by Tonyaa Weathersbee, BlackAmericaWeb.com
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Hatfield just filed a bill that would, if it becomes law, force presidential and vice-presidential candidates to prove their citizenship before their name is placed on the ballot.
The GOP lawmaker claims he’s not a birther, Or rather, one of those wing nuts who still don’t believe that President Barack Obama was born in the U.S. – whites who somehow feel entitled to disregard facts if those facts pose a threat to their privilege.
He claims he’s just looking to enforce constitutional provisions for those seeking the office of the presidency and that he’s concerned that he’s never seen “the particulars of his [Obama’s] birth on a long form.”
Me, I question what other “particulars” Hatfield thinks he needs to see.
Obama’s birth certificate, which can be viewed online and has been examined by credible organizations such as FactCheck.org, shows he was born August 4, 1961. That means he’s over 35.
It also says he was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. That’s in the United States. And he’s lived in the country for more than 14 years.
That’s all the Constitution requires for someone to be eligible to run for president. So if Hatfield is supposed to be a Constitutionalist, then it’s time he stopped taking notes from Glenn Beck’s chalkboard.
Yet alarmingly enough, other lawmakers backed his bill, one that smacks of a time when Southern states used strategies such as at-large elections and dubiously drawn districts to assure that no blacks ever got elected to office.
What’s also alarming is that Hatfield’s bill, as well as similar bills filed in 10 other states, isn’t just about stopping Obama.
It’s about thwarting the possibility of more black or brown people being elected to high offices by creating new hoops for them to jump through to get their names on state ballots.
Apparently, they intend to use birther legislation to create some of those hoops.
Many of the bills, for example, would require that a candidate produce his or her original long-form birth certificate to the Secretary of State.
But there’s a reason why states don’t release original, long-form birth certificates. The original is the ONLY record of the person’s birth that they have. If it gets lost, then the record of that person’s birth is lost.
That makes sense.
Some bills also require that a presidential or vice-presidential candidate be able to prove that their parents were citizens when they were born.
That’s a clear case of someone making crap up as they go along. The 14th Amendment says that anyone who is born in the United States is automatically a citizen.
For Americans who are supposed to be so enamored with the Constitution, it seems they don’t know much about it.
But they do seem to know what to do to thwart people of color from voting and running for office. And I believe we ignore them at our peril – because these efforts are part of a virulent backlash to the growing influence of blacks and Latinos in America.
Now, it’s true that some of the birth certificate requirements could affect white candidates as well. But it seems to me that certain specifics, such as requiring that the names of a child’s parents be on the certificate, could disproportionately hurt black candidates because many are born to single mothers who, in many cases, have been abandoned by, or are estranged from, the father.
And things like having a candidate prove that his or her parents were citizens – which likely wouldn’t pass constitutional muster is aimed at Latino candidates.
Chances are most of these birther proposals won’t make it into law. But the problem is that the fanatics who are behind it are so driven by their hatred of Obama and a future in which minorities will soon be the majority that they’ll keep trying until they find something that sticks.
And if that happens, we need to be prepared to get it unstuck.
August 19, 2012 //
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