Kevin Frisch: Now come the ‘afterbirthers’
After three years of demanding President Barack Obama release his long-form birth certificate, “birthers” aren’t about to let a little thing like President Barack Obama releasing his long-form birth certificate settle the debate.
Obama — appearing about as frustrated as you would expect a sitting president compelled to further document his citizenship to be — gave the doubters last week what they’ve been clamoring for. The White House released a long-form version of his birth certificate and the president held a press conference in which he sought to finally put to rest questions about the legitimacy of his U.S. citizenship.
Good luck, Mr. President.
“OBAMA BLINKED. NOW GAME BEGINS,” was the headline of a press release from an unfortunate author whose forthcoming book, “Where’s the Birth Certificate: The Case that Barack Obama is not Eligible to be President,” would, in a world in which reality had any effect on ideology, now be irrelevant.
“After the surprise release by the White House of what it claims is Barack Obama’s long-form birth certificate,” begins the release (italics mine; stupidity theirs). It goes on predictably from there.
“Check out the records” urged a reader in an email. “Donald needs to check out how and when the Mother got out of Kenya? Plane records?”
Oh brother! Original, full-blown birth certificates aren’t enough now that they’ve been produced. We’ll also need complete travel records for both parental lineages, going back three generations.
“Donald,” of course is Donald Trump, the self-centered game show host who has been attempting to boost the ratings of his pointless television program by pretending to be thinking about running for the Republican presidential nomination.
Trump’s “platform” — anti-abortion, pro-business and rescind the new healthcare law — doesn’t distinguish him from any of the other dozens of potential GOP candidates. So he has also made a big deal of questioning the president’s citizenship, which distinguishes him from about half of them.
Now it turns out he was wrong, and Mr. Trump lost no time in saying he was sorry to have cast aspersions on the president’s heritage. And by “sorry,” we mean “proud.”
“Today I am very proud of myself because I have accomplished something that nobody else has been able to accomplish,” Trump said, referring to the release of the Obama birth certificate.
It would be enough to make you feel sorry for Republicans, if the party didn’t provide such a ready home for this kind of lunacy. (“Media: admit it, Trump forced the issue,” tweeted Sarah Palin, at once missing the point and obscuring it.)
For many of us, this bogus issue was never an issue to begin with. For some, it always will be. “Birthers” — we can now call them “afterbirthers” — will justify, obfuscate and continue to believe. For them, the “issue” will live on.
But there’s another group for whom it will live on: black voters, many of whom see the persistent questioning of Obama’s nationality as not just political.
“It’s partly the American tradition of paranoia,” William Jelani Cobb, professor of Africana studies and history at Rutgers University, told the Associated Press, “and partly just plain old racism.”
That’s a nice legacy for the afterbirthers to continue to stoke. And it makes one wonder: Are they, like their most recent mouthpiece, proud of themselves?
Contact Kevin Frisch at (585) 394-0770, ext. 257, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.