It’s not about the Constitution.

President Obama released the ‘long form’ version of his birth certificate yesterday.

He didn’t have to. No other president in U.S. history, or contender thereof, has been subject to the kind of xenophobic, racist, bigoted scrutiny that Barack Obama has. There’s no “you must provide a copy of the long form of your birth certificate to your detractors” clause in the Constitutional provisions determining eligibility for presidential office. But this foolishness has gotten out of hand, with four in ten Republicans believing that Obama wasn’t born on American soil, despite his having already produced a birth certificate – and an affidavit – to the contrary. So the president evidently decided, here ya go, crazies.

With the release of the additional, ‘somehow-much-more-convincing-than-the-first-one’ birth certificate, this non-issue can finally be put to rest, hopefully (right? right??). But while the additional documentation “solves” the issue for reasonable folks, it won’t solve it for those who can’t reconcile themselves to the reality of having a president whose race/cultural experience/multicultural upbringing makes him an exotic, perpetually-unknown, mysterious “other.” For those folks it ain’t about facts, proof, citizenship, good faith, logic, or any of that noise. To them, Obama is so clearly not-“American” that no matter what technicalities permit him to be the legal president, he just can’t be. There’s no possible way.

So, in the aftermath of new and improved proof that the president is a citizen, I feel just as unsettled about the reality of racism in America as before. I feel just as unsettled about the reality of xenophobia in America as before. I feel just as unsettled about the reality of religious bigotry in America as before, and I feel all of these things because throughout all of this we still are too cowardly to acknowledge the reality that racism, xenophobia, and religious bigotry are at the heart of the “Where’s the birth certificate?” nonsense that has crippled our public discourse for years. And they’re at the heart of Donald Trump’s “where’s the report card?” nonsense, and probably at the heart of the next thing he comes out with too.

We need to start calling this out plainly. The endless efforts at ‘otherizing’ Obama aren’t about reasonable disagreement. Barack Obama is a American, a Christian, and our president. Refusal to believe that he is American – talking to you, 4-in-10 Republicans – is plain xenophobia. Refusal to believe that he deserved to attend the ivy league schools he excelled in – Donald Trump – is plain racism. Refusal to believe that he isn’t a secret Muslim – armchair warriors – is plain religious bigotry. I’m sick of standing by while xenophobic, racist, bigoted nonsense permeates our public discourse as if it were legitimate. It isn’t. It’s time for the media – or the rest of us in the meantime – to start calling things what they really are.

Update: A hard truth from Baratunde:

President Obama's Inauguration Speech

President Obama's Inauguration Speech

Made on Wordle using this transcript.

God and Election 2008, cont.

In this video, Mike Blejer offers another look at the role that God may have had in this election.  (My take can be found here.) Mike’s a friend of mine from college, and is an emerging comedian in the DC area.

The moment of victory

This video greatly captures the surprise moment as I experienced it Tuesday in downtown Chicago.  I was standing before a screen just like this.  I doubt I’ll ever forget it.

The morning after

It’s weird to be elated and outraged at the same time.

I spent yesterday GOTVing all day long in Indiana (which spent most of the evening being a narrow McCain victory but has since flipped for Obama) (!) (the first time Indiana’s gone with a Democrat in 44 years).  Last night, my wife and I headed to downtown Chicago and joined in the truly awesome elation:

It is tempting to want to attribute this victory to the will of God.  After all, our God is a God of abundance, and the victory, for the Democrats, was certainly abundant.  Every Sunday, and quite often more than that, Christians pray unto God: “Thy will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven.”  For the last eight years, many of us have cried out to the Lord, praying that God would lay hands upon our national and global leaders and change  – change them.  We want God to be involved in our political process, especially when we sense that it is not going according to God’s plan.

And yet, if we attribute the stunning political victories to the will of God, we must also assume that it was God’s will that Proposition 8 has likely passed this morning.  Proposition 8 sets the appalling precedent that anyone can be targeted for the removal of existing rights.  Anyone!  Who’s next?  All that is needed is enough money and advertising to eek out a narrow majority.  This is frightening, un-American, and it is shameful that religious folks were heavily behind it.  Surely it is not God’s will that Ray and Bob, who have been together for 16 years, helped raise me as part of my church family, and were finally allowed to marry this summer and receive equal rights under the law, should endure retroactively becoming “unmarried” and lose those protections.

This election is clearly about what people are able to achieve, rather than the manifestation of God’s will. Accordingly, with the election of Barack Obama as president, my faith in the ability of Americans to govern ourselves has been restored.  And with the passage of Proposition 8, my faith in many of my religious sisters and brothers in California has been broken yet again.

It’s weird to be elated and outraged at the same time.

One Day More

"That one" double-standard

Just imagine if Barack Obama had referred to John McCain as “that one”.  What would the response have been, on TV, here and elsewhere?  They would have made another “Obama…Disrespectful” commercial.

From where I sit, the fact that there’s any wiggle-room here for people to argue that McCain didn’t mean that is a function of white privilege.  If Barack Obama had said it in reference to his distinguished colleague, he would’ve been drawn and quartered.

I have no idea what McCain meant here, but it’s definitely weird.  He’s not helping himself combat the “racially tinged” meme with crap like this.

In which I help the "guilt by association" smear-mongers

There’s a post over at my favorite conservative blog* calling on the McCain campaign to run “guilt by association” ads against Barack Obama in the swing states.  One at a time, 30 seconds each:  Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers, etc.

Frankly, I believe the subtext of such ads is absurd: Obama knows people who are crazy!  Ergo, he would be a bad president. In my comment, I remarked that it’s a shame that this poster apparently doesn’t believe that John McCain can win simply on issues that are legitimate.

Nonetheless, I’m ashamed to admit that this idea did get my creative juices flowing.  Therefore, here’s my suggestion for the Barack Obama/Bill Ayers “guilt by association” ad.  It would be called “TERRORIST LOVER”:

(Ominous Music)

NARRATOR: Barack Hussein Obama knows a guy who is a real bastard.

ON SCREEN: Obama...a real bastard.

NARRATOR: Barack Hussein Obama and aging-hippie terrorist Bill Ayers once served on the board of a charity…AT THE SAME TIME.

ON SCREEN: HOLY F**KING SH*T

NARRATOR: Terrorist Ayers even donated $200 to one of Barack Hussein Obama’s political campaigns once.

ON SCREEN: OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG

NARRATOR: Barack Hussein Obama is a terrorist-lover.

ON SCREEN: Believe it, b*tches.

NARRATOR: It’s time to ask the question: who is the real Barack Hussein Obama?

ON SCREEN: ANSWER: somebody who wants to bomb your house.

* patterico.com really is my favorite conservative blog.  It’s the only one I ever read.  It takes a non-religious, reason-based, conservative approach to the issues.  Patterico and I disagree on basically everything (though he actually does support same-sex marriage, which is cool).  Nonetheless, as a rule, the front-page posters are reasonable, respectful, and (somewhat) post-partisan, which is commendable.  Also, they practice free speech over there, allowing and encouraging dissenting opinions to be expressed in good faith dialogue (though such will be roundly challenged by the regulars).  Suffice to say it’s a good site for another view.

Since you brought it up, Governor…

Gov. Palin is throwing around the line that Sen. Obama has been “palling around with terrorists.”  This is in reference to two facts:  (1) Obama sat on the board of a charity with former Weather Underground member Bill Ayers and (2) Ayers once donated $200 bucks to a former campaign of Obama’s.

“Palling around with terrorists” indeed.  That’s shameful.

Remember when we were being told that there was a “working relationship” between Iraq and al Qaeda?  One that, well, never materialized?  Interesting how some of the same Bushies are now working for Palin.  Maybe tha’s where this is coming from.

Nonetheless, if guilt-by-association is the governor’s game, that’s fine by me:

So tell me why again does Palin think she has any moral ground to stand on?  This brings to my mind a certain Christian teaching (Mat 7:1-5):

[Jesus said,] “Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbor, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye.”

Seriously, what's going on here?

I noticed this last night, at several points during the debate.  I don’t know how to read this.  It seems a little…self-demeaning.  An attempt to substitute “feminine charm” for substance.  Perhaps a personal signal for God in which she acknowledges her false witness?

Could you imagine Hillary (or for that matter, Barack, John, or Joe) getting away with the same?  Yeah, me neither.