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Thursday, October 07, 2010

Birther, or just wanting answers?

Flipping around on the internet, I found a few more stories disparaging "birthers" for questioning Pres. Obama's legal eligibility to actually be president of the US.

Now, I know that some of these Birthers are pretty far off the deep end when it comes to conspiracy theories and so on.  They've clearly got other issues and are using the "birther" controversy to support them.

On the other hand, a lot of people are honestly wanting to know, and not buying the official responses?


Well, let's go back to the presidential election.  It was claimed that one of the candidates was not eligible to be president because he was not born in the US and was therefor not a "natural born citizen."  The accusation was half right.  The Democrats were correct in saying the John McCain wasn't born in the US.  He was born in Panama.  Rather than make a stink about it, though, due process was used.  A couple of months after Obama was sworn in, I happened to catch a news article stating the court's conclusion.  It was ruled that McCain, having had 2 American citizens for parents, who's military father was posted in the Panama, who was born in a US military hospital on a US military base, was legally considered a "natural born citizen" of the US.  One does not actually have to be born in the US to be a US citizen.

No big controversy.  No hiding of records or sealing of files.  No angry and indignant rebuttals against the accusers.

Compare this to the same accusation being made against Obama.  Rather than following due process, a number of things happened.  First, those raising the question were accused of racism.  On top of that, Obama's records were sealed and no one was allowed to see his original birth certificate, which is apparently sealed in a vault in a hospital in Hawaii.

Now, I don't know how it's done in the US, but I have my official birth certificate in my wallet.  I also have my kids' certificates in a safe place until they are on their own, when they will then be responsible for them.  In Canada, every time birth is registered, a certificate is issued.  There are specific rules about them, too.  You're not allowed to laminate them, for example.  My husband's birth certificate accidentally ended up in the wash with the rest of his wallet, and is barely legible. He currently keeps it in a plastic holder, where it is still removable, to protect it, but he legally cannot laminate it to keep it from deteriorating.  If he wanted to replace it, there's a whole lot of bureaucratic red tape he would have to go through to get it done. 

The thing is, if it is necessary for someone to see my official ID, I have my birth certificate on hand to show them.  Proof, right there, of where and when I was born, with my full birth name.  I find it surprising that the US doesn't have the same thing, which led to some initial confusion on my part when doubts about Obama's citizenship were first brought up. 

So why are there still doubts, even though it has officially been stated that Obama is a "natural born citizen?"

Well, there's a few things.  It may have been changed fairly recently, but the rules of citizenship in the US has been that for a single mother, her children have her citizenship, but if she's married, they would have their biological father's citizenship.  Obama's biological father was Kenyan and, from what I've read, his parents were married when he was born, though I don't think they were when his mother became pregnant with him.   When did those rules get changed, and is the change retroactive?  I don't know.  That should be a simple thing to clear up, though.

Then there's the date and place of birth question.  Obama's Myspace page had his birthdate on a different year than what is now considered his official birth date.  It could have been a typo, but if so, why was it there for so long, even after the controversy arose?  It is also claimed he was born in Hawaii - but two different hospitals were listed.  Meanwhile, his paternal grandmother claimed to have been present during his birth - in Kenya.  Whatever the official story, Kenyans certainly consider him both Kenyan and Muslim (his faith being a whole different question).

Then we have the paperwork from when he attended school in Indonesia.  A Catholic school, if I remember correctly, where he went to school under the name Soetero (his step-father's name) and was listed as both an Indonesian citizen and a Muslim.

All of these questions should have been simple to answer, had due process been followed, as it was when the same question of citizenship was raised against McCain.  Why hasn't that happened?

The thing is, the more people (perhaps rightly) demonize the "birthers," the more they fuel the doubts.  More people are questioning Obama's legal citizenship now, because of this refusal to just go through the process and answer the question through the courts, then when these accusations first came out. 

Personally, I don't think a person has to be a "natural born" citizen to qualify for leadership of a country.  In fact, I've seen far more people who are passionately interested in their adopted country's well being than people who were born there.  I know my own parents have shown more pride and gratitude for their Canadian citizenship than most Canadians I've met who were born here, or who's families have been here for generations.  There's a tendency to take the country of one's birth for granted, I think. 

The US, however, has a requirement for their president to be a "natural born" citizen.  If there is any question about that status, why attack the questioners?  If McCain could follow due process and have his citizenship proved beyond any question, why won't Obama?  Doing so would answer the question once and for all, to the satisfaction of all involved.  A successful result would even allow the Democrats and Obama to rub the noses of Birthers in it, too. 

Instead, the courts refuse to hear the challenges.  Appeals are rejected. 


That on its own creates more doubt than any official announcement stating otherwise.  If Obama and his supporters want to end the Birther conspiracy theories, it could be easily done.  Obama would be vindicated and the Birthers humiliated.

Unless, of course, it turns out the Birthers are right.


  1. Anonymous7:58 AM

    Obama was born in Hawaii, not in Kenya. He has the official birth certificate of Hawaii, and the officials in Hawaii and the governor of Hawaii both confirmed the facts on the document, that Obama was born in Hawaii in 1961.

    If a person were born in Kenya, she or he would need a US travel document to get to the USA. That would be either a US visa on a foreign passport or the change to his mother's US passport to include him. One or the other would have had to have been applied for at a US Consulate in Kenya and granted before the child would be allowed to enter the USA.

    If such a document existed, it would be easy to find because the records of the application for the visa or for the change to the mother's passport would still be in the files of the US State Department, filed under applications for visas and applications for changes to passports in Kenya in 1961. The Republicans were in charge of the US State Department until January 2009. No such document has been found. No such document exists.

    Obama's Kenyan grandmother did NOT say that he was born in Kenya. She said in the tape recorded interview that he was born in Hawaii right after being asked "Where was he born?" She answered that question that he was born in Hawaii. Birther sites usually cut off the tape just before that question is asked. AND, in another interview, she said that the first that her family in Kenya had heard of Obama's birth was in a letter from Hawaii.

  2. Thank you for that information.

    It still leaves the question of why due process wasn't followed, as it was for McCain. Or why his records were instead sealed, etc. It would be easy for a Birther to claim conspiracy as to why these records haven't been found, etc.

    All of this would have gone away instead of building up into something bigger than it was during the election campaign. Which again brings up the question of "why?" This should have been - would have been - a non-story if they'd done the same thing McCain did and let it go through the courts right from the start. Because they haven't, it has instead fed the Birther's suspicions.

    I'm still confused by how US official birth certificates are handled. As I mentioned, if anyone asked for mine, I could show it to them because I have it. All Canadians born in Canada have their birth certificates (or if they don't physically have it, they fill out a few forms and have it sent to them), so the idea that anyone's official birth certificate would be locked away and only certain officials are allowed to see them is a foreign concept to me. What do US citizens use for ID when they have to get their SIN, driver's licenses and other basic ID?

  3. Anonymous10:50 AM

    Re: “It still leaves the question of why due process wasn't followed, as it was for McCain. “

    Answer: Exactly the same process was followed for Obama as for Bush, Clinton, Bush41, Reagan, Carter, Ford, Nixon, LBJ, JFK, Eisenhower, Truman, FDR, Hoover, Etc. In short, for all of them.

    McCain was the exception. He got special treatment by the senate largely because he was a senator and, of course, because there was an issue with his birth being in the Panama Canal Zone and not in the territorial USA.

    There was no issue with Obama. He was born in Hawaii, as his official birth certificate from Hawaii and the repeated confirmations of the officials in Hawaii have shown.

    Re: “Or why his records were instead sealed, etc."

    Answer. His records are NOT sealed. The records you are referring to are private, all of them. Obama has shown his birth certificate, but he does not have to. There is no law that says that he must. He already proved that he was a Natural Born Citizen to the voters of America (69 million to 59 million), to the Electoral College (of which not a single member changed a vote despite a campaign by birthers and two-fers to have them change their votes) and to the US Congress, which confirmed his election UNANIMOUSLY despite a campaign by birthers and two-fers against. And, he was sworn in by the chief Justice of the United States.

    The other records, kindergarten, grade school, high school, college, etc., are all private. They were not sealed by any federal executive order—which you should know by now does not and cannot apply to state records or college records. Yes, Obama has the right to show such of those records as he may choose to show. But that is his right, his decision to make. In the next presidential election, if Obama’s opponent shows his high school records, then Obama may do so too. Or not, it is his decision, and it should be.

    Re; “I'm still confused by how US official birth certificates are handled. As I mentioned, if anyone asked for mine, I could show it to them because I have it."

    Answer: So does Obama, and he has shown it. The Certification of Live Birth is the official birth certificate of Hawaii, used by thousands of people every year.

    Re: “What do US citizens use for ID when they have to get their SIN, driver's licenses and other basic ID?”

    Answer: The OFFICIAL birth certificate of the state (or in some few cases city, such as in New York City). But it must be the OFFICIAL birth certificate, which the Certification of Live Birth is in Hawaii. The Wall Street Journal said:

    “The birthers have also misrepresented the law in the claims they have made about Obama’s birth certificate. In truth, Obama has proved that he is a native of Hawaii, and this proof would hold up in any legal or administrative proceeding.

    In order to explain the birthers’ deception on this point, it is necessary to delve into the arcana of Hawaiian vital records. The document that Obama has released, which carries the title “certification of live birth,” confirms that the president was born in Honolulu. It is a legal birth certificate, and, as the Honolulu Star-Bulletin notes, it is the only kind of birth certificate the state of Hawaii issues….

    If a court were somehow to take up the question of Obama’s eligibility, then, the birth certificate would almost certainly be sufficient to resolve the question in his favor. The opposing side would have to provide serious evidence calling into question the veracity of Hawaii’s official state records. Innuendo and hearsay would not be admissible.

    Further, if Congress were to pass the so-called birther bill, Obama would be able to comply easily. The bill would require presidential campaigns to submit “a copy of the candidate’s birth certificate” to the Federal Election Commission. The certificate Obama has released publicly would meet this requirement.’


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