The threat of Kenyan aggression

Zach Wiita

“He is not a citizen of the United States! He is a citizen of Kenya!”

It’s the battle cry of a segment of a certain political movement. Perhaps you’ve heard of them. They call themselves “the Birthers.”

“Birthers” are people who believe that the President of the United States was not born in the U.S., but was instead born in another country (usually Kenya) and that he is constitutionally ineligible to serve as president. The most common form of this conspiracy theory claims President Obama to have been born in a village in Kenya and smuggled into Hawaii. His parents, apparently anticipating their newborn son would grow up to aspire to the presidency, supposedly then placed two false birth announcements in Honolulu newspapers.

The important thing to understand about “Birthers” is that they don’t let facts get in the way of their delusions.

Take, for instance, the claim that President Obama was not born in Hawaii. They claim either that President Obama has not yet produced a valid legal birth certificate or that he has presented a falsified birth certificate. Both are blatantly false. President Obama has produced the short-form certificate of live birth that is issued to authorized individuals by Hawaii while his primary birth certificate remains on file with the state. Short-form certificates have the same legal weight as the certificate on file with the state. While the original paper document was destroyed along with every other paper birth certificate in 2000 when Hawaii digitized its records, Chiyome Fukino, Department of Health Director for Hawaii, has repeatedly vouched for the validity of President Obama’s birth certificate.

The only evidence cited in support of the claim that Obama was born in Kenya comes from a statement made by his step-grandmother-who was tricked into giving that statement and, as Chris Matthews on MSNBC has noted, immediately renounced it once she realized what she had said in English.

The evidence is clear. President Obama was born in Hawaii, and as per the 14th Amendment, is a United States citizen.

The conspiracy has other holes. If his parents were set on making certain their son could be seen as a citizen, why would his mother have been out of the country at a time when she knew labor was imminent? If this is part of some insidious plot to install a foreigner into the presidency, how exactly did they know that their son would go along with the plot? President Obama famously joked that he got his middle name from someone who didn’t know he would run for president. Why, indeed, would they have given him a foreign-sounding name? What, exactly, is the goal of this “Manchurian Candidate”-style conspiracy?

And why would this insidious cabal be unaware that U.S. law holds that any baby born overseas to a United States citizen receives U.S. citizenship?

These so-called “Birthers” do not live in reality, and no mountain of facts can satisfy them. They live in a fantasy world of epic conspiracies to which Obama, his family, friends of his family, the state of Hawaii, the state of Illinois, the D.N.C. and the U.S. State Department would all have had to have been party. Their conception of current events bears a closer resemblance to a James Bond film than to reality.

“Birthers” are obviously motivated either by an inability to accept that a Democrat or that an African-American can be as legitimately American as a Republican or a European-American. They are either partisan extremists or racists – or both – and are an embarrassment to any rational American.

I for one will rest easy tonight knowing that the United States is safe from the threat of Kenyan aggression.

Zach Wiita is a senior political science and theatre studies major and a columnist for the Summer Kent Stater. Contact him [email protected].