A lot of hay is still being made about where Obama was born and/or where he was raised. Although it has been proven without a doubt that he was, in fact, born in Hawai'i and spent the majority of his life in the United States there are still people, to this day, that claim that he was born in Kenya. They like to point to the supposed Kenyan "birth certificate" as proof even though less than a day after it's "discovery" it was found to be a fake. Even the website that originally posted the "birth certificate" admitted that it was an absolute forgery.
You have Mike Huckabee going on television and for just under five minutes claiming that Obama once lived in Kenya with his father and grandfather (this despite the fact that he was mostly raised by his mother's parents not his father's). Huckabee later "apologized" and said that he meant to say Indonesia. I do not personally believe this to be a simple slip of the tongue on his part. He was governor of Arkansas for just under 11 years and nothing this man does is miscalculated and unplanned.
Other politicians and politicos will say that they "believe" the President was born in Hawai'i because he claims to have been born there and that they will "take his word for it."
What brings this all up is that I got to thinking back to when George W. Bush was elected to his first term as President. Despite losing the General Election and serious questions about missing or uncounted ballots he came out ahead in the the Electoral vote. For years people who claimed that he was not the President were ridiculed and accused of being anti-American. Yet now we have a small proportion of people (I would guess at about the same or below the number of people that never believe Bush to actually have won his first term) making this "Obama is not a REAL American" claim and if they are challenged people go absolutely insane.
That brings me to the crux of my blog today. We have gotten to the point in our society that it is impossible to question the intentions of one group of people without absolutely being shouted down and called all sorts of things while it is happening.
Is there a racist element to the TEA Party? Absolutely. Is it the majority of people that participate? Hardly. To ignore that minority of people that are participating that are racists is a huge disservice. Trying to spin it into something positive also does not help. When members of a TEA Party go into a town hall meeting and shout down anyone that has a differing opinion than them, calling it a civil debate is just absolutely ludicrous. Painting every single person as a racist because of the racist element is counterproductive.
Are there people at the protests in Wisconsin solely there to cause problems? Absolutely. Is it the majority of the people that participate? Hardly. Are there people there that have been bussed in from other states? Again, absolutely. Is this the majority? Not even close. Claiming that those that are protesting are only in it for the money (though that is capitalism) or that they are being unethical because they are redressing their government is counterproductive.
Debates in this country lost their civility a long time ago and have been simply relegated to junior high school yard shouting matches. Who can get the best cheap shot in, who can come up with the best nickname insult. Shouting over someone, whether they are left or right, because you do not like their beliefs or viewpoints is not civil debate, it is not even debate, it is childish.
Instead of focusing on whether or not the President is American (he is) these people could be focusing on much more pressing matters, like job creation.
John Boehner is the new Speaker of the House in Washington. He believes that Republicans won in large part because they had better ideas about how to create jobs. Last week it was announced that the DOJ would know longer enforce the ban on gay marriages from the "Defense of Marriage Act" passed by Congress a few years ago. Boehner immediately called out President Obama for trying to score political points and not focusing on jobs. A few days later Boehner announced that the House would take up legislation immediately forcing the DOJ to enforce that ban. Apparently in Boehner's mind by doing this it will create jobs. I am not sure how, exactly, that will work but I guess we will see.
A special Rest in Peace to former bassist of Alice N' Chains, Mike Starr. He is the second original band member to die, following Layne Staley.