La Opinión Calls Birthers 'Absurd'

La Opinión Calls Birthers 'Absurd'

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Editor's Note: An editorial published in Los Angeles Spanish-language newspaper La Opinión argues that it is "no coincidence that the first time the birthplace of a U.S. president has been questioned, it comes with an African-American whose name is Hussein and whose father was from Kenya."

The belief that President Obama was not born in U.S. territory, thus making him ineligible to be president, is one of the most absurd political discussions of our time. Despite evidence to the contrary, the fantasy that the president wasn’t born in Hawaii, but perhaps Kenya, refuses to disappear.

Even Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, who certainly hasn’t shown much insight in the immigration debate, has found the issue ridiculous. That is why she vetoed a state law yesterday that would have required all presidential candidates to show their birth certificate or document of baptism. Brewer recognized that this law would be one more reason to turn Arizona into a national embarrassment.

Unfortunately Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal doesn’t consider the matter ridiculous and he has confirmed that he would sign a similar bill circulating in his state legislature when it lands on his desk.

Likewise, millionaire Donald Trump, who seems to be putting his hat in the ring for the Republican nomination although he has threatened to run as an independent, doesn’t think the question is absurd. In fact, he is using it as a central piece of his campaigning.

The Republican establishment is uncomfortable with this issue —as they should be— – and a long list of well-known figures have dismissed these "birthers" as nuts. However, for too long, they’ve been playing a game of alluding to the criticism and minimally denouncing those who promote the idea because this has been one way to tarnish the president’s image.

However, the consequences of their actions have now caught up to them. One important sector of the Republican base —Tea Party enthusiasts— have suddenly backed Trump, and he now tops the list of Republican presidential favorites, because they resonate with his questioning of the president’s birthplace.

We don’t believe it is coincidence that the first time the birthplace of a U.S. president has been questioned, it comes with an African-American whose name is Hussein and whose father was from Kenya. There is certainly a degree of racism —from discomfort to hostility— toward Obama. Despite being born in Hawaii and being a Christian, he continues to be labeled an African and a Muslim by a significant number of Americans.

Thankfully Brewer put an end to the issue in Arizona, at least for now. We’ll have to wait and see what the Republican populist base will do the same.


 

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