The subject of President Obama's birth certificate occasioned spilling far too much ink, both real and virtual. So what have we learned?
I leave the politics to others. The one fact I learned from studying the President's Certificate of Live Birth is that he entered the world at 7:24 p.m. I knew the date (August 4, 1961) and the place (Honolulu, Hawaii) before.
Does the time of day someone was born matter? It seems to make no difference to the President's supporters and critics. But it matters a lot to devotees of Chinese astrology.
Anyone who reads the place mat at the local Chinese restaurant (technically, that would be a Chinese-American restaurant) knows that the Chinese zodiac has a 12-year cycle with an animal ruling over each year. The year 1961 was a year of the Ox. According to my Wikipedia version of the place mat, Ox people are: "dependable, ambitious, calm, methodical, born leader, patient, hardworking, conventional, steady, modest, logical, resolute, tenacious." That sounds like Obama, at least according to his supporters. His critics might find some traction in the negative characteristics: "stubborn, dogmatic, hot-tempered, narrow-minded, materialistic, rigid, demanding."
However, in Chinese astrology, the animal assigned by your year cycle only describes what others perceive or how you present yourself. It also has to do with relationships between grandparents and grandchildren. It does not make sense that everyone born the same year would have exactly the same characteristics. Thus, you have two other animals, your "inner" animal, assigned by month of birth, and your "secret" animal, assigned by the hour of birth.
The inner animal is supposed to represent the person's parents or childhood. It is considered more important than the year animal in determining the circumstances of adult life. Born in early August, President Obama's inner animal is the ram. Again, to quote the place mat, rams are "righteous, sincere, sympathetic, mild-mannered, shy, artistic, creative, gentle, compassionate, understanding, mothering, peaceful, generous, seeks security."
Readers of Obama's autobiographical books will find resonance with the characteristics he ascribes to his mother. For the critics, rams "can be moody, indecisive, over-passive, worrier, pessimistic, over-sensitive, complainer, weak-willed." Obama senior?
But Obama's inner animal is not new news, since we already knew the month and year he was born. The real revelation is that his secret animal is the dog, the reigning animal for people born between 7:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. The secret animal is thought to be the person's truest self, representing the person's children, later life, and contributions to the world.
What does the place mat have to say? It would find Obama "honest, intelligent, straightforward, loyal, sense of justice and fair play, attractive, amicable, unpretentious, sociable, open-minded, idealistic, moralistic, practical, affectionate, sensitive, easy going." Sounds like the Obama his supporters know and love. For the critics, a dog "can be cynical, lazy, cold, judgmental, pessimistic, worrier, stubborn, quarrelsome."
If anyone wants to test the validity of this system, I give this data for those who know me: I was born in a year of the dragon, month of the tiger, and hour of the dragon. This would mean that my inner self and outer self are the same: "Magnanimous, stately, vigorous, strong, self-assured, proud, noble, direct, dignified, eccentric, intellectual, fiery, passionate, decisive, pioneering, artistic, generous, and loyal." At least, I'd like to think so.