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A man of many words. Profane, profound, loyal to a fault and a right rat bastard. I love the finer things in life: expensive cigars, cheap women and all the salted, cured meats I can eat. A friend to dogs, lover of humanity and despiser of people. If I were King the world would be a better place, because, well...I would be King! Oh, and I like ice cream.

Friday, April 29, 2011

This "Birther" Business

I'm following this bullshit via the New York times and many of my Facebook friends. Now President Obama has felt compelled to post his birth certificate online so the world will know that being born in Hawaii makes you an American citizen.

Still, the howling mob of idiots scream "Fake! Fake! Fake!"

And I'm wondering just what is really going on here. No one can seriously doubt that Barack Obama is a natural born Amurikan. This goes deeper. Almost beyond race. But not quite.

Then it came to me in the night. "Our" world is passing away. What do I mean by "Our" world. I'm a 61 year old white guy. From my earliest years I was taught the history of the world through Caucasian eyes. Christopher Columbus, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Florence Nightingale, George Armstrong Custer, Teddy Roosevelt, Susan B. Anthony, George Patton, John Glenn. All white. Mostly men. No doubt, like you, that was my frame of reference.

For almost all of American history our story has been dominated by white folks. Oh sure, there were the likes of Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, even Muhammad Ali. But they fit into the story because they were "homegrown" so to speak.

But now the story is shifting. It's been shifting for some time, but the rise to the White House of a black man has brought it into sharper focus, especially since he is the son of a non-US-born father. That's key.

For years we've known the fastest growing minority in the US is among Spanish speaking people. There's that whole movement to have English declared the "official language" of the United States. Bet you find a lot of Birthers are involved in that.
You can declare all you want. People are still going to speak what they're comfortable with.

The east and west coasts teem with people of Asian descent. Pockets of various ethnicities exist in what seem like the most unlikely places. Somalis in New Marshfield, Ohio? Who'd a thunk it in 1968?

We always like to claim America is a melting pot. But that seems to work only if the ingredients come from Europe. If you're from east of Istanbul or south of Cairo the welcome mat isn't always so welcoming.

Doesn't matter. People are still drawn to America because our economic, social and political potential is still the best in the world. We are inexorably linked to the world outside our borders. And the world is linked to "us."

The sooner we quit thinking about "Them" and "Us" the better off we'll all be. It's ALL US! The face of America is changing every day. The America of 2111 is going to look a WHOLE lot different than the America of 2011. Get used to it. Better yet, embrace it. We are a better people and a better country when we realize this.

The Birthers don't get this. Probably they'll never get it. They'll be swept away by history.

Good riddance!

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