New Jersey Stage

Monday, April 25, 2011

Birtherism = Racism

by Scott Wolman

Many years ago, I was friendly with a guy who I thought very highly of.  One day he used the "n-word."   Then I noticed that he used it on a number of occasions and also made other racially insensitive remarks.  I ended the friendship.

Facebook offers the opportunity to do a lot in the way of dialoguing on politics.  For the most part, I think that is a good thing because in our history, it was natural for regular people to debate and discuss political issues of the day.  Call it fear, political correctness or, more likely, a dumbing down of society to the point where people became incapable of discussing politics because they had no knowledge or insights, but political talk between regular folk became a no-no.

I think it is good that Facebook has seemingly made it feel safe to discuss political issues again.  Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a liberal/progressive.  I believe in gay rights, environmental protection, freedom for ALL religions or from religion, tax fairness where the rich pay reasonably to help those less fortunate, universal, single-payer health care, a woman's right to choose, financial and business regulation to reign in unfettered, cruel and unjust capitalistic greed and crime, educational opportunity, the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Air and Water Acts, protection of our lands, waters and skies, foreign aid, science, and unlimited access to Haagen Dazs coffee ice cream (just seeing who's paying attention).

Republicans, conservatives, libertarians, and others have the right to disagree with me on many or all of those issues.  However, every argument I make to support my positions will be based on facts and honest sentiments.  I expect the same in return.

Democrats, liberals and progressives have demagogued over time.  I site Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan being portrayed as warmongers or claims that George W. Bush was still doing cocaine, and in the White House no less.  Some on the left even are among the most fervent deniers on 9-11, claiming it was an inside job or other such nonsense.

The difference is that those extremes, and others, were never held and put forth by even a large minority on the left, outside of the Barry Goldwater mushroom cloud perhaps.  And that was in 1964, about the time I was born!  We on the left much more often than not tell our extremist nutjobs that they are, well, extremist nutjobs.  Something different has happened on the right, particularly since 2008 and the coming of the Age of Obama.

With the ascent of Barack Obama fully into the public eye and then to the presidency, racists have come out full bore.  A large segment of the teabagger movement has led the birther charge on Obama's citizenship.  A fringe element, though, did not stay on the edges for long.  Instead, led by a handful of opportunists and carnival barkers, the birther position has actually become mainstream Republican thinking, with nearly half of all Republicans believing Obama is not a U.S.-born citizen. 

The following link is from Factcheck.org, a non partisan site that is wholly devoted to publishing the truth and calling out the lies.  I dare any birther to read it because there is zero doubt that Barack Obama was born in the U.S. and is Constitutionally eligible to be our president.  http://www.factcheck.org/elections-2008/born_in_the_usa.html

The only reason Obama's birth remains an issue is because he is black.  That's it.  The only reason.  If this was a white man, even born in what I believe some on the right think is the foreign nation of Hawaii, there would be no birther movement.  But, Barack Obama had a Kenyan father, his hair is not blond, eyes not blue.  He is black.  We are a nation with many racists.  We have the birther movement.

I urge people I like to get off it already.  Birtherism is racism and nothing else.  There is absolute proof that Barack Obama is a naturally-born citizen of this country.  If you want to call him a socialist, Marxist, liberal extremist or something along those lines, you will show yourself as being ignorant, misinformed and silly.  I can live with you being those things even though you cannot, and never will be able to, support any of that stuff with the evidence at hand.  I can't live with you being a racist birther.  Enough already!!


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Scott Wolman is a Monmouth County resident, poet and music lover. He writes on topics social, political, musical, and anything else that strikes him.