I don’t know if the allegations found in Philip Berg’s civil action are true. I did not sever Barack Obama’s umbilical cord, I do not know anyone who did, and therefore I cannot know for sure absent more than circumstantial evidence whether or not Stanley Ann Dunham opened wide and gave birth to the Illinois liberal in Kenya, in Hawaii, or elsewhere.
Perhaps we can look into the destination for mass shipments of gold, frankincense and myrrh in early August of 1961. Or perhaps we could just ask Keith Olbermann — I’m sure he has a framed photograph of the blessed event.
What I do know is that, when the United States Constitution was penned mere steps from where Berg’s lawsuit was filed yesterday afternoon, those imperfect but brilliant gentlemen who wrote the fifth clause of Article II, Section 1 established the trio of specific eligibility requirements–citizenship, age and residency–in hopes of increasing the probability that the elected officials who were to assume the presidency in years to come would be of sound mind, of good judgment, and in possession of a soul rooted in an undying love for America.
It was important to those courageous men that the future leaders of their fledgling nation understand what it means to be an American. Every clause in that document is there for a reason, each a lesson learned from fresh wounds of tyranny gone but not forgotten, and the framers made a point to require that, at the very least, a potential president must have been a citizen of the United States “at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution.” Unfettered, undivided devotion and loyalty to America was of the utmost concern; simply put, only those who fought and bled for Her independence, or at the very least understood the meaning behind, need for and potential of this great experiment could be trusted with its charge.
Regardless of whether Barack Obama was born in a hospital in Honolulu or a hut in Kenya, the real question brought forth by Philip Berg’s civil action, to me, is not one of constitutional eligibility but rather of moral and intellectual and even ideological qualification.
Barack Obama’s actions show a penchant for blaming America first and placing Her needs second. His associations show that no unimaginably awful deed goes unrewarded, that the want for friendship, appeasement and superficial detente overshadows the need for a firm grasp on reality and unapologetic employment of common sense. His aspirations make us believe that we can live our lives blameless for societal and economic ills, and that centuries-old blood feuds can be solved with a handshake and conversation over coffee and a chilled plate of arugula.
John McCain, wrong on so many issues, was 100 percent right on Wednesday when he stated that he never questioned Obama’s patriotism, only his judgment. At a time when the United States faces unprecedented threats from every angle, within and without, at a time when Congressional malfeasance–or, in the case of Pelosi’s House and the energy crisis, nonfeasance–could have disastrous effects for decades to come, sound judgment is of the utmost importance.
For our founding fathers, unflinching patriotism, unassailable public virtue and unflappable judgment were inherent among those who helped to establish the United States of America, whether on the battlefield in Trenton or in Congress in Philadelphia, as those who were citizens “at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution” knew why they were there, what America was about, and why She was so desperately needed.
Regardless of whether he was born in Kenya or in Hawaii, regardless of whether his birth certificate is his half-sister’s or his own, or whether he went by the name of Barack Obama or Barry Soetoro, this self-proclaimed “Citizen of the World” has much to learn about what it truly means to be an American.
I wrote those words a little after midnight on Friday, August 22, 2008, only a few hours after breaking the story on Philip Berg’s lawsuit challenging Barack Obama’s constitutional eligibility to serve as president of the United States. While I still cannot attest to the veracity of Phil Berg’s claims, or anyone else’s for that matter, I am steadfast in my belief that Obama does indeed have much to learn about what it means to be an American.
As an American, I am appalled at the trend we’re seeing, of the inevitable candidate–now one month away from being the official president-elect and two months away from being the 44th president of the United States–and his penchant for remaining above the law and beyond reproach. The likely reality that Obama will escape the Federal Election Commission audit despite well-documented campaign contribution errors and the mere fact that nearly ten percent of his record take came from undisclosed sources makes me sick to my stomach; the almost certain chance that he will assume office in January after failing to release even the most basic of information as to his constitutional qualifications–an independently verified, vault copy of his birth certificate–keeps me up at night.
It strikes me that our nation is for sale to the highest bidder, regardless of where the money for the bid is coming from, or that bidder’s intentions for America. I don’t like it. I don’t like it at all.
I have done more anonymous work behind the scenes on this issue than you can imagine, and the very idea that many of you mistake my unfettered optimism regarding the strength of America and Americans to mean that I have somehow given up on ensuring that our Constitution is upheld is a slap to the face considering the time I have given up with my family, the schoolwork I have neglected, and more.
Since the election and its unfortunate result, I have been bombarded with e-mails from people who just don’t know what to do, where else to turn, and I find that many of these people are relying upon the legal actions filed by Philip Berg and Leo Donofrio and others as a last resort. I don’t like that much, either. I don’t like it because that mentality neglects the hardships Americans have faced in the past, the threats we have stared down, the stumbling blocks we have overcome. For that reason, I have encouraged everyone since the election to remember that America is bigger than one man, that a return to our most basic of ideals may help us emerge from the coming dark hour stronger for having been there. Some of you have taken this as the waving of a white flag.
It is not. I stay optimistic because we must. I apply pressure on people like Philip Berg and Leo Donofrio because they will likely be stronger for it. When Berg’s action was in its infancy, for example, I knew he would run into difficulty in overcoming the standing argument, and I pressed him on it every time we spoke. “What will you do to show standing?” I asked, over and over and over again. He wasn’t happy with me, but he took his licks at the district court level and came back with an infinitely stronger argument. I’m hoping that pressing Donofrio on some loose ends will do the same.
Either way, I do think that it is important to remember that the courts may not adjudicate these matters as we would like. There have been unfortunate decisions in the past which seem to have spat in the face of the Constitution, and we have survived. We have survived because America is more than just a document — America is the manifestation of ideas and ideals put forth by men who knew exactly what they didn’t want Her to be, men who built this nation out of lessons learned. America will fail when we no longer learn lessons from our defeats, and it is only through defeat that there is truly a lesson to be learned.