|“High-tech lynching of an uppity black man” – America’s Day of ShameEkow Nelson
So the United States, the most advanced nation on earth capable of dropping precision-guided missiles to pick out targets in the thickest of forests, had been hoodwinked by a 49 year-old into voting for him even though he knew he was not born in the US. And this guy has managed to maintain the ‘lie’ that he was born in the US ever since he was elected State Senator in Illinois without anyone checking whether it was indeed true that his original birth certificate was in a vault in Hawaii. Does anybody really believe that anyone, let alone President Obama, could have constructed such an elaborate lie to con the American people and the entire world into believing he was born in America when he knew he wasn’t?
What we have witnessed over the last several years and in particular the past few weeks, since property developer Donald Trump’s faux entry in the 2012 Presidential race, is what Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas might have described as the “high-tech lynching of an uppity black man” who dreamed and dared to be President of the United States of America. Above all, this must be one of America media’s day of greatest shame that it provided the technological ‘field’ for such lynching.
Barack Obama has been forced, not only by cranks, but by so-called respectable members of American society including Donald Trump, clergymen and even national and state politicians from senators to Governors like Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, to do what no citizen or native of Hawaii is required to do. Although both Republican and Democratic officials of the State of Hawaii have unequivocally vouched for the veracity of the certificate of live birth Obama released during the 2008 campaign, many of these people and their friends in the mainstream and cable media, have persisted in their belief that Obama was born outside the US. The certificate of live birth may be sufficient proof for any Hawaiian to obtain a driving licence or passport but apparently it is not enough proof for Obama to be President.
There is absolutely no doubt that if Obama were White this issue would not have arisen. But ever since the founding of the Republic that declared them three-fifths of a man, African-Americans have had to prove they were full humans, entitled to the same inalienable rights promised their White counterparts by the constitution of the United States of America.
It was not until after the thirteenth amendment when Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1866 over President Andrew Johnson’s veto, that Blacks were granted the “same right, in every State and Territory in the United States, to make and enforce contracts, to sue, be parties, and give evidence, to inherit, purchase, lease, sell, hold, and convey real and personal property, and to full and equal benefit of all laws and proceedings for the security of person and property, as is enjoyed by white citizens, and shall be subject to like punishment, pains, and penalties, and to none other, any law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom, to the contrary notwithstanding.”
Even so, although the fourteenth amendment asserted the right of freed slaves and their descendants to citizenship and the fifteenth prohibited the denial of voting rights to any citizen on the basis of colour which was prevalent across much of the South then, Blacks were still unable to exercise their franchise and had at best to pass literary tests and at worst, endure intimidation, physical violence and sometimes death just because they dared to exercise their rights as the constitution had granted.
It was not until nearly a century (some 99 years) after the 1866 Act that the Voting Rights of 1965 was passed at the height of civil rights movement that residual discriminatory practices were eventually outlawed across all states.
Forty-six years on, the occupant of the office of President has been subjected to the indignity of having to prove what he said was the case all the along. No President before him has had to prove he was born in the US ; no White President would have been required to prove he was born the US. Rather than his detractors having to prove his guilt (that he was lying about his birth place) – after their various attempts at forging Kenyan Birth Certificates to disreputable distortions of interviews with his paternal Grandmother – Obama had to prove his innocence, like no other President before him or indeed is required of any citizen of the United States of America.
That the US national media fuelled this frenzy and did not speak out against the injustice that was being done and the iniquitous and exceptional treatment of the first African-American President will remain a blot on its reputation for a long time to come. The ignominy that the President has had to suffer because some chose not believe him over such a fundamental issue as to where one was born is a disgrace and a shame on America which has proved once again that it has still to come to terms with its original sin.
© London, April 2011