The Bigotry of the Birthers
John McCain was not born in the United States of America. He was born on a military installation in the Panama Canal zone where his father, a navy officer, was stationed. In light of the ongoing uproar by the “birthers” about the authenticity of President Obama’s citizenship, this is worrisome.
If proof of Obama’s citizenship were the only issue, the so-called “birthers” would have been just as vocal about the legitimacy questions surrounding McCain’s bid for President as they have been about the authenticity of President Obama’s birth certificate. After all, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander right?
Well, not exactly. Since the success of the civil rights movement, African-Americans have been actively and purposefully assimilating into mainstream American society. Many white Americans have grudgingly watched the ascendance of the African-American community and judged it a fraud.
Whether it’s affirmative action, criminal activity, or the prejudice of the liberal media, the success of African-Americans is widely viewed as the result of varied powerful interests who tilt the scale in favor of African-Americans. The African American success story is therefore viewed as resulting from some grand experiment rather than the natural outgrowth of human desire meeting hard work.
Couple this wickedly false assumption with the fact that well to do African-Americans are now succeeding not only beyond their own wildest dreams, but also beyond the dreams of their white counterparts and Houston, we have a problem.
Some white Americans have suffered through Oprah, P. Diddy, and Colin Powell in much the same way that many people suffered through the Great Depression. With painful hunger, seething anger, and most importantly, the desire for retribution among those who’d cheated them. During the Great Depression, the villains were big oil and big monopolies, today the villains are successful African-Americans.
And as is the case with all villains, they’re often viewed as something “other” than what the rest of us are. They’re “monsters”, “animals”, “aliens” etc. Now fast forward to 2009 and the controversy surrounding President Obama’s birth certificate.
In order for many of the “birthers” to feel comfortable with themselves and their own failures in life, they must relegate President Obama and his success to the category of “other”. It is much easier for the under-achievers who make up the fringe group called the “birthers” to feel good about themselves if they can minimize the President’s accomplishments by charging that he is not a black man who rose from meager beginnings to become the President of the United States of America.
If, by stark contrast, President Obama is a man born in the “Kenyan slums” who became President by deception and therefore, has questionable motives for being President, then the “birthers” are never forced to face the true reasons why they, unlike Obama, have never seen their American dreams come true. If President Obama continues to be viewed as some sort of Manchurian candidate, the birthers can continue to point to things outside of themselves as sufficient reasons why they haven’t achieved their own full medium of success while living in the greatest country in the world. President Obama stole their slice of the American pie!
It is this wimpy and whiny attitude which explains why John McCain being born in Panama was a non-issue, while President Obama being born in Hawaii is an utter conspiracy. The “birthers” are not a group of people with legitimate questions about Obama’s birth certificate who want those questions answered. To the contrary, they are a group of disaffected white people making excuses for their lot in life.
Viewed from this prism, it is much more believable and acceptable for a white man born of privilege, John McCain, to become a candidate for the Presidency of the United States than it is for a black man born of disadvantage to actually be elected President of the United States. This is the bigotry of the “birthers”.
At Congressman Mike Castle’s recent town hall meeting, one of the “birthers” stood up and railed, “why are you people ignoring his birth certificate…my grandfather fought in World War II, the greatest generation and I don’t want this flag to change. I want MY country back!” Sorry lady, this is not YOUR country. We share this country and you can discount the achievements of African- Americans all you like, but we’re here to stay. And the sooner you are able to own your failures and not lay them at the feet of successful African-Americans, the sooner we can all begin to tackle the real issues facing our country.