Thursday, April 28, 2011
I see it as Sideshow Don getting Trumped.
Ridiculous conspiracy-mongers had put up billboards asking "Where's the Birth Certificate?" As if that was what the birthers really wanted. Just show us the long form birth certificate. That's all.
Reality-show millionaire Donald Trump claimed he had some guys working on this problem, but he had heard the birth certificate was lost.
Seems like a simple thing to put this all to bed--provided birtherism was really about facts, or evidence, or proof. Just get the long-form birth certificate, and reasonable people should be satisfied.
So he did.
Sideshow Don is putting on a show of "winning!" as if his blathering about the Birther issue put Obama in a corner, and he had to release this document that he didn't want to and blah-blah-blah. Obama was never in a corner. He knew where the fuck he was born. It was a stupid, racist, childish question regarding his legitimacy that made this an issue--and Trump has no reason to be proud of it. In fact, since he was proven wrong, since this document supports all the other information we already had out there, it would probably be in his best interest to quit it before he looks more like a clown.
But he's not quitting. He's switched to a new and to my mind, more overtly bigoted claim: he wants Obama's college transcripts to verify....that Obama really is pretty damn smart? What?
We've seen this kind of open dismissal of a person's academic achievements based on race before. I'm thinking of Pat Buchanan's dismissal of Sonia Sotomayor's intellectual qualifications. (Not surprisingly, Buchanan's with Trump on this one.) What this assertion boils down to is: this person of color could not have accomplished these things on his/her own merits--full stop. It's a poisonous accusation. It very definitely both overstates the influence of affirmative action and downplays the persistence of racism in our culture. But the worst part is casting doubt on the real success and hard work of individuals by calling them privileged by virtue of being a minority. Maybe, just maybe, affirmative action gets someone in the door--but after that, it has to be all them. For it to be otherwise, one is impugning the integrity of every professor who would have cleared "substandard" work or body that granted "undeserved" honors. It takes work to make the most of any situation.
This is especially "rich" coming from a silver-spoon doofus like Trump. If you wanted to compare a guy who took a world class education and turned towards community organizing and public service, and reached the highest office in his country before the age of fifty, with a guy who went bankrupt a couple of times running a casino business started with daddy's money? Really? Trump wants to go after who's more fucking clever?
Quit it, Donald. He could have whipped out the long form certificate at any time, but did it just for you. Just like you believe. What this does is give every serious-minded person reason to dismiss garbage coming from the mouth of someone dumb enough to have gone in for birtherism in the first place. Obama addressed the failings of the media very specifically on this matter in his address. And some journalists are realizing that to end the lunacy of this birther thing, you've got to push the hell back. And hard.
I know there's dissatisfaction on the left that he had to do this thing at all, and that it may have seemed to legitimize the question by answering it--I'd have to say it was already being legitimized in polls and the press. He answered it, but not before a whole lot of yutzes fell into a special, yutz-sized trap called "siding with ignorance and bigotry". Letting that sort of thing happen is kind of an Obama specialty. He doesn't seem to mind letting people go to a lot of trouble to make fools of themselves. I rather like that about him.