The Washington Post’s Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Gene Robinson has a great piece about the paranoia of the “birther” movement — those, including members of Congress, who claim that President Obama was not born in the US, is an alien, not an American citizen, a “Manchurian candidate” after all, and so forth. http://tinyurl.com/ktstgj
A recent poll shows that the overwhelming majority of those who believe in this conspiracy are Southern Republicans. I think it’s pretty clear what’s behind this movement, and why some members of Congress go along with it; or refuse to repudiate it. It’s the simple fact that we’ve elected an African-American President of the United States. As Chris Matthews has pointed out on “Hardball,” this alleged “controversy” is not about documentation; it’s about pigmentation.
That’s a polite way of saying “racism.” I think the “birther” believers are really saying to themselves (and to each other) “Oh my God, there’s a black man in the White House!” So they’ve got to de-legitimize him. I hope that more public figures expose this for what it is, and not skirt the issue. Or give credence to it, as Lou Dobbs has been doing on CNN. The larger issue, though, is that our country is undergoing massive transition and evolution in many areas. We are moving away from a dominant white male culture. It’s estimated that in about 40 years white people will be in the minority. Already, five states have non-white majorities.
This is our future — we’re headed towards a multi-racial, multi-ethnic America. While the fears of those who view this as threatening can be understood, the expression of those fears through hatred, conspiracy theories and potential violence should not be tolerated.