The Battle Over Obama's Birth
Circulating the Internet for months have been the claims Barack Obama was not born in the United States, is not a natural born U.S. citizen, and, in fact, was born in Kenya. Of course, if Obama were not a U.S. citizen, he could not have been a U.S. Senator and he could not be selected President of the United States. In fact, he could not have qualified as a Primary Election candidate when he announced his candidacy.
The Obama campaign fought these rumors by providing a copy of his actual birth certificate, but they persist even today as Obama is about to ascend to office with nonbelievers arguing the birth certificate was adulterated. Even when the State of Hawaii Health Department confirmed its authenticity, those wishing to not believe close their eyes and ignore the facts (or, more importantly, the reality any court will defer to the appropriate Hawaiian legal authority to validate the 1961 birth of Barack Hussein Obama in Hawaii).
Despite numerous investigations which confirmed the validity of the Hawaiian birth certificate, the nonbelievers have continued their campaign --- even going as far as to launch lawsuits seeking a definitive judgment regarding Barack Obama's status as a U.S. citizen. Can one imagine a similar vendetta against any other president-elect?
An investigation by Snopes.com -- the urban legend-busting Website -- definitively concluded Obama's Hawaiian birth certificate was genuine and Obama, indeed, always was a U.S. citizen.
Nonbelievers point to an audio tape of a tanslated interview allegedly with 86 year-old Sarah Onyango Obama in which she confirms she was "present" in Kenya when Barack Obama was born. With nine or more Obama children at which she may have been present, it is difficult to know what the 86 year-old paternal step-grandmother was thinking when she was asked whether or not she was "present" at Barack Obama's birth.
And could her translated affirmative answer have been referring to Barack Obama's half-siblings or even to Barack Obama, Sr.? And was that even Sarah Onyango Obama on the poor quality recording?
Risking It All
It seems absurd to believe anyone who is not a U.S. citizen would embark on the journey launched by Senator Obama two years ago. Even most schoolchildren know a person must be a U.S. citizen, born in this country, to qualify for the office of President. The accusation Barack Obama does not qualify is absurd in several respects. For anyone to put his or her family and him or herself through the ordeal of a presidential election with the foreknowledge winning could result in the forfeiture of the presidency is beyond rationality. Given the spotlight on candidates today, how could anyone imagine succeeding in a plot to change one's birthplace by almost 11,000 miles -- nearly half the distance around the world?
And to possibly take office knowing your "secret" could be revealed at any time -- humiliating your family, your friends, and your longtime supporters and colleagues as well as setting back the progress made by the generations upon whose shoulders you stand -- is a ludicrous concept.
Nevertheless, despite the extraordinary nature of such a gamble -- a gamble which risks the dedication of millions of Obama supporters, which risks basic tenets of honesty, which risks the progress made by minorities in the United States as represented by Barack Obama's candidacy and election, and which risks what many believe is the future of the nation -- millions of Americans today sincerely believe Obama is not a U.S. citizen.
Don't Forget the Clintons
The conspiracists who believe Obama is not a U.S. citizen include many of the same people who wildly accused Bill and Hillary Clinton of having stopped at nothing to gain power. They actually believe the Clintons have had dozens of people murdered in order to gain and stay in power.
The problem these conspiracists have is their own zealotry proves their case against Obama to be false. If you are one of those people who believe the Clintons would do absolutely anything to win and keep the presidency, then it becomes obvious they would have had someone file suit alleging Barack Obama did not qualify to be on the ballot -- with a request for a timely decision during the Primary Election campaign.
This could have been done in any number of Primary Election states at little expense. A state could have been selected early in the process -- well before anyone took Obama's campaign seriously. Because he initially was such an underdog at the time, Obama was an easy target. And trying the case in a state not likely to look warmheartedly upon an Obama candidacy would have made victory for the Clintons even more likely. But no such case ever was filed by Clinton supporters.
So why would Hillary Clinton not attempt such an easy knockout punch? After all, keeping your opponent off the ballot is the most inexpensive and efficacious way to win an election. And if Obama were knocked off the ballot in just one state for not having a valid birth certificate, it would have doomed his candidacy in every other state.
The reasons this was not done were twofold. First, although they are tough fighters, the Clintons' protocol is not to murder their political enemies. Second, the evidence has proven Barack Obama is an American citizen who was born in the United States.
The Real Conspirator
The wild accusation that Barack Obama is not a U.S. citizen not only is belied by the birth certificate validated by the State of Hawaii but is supported by the publication of a birth announcement shortly after Obama's birth. How and why would anyone make such an announcement at that time in 1961 unless the birth of Obama actually occurred? Such a conspiracy -- which might also require time travel -- is beyond far-fetched.
In the ultimate twist, conspiracists may next allege the person behind all of the accusations against Obama is none other than Senator and Vice-President-elect Joseph Biden. After all, they will opine, "Who has the most to gain from Obama's demise?"
If Obama forfeits the Presidency after being sworn in, one assumes Biden would take his place, although there could be a constitutional crisis because the legitimacy of Biden's own Vice Presidency would be called into question.
With Biden being accused of having sponsored legislation which helped credit card companies and other financial institutions at the expense of the American consumer, the conspiracists will come full circle and once again argue it is the pursuit of money by those in control of the nation's purse strings which was the ultimate motivation for the dethroning of Barack Obama.
The truth is Barack Obama is a natural-born U.S. citizen who is going to serve the country as its 44th President. Part of the rampant anti-Obama conspiracy phenomenon may be a reflection of how we have become a nation of Bad Losers -- with so many Americans refusing to accept the election of a black man to the nation's highest office.
While Phil Gramm's "nation of whiners" comment was the death knell for him politically, the truth is many of our fellow citizens forgot the importance of being a gracious loser on occasion. Good sportsmanship in politics, sports, and life in general -- despite the consummate example set by John McCain in his concession speech -- remains a rare commodity in America. With so many Americans unwilling to admit their candidate lost fair-and-square, they reach for the absurd -- with this presidential election being the ultimate case in point.
McCain should be recognized and thanked for setting such a high standard for graciousness and unity. He not only congratulated Obama but sincerely encouraged his followers to join ranks and support the incoming Administration. Those who voted for the Republican nominee or who otherwise opposed Obama should follow McCain's entreaty.
It truly is time for those against Obama -- for whatever reason -- simply to face reality and admit they lost. They can accept Obama as their new President and still be the Loyal Opposition. Given the crises the nation faces today, it will be more productive to spend time and energy addressing the nation's terribly serious problems than coming up with bogus accusations.
Aaron Harber hosts The Aaron Harber Show, seen Tuesdays at 8:00 pm and Wednesdays at 5:00 pm on PBS Station KBDI-TV Channel 12. Please go to www.HarberTV.com for more information. Send your comments and topic suggestions to Aaron@HarberTV.com. You also may view programs on a 24/7 basis via the "Broadcast Videos" section of the Website. (C) Copyright 2008 by Aaron Harber and USA Talk Network, Inc. All rights reserved.