of live birth is a long form birth certificate because it’s the only birth certificate Virginia issues.

I am still amazed that we’re discussing this in America. I’ve written before about how my mother and her family came to America when she was very young and how a town in Virginia “adopted” them, got them SSN’s, and any other government form a citizen would need. So, yes, I’m an anchor baby, apparently. The fact that my mother wasn’t a citizen didn’t come to light until the late 1970’s when she and my father were supposed to go to the Soviet Union at the request of the U.S. Department of Agriculture for an agricultural expo. She simply refused to apply for a passport, and my father finally figured it out and decided it would be way too complicated to get her “established” as a citizen. They didn’t go. Several flags got raised, but my mother was never investigated. She even served several times on juries. The difference, of course, was my mother looked like the majority of people in the country at the time she immigrated. She was European and white, not of African descent and dark, like our President.

And that, my dear Watson, is the crux of the matter and the answer to the question I posed in the title of this post. Would anyone be questioning the validity of President Obama’s certificate of live birth if he were as white as Sen. John McCain? Of course not. McCain was born in the Panama Canal Zone when his father, on active duty in the military, was stationed there. That should hold the same concern for the ignorant Tea Baggers who raise the issue of the President’s birth, but it doesn’t. (By the way, children born overseas to American citizens, whether on active duty in the military or not, are U.S. citizens, but you have to dig into the law to know that, and we all know the Tea Baggers only go for the superficial.)

Most people and the media, as usual, have tried to overlook the overt racism in Trump’s and the other birthers’ claims, saying it’s just politics as usual. No, it’s not. Every time Trump or Bachmann or the half-governor of Alaska or any of the other self-aggrandizing publicity hogs mentions that the President may not have been born here or questions why he doesn’t produce that elusive long form birth certificate, call them on their racism. Point out exactly what they are–so insecure we have a President who doesn’t look like them that they have to resort to childish finger-pointing and bullying. They are racists, plain and simple. That, not patriotism, is their sole motivation.

Comments and Such

On the proposed bill in the Georgia legislature which would make it a crime to have an abortion or a miscarriage, either of which would be punishable by life in prison or the death penalty–Really? Are you nuts? Aren’t you the same rightwingnut jobs who are worried about Sharia law taking over the U.S.? If you want to get a glimpse of a world amid such laws as this, read Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale.

On Karl Rove wanting to hold the Obama Administration accountable for FOIA responses: During the eight years when Rove was whatever he was in the White House, government agencies were told that FOIA responses were not a priority. When 9/11 happened that gave them justification. Almost anything was classified as “national security” and didn’t have to be answered. Before the Bush 2 Administration, we were held accountable up the line to the agency Administrator for timely FOIA responses. This is the height of hypocrisy and, well, craven.

On Donald Trump going “birther”: I’ve never had any admiration whatsoever for this particular capitalist, but after his questioning whether Obama was really born here just shows that he’s nuts and anyone who votes for him is likewise.

On bombing the crap out of Libya: I still don’t know how I feel about this. I don’t want to knee-jerk to the usual progressive position because bombing the crap out of Milosevic’s army got the point across about ethnic cleansing. However, cruise missiles are expensive, especially when you think about how many teachers that money could hire.

On Ann “Give Me a Radiation Vaccine” Coulter and Andrew “Selective Video Editing” Breitbart indicating that the Presidency is “beneath” She Who Shall Not Be Named: Am I in Superman’s Bizarro World? I can’t think of anyone who would diminish the institution of the Presidency more than the Half Governor of Alaska, and I thought Bush 2 did a good job of it.

On Ron and/or Rand Paul running for President: Welcome to the fascist Ayn Rand-verse and returning high-volume flush toilets to the market. No, Ayn Rand’s books are not great literature. They’re fascist trash, and I’m not waiting for John Galt.

On the first anniversary of the passage of health care reform: Thanks for removing the pre-existing condition block, thanks for letting kids stay on their parents’ insurance until they’re 26, thanks for making certain insurance companies can’t drop kids who get sick, and all the other positive aspects contained in the law. Now, let’s work on improving it by passing single-payer health insurance.

On Congress’ record of job production since the Repubs took over: Mr. Boehner, where are the effing jobs? Get your heads out of culture warfare and do the people’s business.

On “unaffiliated” being the fastest-growing religious group: Thank God! (That was a joke.)

On pictures of U.S. soldiers posing with the bodies of dead civilians: Gentlemen–and I use that term loosely–you disgrace your uniform and your country with these juvenile stunts, though I understand you’ve been conditioned not to think of the enemy as human beings. They are, and think how your mother would feel if a Talib posed with your body as if it were a trophy, because idiotic stunts like yours will only affect your fellow soldiers. I have a few more words for you: dishonorable discharge and Levinworth.

On the death of Elizabeth Taylor: Seventy-nine was too young, and she’ll always be timeless to me as Velvet Brown in National Velvet. She was, as some have said, the last Star, and her talent and her humanity were immeasurable. If I believed in heaven, I’d say she and Richard Burton were having a longed for, grand reunion about now.