Donald Trump has been running around the countryside, playing the CEO of Village Idiot, Inc. to the hilt these last few weeks, and our lazy, unprincipled national media corps has hung right with him, broadcasting every inane, bombastic utterance that explodes from his mouth. I figured President Obama was going to release his birth certificate at some point, although, for my money, I would have waited a little longer, just to keep Karl Rove from sleeping at night as this cancerous obsession with the legitimacy of our President’s citizenship ate away at any chances the GOP had to regain the White House.
“We do not have time for this kind of silliness.”
President Barack Obama, White House press conference
As the president himself stated, this release of his birth certificate will not satisfy that subset of Americans who need to believe that he was not born in this country. These “birthers” cannot reconcile the legitimacy of an African American man being president with their own self image. In order to truly understand these people, it would help to peruse a book published in the nineteenth century by James Shepard Pike called The Prostrate State: South Carolina Under Negro Government. One excerpt in particular seems to show the long unbroken line of racial animosity from Reconstruction to modern times:
It would be a violent presumption against the manliness, the courage, and the energy of South Carolina white men, to allow the State to remain in the permanent keeping of her present rulers. It would be a testimony against the claims of Anglo-Saxon blood, and it would be an emphatic testimony to the decline of public virtue that would be worse than all.
These considerations alone should be sufficient to inspire every white man in South Carolina with a resolution to achieve a reform that will bring the State back to its ancient respectability.
Substitute the word “American” for “South Carolina”, and “Nation” for “State”, and you’ve got the mission statement of every birther group out there in black and white.
The president is right – “we do not have time for this kind of silliness.” But the cottage industry that has grown up around President Barack Obama’s birth certificate is more robust than the spawn of books and movies about Hillary Clinton and the death of Vincent Foster during the Clinton Administration. It is highly unlikely that the furor over the president’s birth certificate is going to go away for those kinds of people, like the erstwhile presidential hopeful Donald Trump, who desperately needs to believe that the presidency of our nation’s first African American commander-in-chief is an illegitimate one. In fact, I thought the president was pretty charitable to Trump – there are a whole lot of things I would have called Mr. Trump besides “carnival barker”.
They say there’s no fool like an old fool, but I’m starting to think that a rich fool might be worse.