Obama “birther” issue is born again

April 21, 2011

BLOGGER’S NOTE: I no sooner posted this than I read that Donald Trump (and probably others) are apparently backing off the birther issue somewhat and only raised it to get attention — a cheap shot indeed.


The “birther” issue has resurfaced (well, it never completely went away in crazy land), most notably with Donald Trump questioning whether Barack Obama was actually born in the United States and therefore has met a basic requirement of being president.

(If you listen and watch Trump, though, his insincerity seems somewhat transparent, such as when he turns around and proclaims he hopes that he is a citizen. Trump and others sometimes back off a direct challenge to his citizenship, depending on how skillful their questioners are or who the audience is — might they be just seeking instant publicity and playing to the crowd? You think?) 

The disappointing thing about all of this is that it gets so much play (and in my own miniscule way, I add to this) and that the people who proclaim that there is a problem are just showing racism and religious strife and intolerance (hey, he’s an African, or a secret Muslim) or are appealing to the base instincts of some of our society for the purpose of drawing cheap and instant publicity for themselves.

While the case does seem curious when you try to research it on the web, pretty much it has been decided. I mean if the Hawaiian state government officials are satisfied he is a natural-born citizen, born in their state, it seems to me the issue is pretty much settled. Add to that the fact that Obama has been president for going on three years, what would we do? Nullify everything that has happened? Tell the rest of the world, never mind, it didn’t happen? Impeach him (that of course would satisfy his detractors maybe and maybe would be in order if he really had committed fraud)?

If there really was an honest question, the issue should have been resolved in the courts before he became president. As I understand it was, in a way; the courts wouldn’t hear it for lack of evidence or standing or both.

When I try to do a brief web search (I’m not going to be doing a thorough investigation, physically going to the courthouse and such) I keep reading about the fact that something called a “Certification of Live Birth” or that is a photocopy thereof, has been released. But some say that is a short form for something else called a “Certificate (not a “certification”) of Live Birth” and and does not carry the legal weight of what they would call the  actual necessary correctly-titled legal document.

Having two children myself, born in California, I do know that parents will get two sets of documents, but I am too lazy to research my own family records (if I could even find them) to recall which is which. But I have in mind that we did get one that is not considered the official birth certificate first and then later got the actual bona fide birth certificate. But it is all kind of bureaucratese to me. I mean why do you have to have different official documents noting your birth? In the end it is the government officials of a particular state (or maybe even county) who decide what proves your birth (and in a dispute, the court system).

And of course sometimes people lose their birth certificates and worse yet there are county courthouse fires and floods and such where old records go missing. In those cases people have to get someone or ones to attest to their own memories of you being born or being around at a certain time.

My mother tells me that when she went to apply for Social Security the courthouse told her they did not have her birth certificate. Now she is 100, and it seems to me her story has changed over the years, because I thought she originally told me the certificate was lost in a courthouse fire, but now she tells me she thinks maybe partly due to the fact that she was born at home, and maybe the doctor did not notify authorities, that no record was ever made. But she was able to get the member of a prominent family in her locale of birth to attest to her being born. Good thing she never ran for or was elected president. 

Most of us do not carry our birth certificates around and are seldom asked for them (except if we look Mexican and are in Arizona), but there are cases where we are, such as I recall when one of my brothers signed up for Little League (I think just to verify age, not necessarily citizenship). I had to come up with mine years ago (for a home loan? Don’t recall) and made a special trip to San Francisco and stood in line with a whole bunch of people I had nothing in common with except we were all born in San Francisco — that is the one time I enjoyed standing in line. I felt like I was part of something special; I belonged to a distinct class.

I actually blogged on the birther issue before and I am left asking the same question:

Even though it’s a pain, I can’t see why Obama just doesn’t have the original original, standard birth certificate released for public viewing on the internet and in addition allow anyone and everyone to go to the courthouse in Hawaii, or wherever the records are kept, and see the actual document, the same document any other Hawaiian would have to show if asked for a birth certificate.

(It could be that Obama sees it to his advantage to let the seemingly crazies make fools of themselves.)

If for some reason there is no document, but the Hawaiian officials are still solid that he is certified to be a natural-born citizen born Hawaii, it might be curious, but legal is what the authorities say is legal. There are probably others who have record mix-ups, but when they need proof of citizenship, the authorities go to what they have and decide from there.

There is some talk that Obama does not want to release the original (even though he and his supporters claim, apparently using semantics, that they have released the “original”) because it has something embarrassing on it, such as a question of who his father really is. But that is just rumor, made possible, or course, by apparently withholding part of the information.

As far as I can see, it is really a curious non-serious issue, except that many who were and are uncomfortable about having someone not only black, but worldly (having lived overseas in his childhood) as president are eager to jump on anything they can, and political- and other publicity-minded opportunists are more than willing to jump on the bandwagon and use the prejudice to their advantage.

But what if it could be proved that he was not a citizen eligible to be president?

I guess impeachment would be in order. So why has that not been attempted?

Because it is probably more effective or self-satisfying to just to make noise.