As Donald Trump recently noted, “Everybody that even gives a hint of being a birther … even a little bit of a hint, like, gee, you know, maybe, just maybe this much of a chance, they label them as an idiot.” Or, using the bird analogy, cuckoos. But maybe we are a different kind of bird altogether. Maybe we are the canaries in the coal mine.
As wiki notes:
Canaries were once regularly used in coal mining as an early warning system. Toxic gases such as carbon monoxide and methane in the mine would kill the bird before affecting the miners. Because canaries tend to sing much of the time, they provided both a visual and audible cue in this respect. The use of so called miner’s canaries in British mines was phased out in 1987. Hence, the phrase “canary in a coal mine” is frequently used to refer to a person or thing which serves as an early warning of a coming crisis.
In retrospect, the “Where was he born???” Birthers have been like those canaries in that we have been the first ones to begin chirping that something was inherently flawed with Obama on a personal level. Because sooo many people have been convinced that Birthers are crazy conspiracy maniacs, it is important to remember that the basic “Where was he born???” Birther position WAS NEVER the CONCLUSION that Obama was born in Kenya, but was instead a QUESTION as to his place of birth, a QUESTION that could have been EASILY answered by producing the Long Form Birth Certificate.
There are some Birthers who object to Obama’s presidency on legal grounds, that he is not by definition a “natural born citizen.” But those Birthers do not assign any kind of PERSONAL BLAME to Obama for that. The fact that Obama’s father was a British citizen was well known prior to the election and if there was any kind of failure there, it was a systemic problem, not a personal problem. One could not logically blame Obama personally for thinking he was eligible, if Hillary Clinton, John McCain, and every member of the House of Representatives believed the same thing.
But the other Birthers, the “Where was he born???” Birthers first exposed Obama’s inherent personality flaw, which appears to be that he either can’t or won’t resolve issues and problems. It has been three years since Obama first provided his short form birth certificate to a special fact checking group who published a copy on the Internet. While Obama’s supporters can claim that he did produce sufficient evidence, or argue that everybody should have just believed it, the simple fact is that people were expecting the Long Form. AND, large numbers of Americans, somewhere approaching 60% of the population, express some degree of doubt as to where Obama was born. It is an issue that has not gone away, and unless the Obama supporters want to sink to the intellectual level of Holocaust Deniers, there is simply no way to dismiss that the Birther Issue EXISTS as a problem.
The Birther Question may be viewed as either smart or stupid, reasonably suspicious or dumbly paranoid, but whatever one’s opinion of Birthers, or the issue in general, THE QUESTIONS AND DOUBTS EXIST AND PERSIST. The other metaphysical reality is that Obama has basically ignored the problem for three years. This is where Birthers can be seen to be the canaries. . . because the Birther Issue is not the only one in which Obama seems to be missing in action. And this is a question which can be resolved by a one page document costing only a few dollars. Gov. Neil Abercrombie of Hawaii has even offered to provided documentation to the skeptical AT NO COST to Obama. The requester would have to pay for the document. Apparently either Obama has refused to give his permission to Abercrombie, or there is a problem with the documents. So, in answer to the question of where Obama was born is, for most Americans, your guess is as good as mine.
But Obama’s passivity has not been limited to the Birther issue. On nearly every major issue, Obama has either waffled, or gone on vacation. There has been a growing chorus of people, including Democrats, who speak of grownups going to work on the White House staff following the midterm shellacking, or bluntly accuse the White House of being the equivalent of The Amateur Hour. Anna Pukas of the English Post, notes today:
INEFFECTUAL, invisible, unable to honour pledges and now blamed for letting Gaddafi off the hook. Why Obama’s gone from ‘Yes we can’ to ‘Er, maybe we shouldn’t’…
Let us cast our minds back to those remarkable days in November 2008 when the son of a Kenyan goatherd was elected to the White House. It was a bright new dawn – even brighter than the coming of the Kennedys and their new Camelot. JFK may be considered as being from an ethnic and religious minority – Irish and Catholic – but he was still very rich and very white. Barack Obama, by contrast, was a true breakthrough president. The world would change because obviously America had changed.
Obama’s campaign slogan was mesmerisingly simple and brimming with self-belief: “Yes we can.” His presidency, however, is turning out to be more about “no we won’t.” Even more worryingly, it seems to be very much about: “Maybe we can… do what, exactly?“ The world feels like a dangerous place when leaders are seen to lack certitude but the only thing President Obama seems decisive about is his indecision. What should the US do about Libya? What should the US do about the Middle East in general? What about the country’s crippling debts? What is the US going to do about Afghanistan, about Iran?
What is President Obama doing about anything? The most alarming answer – your guess is as good as mine – is also, frankly, the most accurate one. What the President is not doing is being clear, resolute and pro-active, which is surely a big part of his job description. This is what he has to say about the popular uprising in Libya: “Gaddafi must go.” At least, that was his position on March 3.
So, when you are trying to decide whether Birthers are simply cuckoos, or perhaps canaries, just remember that as stated above, “Your guess is as good as mine!” started with us!