Everybody – even yahoo news – now knows that the birther movement is a racist movement. We on the left of the center divide have been aware of the birther’s racism for some time now. Their unwillingness to accept a Black man as president has exposed the racist core of their two and half year campaign.
But the birther movement is something else, something else that no one is talking about: the birther movement is also a fascist movement. Yes, that’s right, I said “fascist”, and it’s not hyperbole. Let me explain.
First, with President Obama proving (again) his place of birth by handing out his long-f0rm birth certificate, the white supremacist underpinnings of the birthers has so been totally demonstrated that even mainstream corporate media are calling them racist.
The moment that Obama brought out his Hawaiian birth certificate not only was the moment that exposed the birthers’ Big Lie, but it was a moment of American racism, a moment of shame for all Americans.
We all should feel shame for the fact that the first African-American president in our nation’s history felt compelled to prove himself – showing his papers, doing something no other president has ever had to do. This event has pitched the entire country into the reality of the current of white racism that runs through American politics. A white president would have never been pressured such as Obama has. Candidate John McCain – also not born in the continental U.S. – was never forced to run this racist gauntlet. He was born in the Canal Zone, but it was never an issue.
Not accepting of a Black man’s attainment of our highest office on his own merits, – or now their current mantra that Obama must have (wrongly) benefited from affirmative action programs to make the universities he attended – the birther movement has immediately moved unapologetically for something else to prove that Obama is not entitled to be president; his college grades, his admission to elite universities, his father’s race ….
To highlight the racism of the birthers, we had a recent incident this month in Southern California to remind us of its vitriol. An Orange County Republican Party Central Committee member, Marilyn Davenport, had sent out an email depicting President Obama as a baby chimpanzee to public officials, with the tag line “Now you know why no birth certificate”. She has refused to resign despite calls from some fellow Republicans to step down, saying that since she didn’t intend for it to be racist, it wasn’t racist. This incident also shows us the proximity of the birthers with many Republicans.
Despite the exposure of the birthers’ Big Lie, their chantings and the chantings of their enabler, the tea party movement, continue to be heard for “taking our country back” – taking it back from non-white people.
Yet, with carnival barker Donald Trump’s circus dancing, he has raised it again. Potential GOP presidential candidates have had to publicly announce where they stand on the non-issue.
The President said we have more important issues to deal with and cannot have these distractions. Last week, he said, when the nation should have been discussing the different budgets – his and Paul Ryan’s and the People’s Budget, the mainstream media was all about talking about birthers, Donald Trump, and what other Republicans thought about the president’s birthplace.
Yet it was a shameful moment in American history – the moment with the first democratically-elected African American president has to go on national television and show his birth certificate two and a half years after his election. It’s as if he had to show his papers. The mainstream media’s role in all of this is just starting to be examined. MSNBC pundit Lawrence O’Donnell has called out NBC entertainment executives in their complicity in Trump’s racist mockery of reality.
Their Big Lie has been exposed. And in the words of the Spring Arabs “its over.” Birther queen Orly Taitz has to go home now and never be seen again.
Some tea party types, like Michelle Bachman, when faced with the actual birth certificate document, admit that they now accept the president at his word – on this issue. John Boehner, the GOP Congressional leader who never saw a tea party he didn’t like also says he takes Obama at his word. They may believe him, but they’re unwilling to explain it to the rest of the crowd on their side of the aisle.
While the Republican establishment has distanced itself from the birther movement, GOP legislators in about a dozen states have proposed birther legislation. Recent polls showed huge groups of Republican voters either not sure or convinced that Obama was NOT born in the US of A. Ugly majorities of like two-thirds fell in those categories, and had been confused or convinced by the birther movement, many apparently, still unable to accept a Black man as the Commander In Chief.
For instance, according to ataken April 15-17, 48 percent of Iowa Republicans didn’t think Obama was born in America.
So, is the birther issue truly over?
The reactionary conservative Washington Times just did a small poll among is readers:
Poll Results: Does the release of President Obama’s birth certificate put an end to the state-of-birth issue?
- Yes – 34(20%)
- No – 124(73%)
- Undecided – 9(5%)
- Other – 1(0%)
Here are some additional thoughts on the polls.
Why the Big Lie?
Okay, with Obama’s birth certificate now clearly out there, and the birthers’ Big Lie exposed, we now ponder the question, why would they have pushed this Big Lie for two and a half years, with Donald Trump’s carnival barking bringing it to the foreground just lately?
Why would they have made such a lie up and kept it alive, despite the facts, for all this time?
On the surface, you can say, spreading lies about your opposition is a mainstay in politics, isn’t it? Telling lies about your opponents helps you, helps to manipulate your base, helps to dirty your opponent in the media. Isn’t this what politics is all about? Vilifying your opponent? It’s a loathsome tactic, but isn’t it par for the course?
And taking advantage of the current of white racism in our national politics – isn’t that something that Republicans and even some Democrats have done for decades? Catch phrases like “welfare queen” (Reagan), “the silent majority” (Nixon), the “Southern Strategy”, “Willie Horton” have tugged at our prejudices over the years.
But the birther movement has been more, as the more virulent racists in this country have used this movement as a cover for a more outright opposition to Obama based on race. It’s more than your normal, “run-of-the-mill” racism, it’s Big Lie racism that questions the very heart of American democracy.
The use of the Big Lie to manipulate the masses was finely tuned by the Nazis. The common thought is that if you can get people to believe a Big Lie – and a Big Lie that is racist – then they’ll believe other falsehoods much more easily. Remember the “Death Panels”? More lies, deliberately spread by the tea partiers and Sara Palin.
The use of a Big Lie is definitely a totalitarian tactic; it spreads fear, anger, pricks that feeling that America needs to return to its past, a past that was white; the Big Lie “softens” the gullible up for nastier policies and actions.
Here, in America, for these last two and more years, the birther movement has been spreading this lie, the lie of Obama’s illegitimacy. This is more that just a racist lie. It is a fascist lie.
The birther Big Lie was / is intended to not only undermine Barack Obama’s legitimacy, but it is intended to undermine the American electoral process in general, to call into question the legitimacy of our very federal government, to call into question our very democratic process and government.
The legitimacy of our American federal government and our democratic electoral process was heavily damaged during the Bush Era of the recent past. It began in the first year of this century, in 2000, when the US Supreme Court stepped in and undemocratically determined that George Walker Bush was the president.
It was again damaged when Bush lied in 2002 and 2003 to the American Congress and the people about the reasons to go to war with Iraq. More damage occurred during the 2004 presidential campaign with serious allegations of voter fraud and voter machine manipulations.
However, the election of Barack Obama in 2008 did signal a re-legitimation of the American national electoral process – the essence of what’s left of our sickly democracy. Despite the voter over-ride of 2000 and the voter manipulations of 2004, the first Black candidate to win a party’s nomination, in a long, come-from-behind “he’ll never win” campaign, it was apparent that Obama won a majority of the votes – both popular and electoral, thereby shoring up the all-important legitimacy that any government needs to genuinely govern.
The election of a Black president in 2008 was the primary factor in that election, an election in a country and society that developed the first race-based system of slavery in the world’s history, a slave system that lasted for 400 years, a slave system that cost this country the most dead in any war that we have ever fought, a slave system that was replaced by a racist Jim Crow system that pervaded our society into our life times, into our living memories.
Now, to be honest, many on the left and among independents have problems with and oppose many of Obama’s policies. Iraq, Afghanistan, the “tax compromise”, the lack of a fight for the public option, for starters.
The difference is that those who oppose him for these reasons do not question or contest the legitimacy of his election, or whether the national democratic process “worked”. Obama is wrong on this or that, those leftists will say, but they do not doubt that he was genuinely elected or that he was entitled to run as a candidate. (Now some leftists do perceive Obama as a “tool of Wall Street” or as a “corporate lackey” and therefore as any capitalist politician, he is not a servant of the working class, and therefore is not our real leader.)
But the birthers do contest Obama’s legitimacy. And by doing that, by undermining his very right to sit in the Oval Office, they undermine America’s legitimacy, they are attacking our very Constitution, the very thing that makes America America. The birthers hence do not believe in or support the Constitution and do not believe in or support American democracy – what is left of it.
The birthers and their tea party enablers join with such corporate manipulators like the billionaire Koch brothers as they take advantage of last year’s Supreme Court decision in “Citizens United” and continue to dig gigantic tunnels under the democratic election process in order to weaken – and ultimately destroy it.
If you’re into destroying the American democratic process and thus democracy itself, you are helping to prepare for something else, something else that is undemocratic, autocratic, plutocratic, ugly, authoritarian, racist, violent – and ultimately their game plan calls for the corporate take-over of our government, which is “fascism” by definition. We are not there yet, but the fascist birther movement – what is left of it now – is still out there. They will attempt to morph into something else, but they haven’t been convinced that since American democracy offered up a Black guy as president, that they cannot stop fighting to “take America back”.
All this places the left is a novel position. With the far right’s and racist attack on our democracy, our democratic process, our Constitution, that places the left and honest independents in the position of defending the Constitution, in defending the electoral process, in defending the legitimacy of Barack Obama’s election as president. This new role – very different from the left’s position in the Sixties and Seventies where we attacked the federal government – is where we’re at because this is a different historical period.
We are in a period where the racists want to burn the Constitution because it allowed for a Black president. We on the left may oppose the president, but we don’t doubt that he was genuinely elected by the people. We must continue to oppose his policies, but without vilifying him, and we must actually defend his presidency from those who want a fascist America. The birthers have been momentarily defeated, but their fascism has also now been exposed.
We will continue to prevent them from taking over our country. We continue to stand on the side of democracy, and not on the side of a corporate sponsored empire.