Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Birthers and Racism

I'm a very political person, so please bear with me. Those who seek to deny Obama's election to the presidency by virtue of his birth (the charming sobriquet "birthers") are, to me, inexplicable. You don't like his policies? Fine. You don't like his cabinet choices? Okay. You fundamentally disagree with his political outlook? Great. Start throwing your energies into trying to defeat him in 2012. But to try to deny him his right to be president as duly elected in this country--and to my knowledge there is no movement to declare that election fraudulent or questionable, unlike some other elections I could name--you've lost me. And not only that, you've enraged me, because the lack of bonafides of other U.S. presidents hasn't been an issue, obviously, for a number of people who have sat in the Oval Office. How does been president of the Screen Actors Guild or being the owner of a baseball team qualify one for the being President of the United States?

I don't watch much television--the news is about it--but finally one of the more august journalists, Bob Schieffer, labeled what I believe is behind the genesis of this movement: old-fashioned racism. However, there is an interesting article in Salon today that delves into this issue a little more deeply, and, yes, birtherism seems to have its roots in old-fashioned racism, and it's yet another example of how the Civil War and the issues surrounding that conflict still confront us over one hundred years later:

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