Friday, June 3, 2011

Truth Trumps Lies


I submitted this post to The Indianapolis Star, proposing it be an op-ed piece. In it, I complain that very few members of the media anywhere are stating the fact that you can be born in a foreign country and still be a U.S. citizen – as was our daughter - and still be eligible to become the U.S. President. Why aren’t they mentioning it? Because most members of the media don’t know.

The Star’s response? Silence. When I asked about it, “We’ll review it” was the response. After events overtook some of the content of this – Donald forced out of involvement in the Indy 500 – I wrote The Star, offering to revise and resubmit it. Silence.

I’ve decided to post it here, as originally written, even with the pace-car embarrassment now in the past, and with Donald’s withdrawal from a Presidential race he never intended to pursue, anyway. He got all the headlines he craved – and more.

I hope you will share this with reporters and editors. Maybe some will listen and write about this aspect of the U.S. citizenship story that is not being told.

Here’s the blog post / proposed op-ed piece:


Let’s cut to the chase: (1) Barack Obama was born in the United States. (2) You do not have to have been born in the U.S. to serve as the U.S. President. (3) It is not too late to replace Donald Trump as the driver of the Indianapolis 500 Pace Car.

As recently as the latest U.S. presidential campaign, it was revealed that one of the candidates was not born in the U.S. — and Donald Trump kept quiet. Quite a feat. If John McCain, born in Central America, had been elected, he would have been eligible to serve as President, as eligible as his opponent, U.S.-born Barack Obama.

I am saddened that Obama felt compelled to release his birth certificate. He has – yet again – caved in to the very people he should be ignoring. He has bowed to the demands of a group of deniers of the truth, the so-called “birthers,” spurred on by various liars, including Indy Pace Car Driver Donald Trump. Willful denial in the face of facts describes the angry protests of those who follow manipulative “leaders” such as Trump.

Of all the disturbing aspects of this ridiculous discussion of birthplaces, perhaps the most disquieting one is that the American media could have buried this issue a long time ago if only reporters and editors had done their homework and if they had ignored and refused to treat as “news” crackpot ideas promoted by crackpots. And, an adherence to “innocent until proven guilty” instead of the other way around would have caused the media to demand proof of non-citizenship from those who have made the wild, false claims. Until such proof was produced, then coverage of the trumped-up charges should have been denied. It is and was not news. It is and was hearsay, rumors, and lies. If you truly believed Obama was not born a U.S. citizen, then the burden of that proof rested with you.

There appears to have been very little mention in most media of the fact that, even if Obama had been born in, say, Kenya, he would have been born a U.S. citizen, since his mother was an American. Our daughter, born in Kinshasa, Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo), has a birth certificate that’s titled, “Birth Certificate of a U.S. Citizen Born Abroad.” End of discussion. She is eligible to be elected President, just as much as her brother who was born in the U.S., albeit in one of our colonies (Washington, D.C.).

McCain was born to parents who were U.S. citizens in the portion of Panama that was, for nearly 85 years in the 20th century, the Panama Canal Zone, designated by our government as a U.S. territory, after we seized it from Panama. Barry Goldwater, born in the then-U.S. territory of Arizona in 1909, was not challenged when he ran against Lyndon Johnson in 1964. Nor was Mitt Romney’s father, George, a one-time Michigan governor who was born in Mexico, when he sought the Presidency. Questioning Obama’s citizenship isn’t the first time a U.S. President has been the target of false accusations on that topic. President Chester Arthur, born in Vermont to an American mother and an Irish-immigrant father, was said to have been born in Canada with British citizenship. It didn’t deter him from being elected Vice President and succeeding to the Presidency upon the assassination of James Garfield. Arthur was President from 1881 to 1885.

Pace Car Driver Donald Trump, the man of frequent business failures, over-the-top tawdry self-named buildings, a garish lifestyle, and a TV show that has actually dumbed down a medium we hoped had reached bottom, should be denounced for what he is: a publicity-seeking liar. Let’s encourage the media to do some homework and learn the basic facts of U.S. citizenship; let’s also encourage them to dwell on the many critical issues that face us rather than devote column inches or on-air appearances to a man with a harmful-to-others compulsion for attention.

Gail Collins wasted an entire column in The New York Times recently refuting Trump’s lies, one by one. While valuable information might have been there for those three or four readers who somehow missed the birther idiocy over the past few years, she too missed the point. She needed to say, up front, none of this matters, anyway, because Obama’s mother, an American citizen, could have given birth in any country in the world and guaranteed U.S. citizenship to her son because of U.S. Code Title 8, Chapter 12, Subchapter III, Part 1, § 1401. Clarifying the U.S. Constitution’s qualifications for President as being “a natural born citizen” (Article II, Section I), the code offers only a few restrictions to automatic U.S. citizenship for children born outside the U.S. These restrictions (prior residency requirements in the U.S., easily met by most parents) do not apply to the overwhelming majority of foreign-born children of one or two American-citizen parents.

One has to wonder why Trump, even before this latest set of rants against the President, was given the honor of driving the pace car in the first place. It’s an embarrassment for the city and the state and, of course, for the Indianapolis 500 itself. This honor, which should go to someone whom we respect, has been given to a person whose actions and pronouncements are becoming increasingly bizarre. We’re not asking for the driver to be a Mother Theresa. Just be someone that doesn’t repulse us and bring condemnation to our city and its important racing heritage.

Donald Trump represents the worst of American culture. There’s still plenty of time for the Indy 500 officials to say to him: “You’re fired!”


This post was originally published on another blog on May 17, 2011.

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