One rumor/conspiracy theory/lie that just keeps popping up (with the aid of some otherwise serious people) is that Barack Obama was not actually born in America, and therefore is not constitutionally eligible to be president. The people who adhere to this belief are so-called birthers and I have not come across a single one who has any proof to back up their accusations; they ignore any evidence that is provided to the contrary. I’ve read many posts and articles whose authors ascribe to the birther beliefs. Yesterday, I just couldn’t move on; I had to respond. Looking back, I knew better…you can’t reason with people who are only looking for reasons that they are right. I won’t include anything the other author originally posted or their meandering, incoherent response, but this was, in part, my response:
You are right that the Constitution never defines “natural born citizen.” But the document that does is the United States Code, which is “a consolidation and codification by subject matter of the general and permanent laws of the United States” that is prepared and published by the Office of the Law Revision Counsel of the House of Representatives. If the Constitution provides the framework and principles for how our government works, the U.S. Code defines those principles specifically. Here is a link to the U.S. Code: http://uscode.house.gov/lawrevisioncounsel.shtml. Title 8, Section 1401 defines who is a citizen at birth of the United States.
I believe that Barack Obama was born in Hawaii, as he has stated, as well as the former Republican governor, Linda Lingle and officials from the Health Department of Hawaii during the 2008 campaign. Why would a Republican governor admit to having seen his actual birth certificate if it did not exist? That would have been against the interest of her party and the country. Being born in Hawaii would qualify Obama as a natural born citizen under subsection (a) of the statute…People in the leadership of the Republican Party either know or have lawyers who know about the United States Code and know that there is no legitimate legal case for Obama being ineligible. Some argue that if Obama is a citizen, why doesn’t he just release his birth certificate and end the debate? Well, he released a copy of his certificate of live birth issued by the state of Hawaii. This is the document that Hawaii provides to people requesting birth certificates and the U.S. State Department accepts this document as valid proof of citizenship. Still, I argue, why should Obama have release his birth certificate? Has any other president had to provide his birth certificate as proof of citizenship? If so, please provide the documentation from an independent source. I will gladly concede this point if someone can offer me valid proof. On a side note, what about the presidents who were born outside of hospitals or before states required birth certificates to be issued? Should their presidencies be retroactively voided?
I think the bottom line is that we (U.S. citizens, voters and our elected officials) need to grow up and admit that we are not all going to agree with all, or in some cases any of the policies of any president. This does not mean that we should constantly try to delegitimize him or her. This goes for the conservatives who despise this president and the liberals who tried to constantly belittle and undermine President Bush and the conservatives who tried to do the same to President Clinton. That is the point that I believe this blatant disrespect for and reflexive opposition to presidents of opposite parties began. I don’t think that just because a person is president that you have to respect them. But if one really believes the Constitution and its principles, one would understand that the presidency is about the office and not about the man (or, perhaps in the future, woman) who occupies it. The office at least deserves our respect. If our leaders spent as much time and energy trying to work together to solve serious issues as they do trying to undermine their opposition, we might be much better off.
In the end, I don’t think my response will change the minds of any birthers. I don’t care though, the last paragraph of my response says it all and I believe it. And at the very least, I spoke my piece. And that’s my soap box…I mean join the Discourse!