The term “birther” was coined by those wanting to end questions, free-and-open inquiries and rational debates over whether Barack Obama had satisfied constitutional requirements for eligibility as president.
Since there is no dictionary definition to this term, it has been used as a term of derision and dismissal. Often you will see “news stories” defining “birthers” as people who hold fast to the notion that Obama was foreign-born. Actually, most skeptics about Obama’s eligibility simply want to see evidence to support the contention that he is actually a “natural born citizen,” as required by the Constitution.
The historic understanding of that concept is simply this: To become president of the United States one needs to be born in the U.S. to citizen parents with no divided loyalties. Obama tells us that he was born in Hawaii to a Kenyan citizen and a mother too young to confer ordinary citizenship upon him – a status that would have made him, at best, a dual citizen at birth and, possibly, a non-U.S. citizen. Further complicating the problem, there is no proof he was actually born in Hawaii.
“Birthers” understand that since we have not seen an actual eyewitness, contemporaneous document known as a long-form birth certificate there is no basis upon which we can determine Obama’s eligibility, because we don’t know for certain who his parents are and where he was born.
These are not matters of debate; these are matters of fact. By this definition of “birther,” every American who supports the Constitution as written should be a “birther.”
Individuals can argue in good faith as to whether or not they are satisfied with the evidence available about Obama’s background. They can also argue in good faith as to the technical legal definition of “natural born citizen.” But what is not arguable is that insufficient proof exists to proclaim Obama as eligible to serve. It’s not even a close call.
For the last two years, “birthers” have been demeaned, ridiculed and ostracized for taking a principled stand in the aftermath of an election in which the political system failed to enforce constitutional provisions of eligibility on an incoming president.
Today, every poll shows large percentages of the public – in some cases significant majorities – hold grave doubts as to Obama’s constitutional eligibility. In other words, they are, in the terminology of their adversaries, “birthers.”
Now let’s meet the “non-birthers.”
They claim to know beyond any shadow of a doubt that Obama was born in Hawaii and is a “natural born citizen” – even though the meager evidence they cite would suggest the opposite conclusion.
I have yet to see one “birther” on television hurling ad hominem attacks at “non-birthers,” though I see the opposite on a daily basis.
And now, as “birthers” use the orderliness of the political system to press legislation in at least 13 states to ensure America never faces a repeat of the constitutional crisis we face by simply requiring presidential candidates to prove their eligibility before getting on the ballot, the “non-birthers” are virtually apoplectic with rage.
So here is my question for “non-birthers”: If you are so certain Obama meets the test of constitutional eligibility, why are you in an uproar over legislative efforts to ensure future candidates for president all meet the same simple requirements?
Is that a rational position?
Is that a stance that makes sense?
Why would any Constitution-loving person in America object to state laws that simply require all future presidential candidates to establish their eligibility for office before getting on the ballot?
That is, after all, the “non-birther” position today.
What are they afraid of?
Doesn’t it suggest a lack of confidence in what the facts, when they are eventually on the table, will show?
If I were a “non-birther,” I would look forward to the day I could prove to everyone I was right all along – not with loud and strident arguments, but with undeniable facts and documentation.
But this is the way it has been from the beginning.
“Birthers” are simply calling for the production of documents to ensure the Constitution is followed to the letter of the law. “Non-birthers” are attempting, as they have been since 2008, through bellicose bullying, intimidation, media filibustering, name-calling and censorship, to thwart, by any means necessary, the public disclosure of the evidence that could put this controversy to rest.
Please let me know if I have misstated or mischaracterized the issue before us in any way.