Tuesday marked nine months since the US presidential election.
Gestation time enough for new fringe political activists, Birthers. Unlike years past, in which vote count seemed to dominate political conspiracy,
the lead up to and election of President Obama has focused on his citizenship and constitutional validity of office. Stemming back to nearly a year
before the election, these allegations did not gain steam until August of 2008. From lawsuits and questionable documents to mistranslations and
misunderstandings, the smoking gun that the Birthers are looking for is yet to be found; however, suspicion still lingers and mystery envelopes the
debate which begs the question of the legitimacy of Obama’s
By Steven Claustre
Just when The Birthers came about is hard to pinpoint. Attempts to discredit Obama started with claims of his faith and Islamic connections, and since
have evolved but stayed true to xenophobic themes. What were initially individuals contesting constitutionally his citizenship as they interpreted
Section 1 Article II, it has since moved to fringe dwelling attacks then to full blown
. How will the matter end? Will it keep growing in discussion
till it reaches the debate proportions of subjects such as 911? Republicans now traditionally makeup the near entirety of Birthers, however, scratch
close enough to anyone you know, and you will find opinions or doubt from all partisan divides on this new conspiracy.
Birthers or Article II Patriots
as some wish to be known are passionate that the legitimacy of Obama’s
Presidency is voided by his birth location. Worldwide interest and debate erupted when prominent Birther Orly
produced a copy of Obama’s supposed Kenyan Birth Certificate
Birthers embraced this document with fervour. It has since been proven a
copied from the Birth Certificate of David
, a South Australian man unwittingly embroiled in an attempt to oust the US president from office. The Kenyan document has not
helped the cause of Birthers.
Obama and Kenyan Relatives
During months leading up to the surfacing of the Kenyan Birth Certificate Document,
were made to discredit
Obama’s citizenship, starting in his home state. As reported in March of 2008, some native Hawaiians believe that The President was born
not in Hawaii but the Kingdom of Hawaii
, as it was called
prior to joining the union. However, this was quickly dismissed as it is generally known that Hawaii
became a state in 1959
followed by Obama’s birth in 1961.
It appears that the Presidential legitimacy outcry began to take off in August 2008 when a member of the Democratic Party,
Philip J. Berg
, filed a lawsuit against the DNC and Barak Obama
claiming that he is not a natural-born citizen, as required by the constitution. This would later be
dismissed in October
based on Berg’s evidence being
“merely circumstantial”. Of the said evidence, Berg claimed to have an audiotape
Obama’s Grandmother in which she states that The President was born in Kenya and was at the hospital at the time of birth. Following is a
transcript where indeed she does state just that. However clearly there was
miscommunication and misunderstandings
and she is quite firm that he was born in
MCRAE: I would like to see his birthplace when I come to Kenya in December. Was she present when he was born in Kenya?
OGOMBE: Yes. She says, yes, she was, she was present when Obama was born.
MCRAE: I would like to come by the place, the hospital, where he was born. Could you tell me where he was born? Was he born in Mombassa?
OGOMBE: No, Obama was not born in Mombassa. He was born in America.
MCRAE: Whereabouts was he born? I thought he was born in Kenya.
OGOMBE: No, he was born in America, not in Mombassa.
MCRAE: Do you know where he was born?
OGOMBE: Hawaii. Hawaii. Sir, she says he was born in Hawaii. In the state of Hawaii, where his father was also learning, there. The state of
Berg was not the only one to have a case dropped by The Supreme Court. Leo Donofrio, of New Jersey, had his
emergency appeal rejected
in December. Donofrio claimed that Obama’s father was a
“subject of the United Kingdom,” and therefore Obama is not a natural-born citizen. Unfortunately, this argument is based on a loose
interpretation of what the Constitution considers natural-born. Without any definitive supreme court ruling on the definition of “natural-born”,
different parties to back their claims use this concept subjectively. In other words, it’s open to interpretation.
Section 1 Article II of the US Constitution sets forth the eligibility requirements for serving as president of the United States:
No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible
to the Office of President
Birthers claim that Obama’s Certificate of live birth, though an official
is void due to fact that Hawaii allows
for children born abroad to
obtain the document. However, Obama’s birth in Hawaii is supported by a Honolulu Advertiser’s item 9 days after his birth. This is typical of
every birth in Hawaii and placed officially by the states Department of Health, not by family members.
Is this Birther movement and all pre and post election attacks having any effect on the political powers within the Whitehouse? Are they acts of
Patriots, Disenfranchised Partisans or Racists? What is the motive behind the continued speculation. Are these attacks justified or are they
demonising? The attempts to discredit President Obama have turned into a fully-fledged movement, and “Birthers” who wear their label with the
same ferocity as a freedom fighter are seen as either uncovering truth or distorting truth to promote agenda.
How will the Republican Party openly work with Birthers going into the next election, if indeed they are still around. Going on to the Birthers.org
site you will see new premises creeping in. No longer simply focused on the president’s natural birth origins, they are now creating new labels such
as ‘Obortionists’. Time will tell if they will work with Republicans or indeed evolve from an independent movement to independent party. Evolve it
will, as with most Conspiracy Theorists, many hold their beliefs as infallible and will keep digging or mud slinging whichever ‘evidence’ supports