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Why Boehner won’t declare death to ‘birther-ism’…

January 8, 2011 by  
Filed under News, Politics, Weekly Columns

( On the first day of the new Congress, as Republicans led a peculiar and self-righteous reading of the United States Constitution, America was fed a healthy dose of the pomp and comedy that lies in store for us this year. Similar to a house party where out-of-control relatives show up with extra alcohol, Republicans arrived with Tea Partiers, birthers and Fox News drones in tow, all determined to do what they can to create civil war in America.

The greatest and most consistent target of the right wing revolution has been the guy in the White House who has taken something that allegedly belongs to them. The far right would never admit to hating President Obama because he’s black, because racial history allows for far more complicated and subtle ways to destroy black people in power. But there is no mistaking that the hatred thrust upon this president is unlike that of any president before him, and his rise to power has awakened the socio-political cockroaches of our country.

The most recent display of political interference occurred when the section of the Constitution was read stating that only a natural born citizen of the US can become president of the United States. At that point, a woman stood up and yelled “except Obama,” before being removed from the room. This woman’s disrespect of the president is echoed by many throughout the nation who are seeking to find some way to label President Obama as the unqualified and corrupt leader they believe him to be.

Similar to lynch mobs of the 19th century, evidence is in the eye of the beholder. In spite of the fact that the State of Hawaii and the Obama administration have produced a copy of the president’s birth certificate, the birthers are still choosing to believe information that doesn’t exist over information that has been presented to their faces. They have no valid or meaningful support for their conspiracy theory, yet hold onto this idea that “this guy is not like the rest of us.” House Majority Leader John Boehner is fueling the fire by refusing to outright condemn the actions of his out-of-control colleagues, and instead simply stating that he “can’t tell people what to think.”

President Obama’s persecution for “being different” is the modern way of condemning a leader for being black. Our president is treated like an alien, a villain and someone who clearly “doesn’t belong” in the White House, primarily because some are accustomed to seeing a white guy in Obama’s seat. Therefore, whenever the president forgets to dot an ‘i’ or cross a ‘t,’ he is attacked and condemned as if he were a political version of Michael Vick.

This disrespect is a precursor of things to come. As Republicans try to repeal Obama’s health care reforms, open up ethics investigations and do whatever they can to ruin the presidency, we will see how deep the rabbit hole of racial hatred goes. Because the president happens to be African-American, the Republican party has been given a blank check on the multitude of underhanded tactics they are allowed to use in order to hurt President Obama and his agenda.

The challenges being faced by President Obama are no different from any other African-American corporate manager, school teacher or police commander who has his capability questioned by those who are angry that he has the audacity to be different. It happens to nearly all of us, and is one of the reasons why most American institutions have yet to truly embrace the concept of diversity.

One thing that birthers must understand is that disrespecting Obama in such unprecedented and chaotic ways also represents a fundamental disrespect for the office of the presidency. By creating such a dangerous and poisonous political environment, birthers and Tea Partiers are opening the door to destroying the country they claim to love so much. So, as they read the Constitution out loud to try to make their point, they might want to realize that their behavior would be a tremendous disappointment to the founding fathers.

Written By Dr. Boyce Watkins

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