“My View” from the May 24, 2012 edition of “Viewpoint with Eliot Spitzer.”
It hasn’t really been a very good week for our old pals, the birthers. You remember them, those hopeless romantics who can’t stop believing Barack Obama wasn’t born here and owns a time machine which he used to travel back to 1961 and place a fake birth announcement in a Hawaii newspaper?
Arizona Attorney General Ken Bennet threatened to keep the president off his state’s ballot, before being forced to declare that the birth certificate was, in fact, valid.
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio used taxpayer money to send investigators to Hawaii. Now he’s back to dressing up his inmates like the Hamburglar. That’s the jumpsuit Obama would wear if Arpaio could just bust him as some kind of illegal alien. (I’ve been to his prison by the way, they really do dress them like that).
Colorado Rep. Mike Coffman infamously made a speech questioning our president’s citizenship, or at least, whether he’s a “real American,” leading to this sincere, and, I think, quite eloquent apology.
(Excerpt from video clip) Coffman: I think that… Umm… I stand by my statement that I misspoke and I apologize.
Question: Okay, and who were you apologizing to?
Coffman: You know, I stand by my statement that I misspoke and I apologize.
He went on to repeat that exact phrase three more times — “I misspoke and I apologize” — because saying you misspoke means never having to say you lied.
It’s all very sad, and at this point, I gotta say the birthers are kinda like those Star Wars fans who are still defending Jar Jar.
And it’s racist. We can say that, right folks? We can say that. It is racist. These birthers have never once demanded a Caucasian politician produce a birth certificate. They’ve never even politely asked for it.
And I’m not saying they hate African-Africans. They’ve made racist claims, but they’re not necessarily bigots.
You know that cousin you have who always sends you those chain emails about how Obama’s really a foreign-born Muslim? That cousin who begins all of his emails with, “I’m not a racist, but … “?
Well, operate on this assumption: that hating someone because they’re different is bigotry, and racism is institutionalized bigotry — xenophobia that has become so ingrained in the culture that a lot of folks don’t even question it. That way, your cousin can have all the black friends in the world and still be guilty of racist birtherism.
The Catholic Church has this policy of no female priests — no knob, no job. The Vatican would have you believe that God made 51 percent of humanity unfit for the priesthood. Now, Catholics aren’t necessarily sexist, and many are fighting to change this policy. But the faith practices institutionalized sexism, even if some of the faithful don’t see it that way.
And in the big picture, the real villains aren’t the bigots — hatred tends to be its own punishment, and these people usually wind up looking ugly and ridiculous to their grandkids. Now, the real villains are the politicians who know damn well Obama was born here, but allow this ignorance to fester and exploit it for votes.
So enjoy the last gasps of sad, pathetic, rascist birtherism, my friends. And the next time you see that racist cousin, just tell him, “Hey, I saw Barack Obama dance on the ‘Ellen Show.’ Trust me — he’s half white.”
He did this.