The American President

“Real Gs move in silence, like Obama” Bassey Ikpi

There was a guy I was friends with in law school. I don’t remember when I met him, but I do know that every few months for some years, he would say something along the lines of “oh, why did I think you were born in Panama?”
I’m sure the first few times I’d shrug and say “mmiunnno, my parents are Panamanian, but I was born and raised in Brooklyn.”
He came to the law school graduation party my mom threw for me at my childhood home and as he looked around at my baby pictures, he once again asked “when did you move here?”
“When I was seven,” I answered because that’s when my mom and I moved to that particular apartment.
“Really? And you don’t speak Spanish?”
“Wait. What? Move where?”
“To the US.”
I didn’t know about the side-eye back then, but I would have been throwing it. Hard.
“Oh, that’s right, that’s right.”
TWO YEARS AFTER THAT, he made the same “mistake,” again. This time, I looked him square in the face and said:
“[Name withheld], I don’t know why you find it so incredible that I am an American citizen. But I am. I was born in a Brooklyn hospital, went to New York public schools, graduated high school from a prep school founded in the 1800s, I have a college degree from the second oldest University in the United States, which has produced five American Presidents, including the current occupant of the White House, I have a law school degree from a University founded by Alexander Hamilton, who wrote the constitution of the United States. The very same law degree you hold. I have worked at the White House. And stood in the oval office. I am not sorta American or almost American, I am all the fucking way American. Got it?”
“No… yeah…I didn’t mean anything by it. I just forgot. Why are you so mad?”
I don’t think we spoke after that, though we might be facebook friends.

So there I was, last Friday, taking a walk around lower Manhattan looking for a liquor store. I had decided to give the Trimbach Riesling another try mostly because the company rep on twitter made me laugh.

Yes, corporate America, customer service is that easy. I approached the counter at the liquor store and heard a black man angrily asking “if he looks like a fucking kid”?

I quickly gathered they were asking for ID.

“I ain’t a fucking kid. I come in this motherfucking store every fucking week and now y’all acting like I’m a kid?”

The clerk said something to the effect of “we ask everybody, Sir. It’s the law.”

By now, the black man had started rooting around in his jeans for his wallet. As he slams his driver’s license on the counter top, he says “this is some Obama bullshit.”

Indeed, it had been a little more than 24 hours since the President of the United States, a former United States Senator, had to hold a press conference to answer innuendos from the press and TV personalities that, and to be honest, I wasn’t following the news cycle all that closely, either he was born in Kenya or that Hawaii isn’t part of the union.

I wonder who broke the Donald’s google.

The so-called birther movement had been gathering steam since 2006. The President’s birth certificate became such a frequently requested document that Hawaii is trying to make a mint charging extra fees to all those asking for it. Years ago the Governor of Hawaii has signed affidavits attesting to the authenticity of the document. An army deserter who refused to deploy to Iraq because she didn’t recognize the authority of our newly elected Commander in Chief appealed all the way up to the United States Supreme Court with these ridiculous claims. Coming up with bubkis.

I laughed at birthers, much the same way I laughed at the crazy fringe who were all “President GOOORRREE, maan. He won the popular vote!”

Yah huh. As a former police captain friend of mine used to say “tell your story walking, pal.”

And then, I had a weird ass conversation with *my mother* a couple of weeks ago.

“Well, I don’t know where he was born.”

I swear, I caught whiplash swerving to avoid crashing my car.

The fuck?

So Donald Trump says he has a *witness* who will soon come forward, who says she SAW President Obama being born in Kenya, Meredith Viera doesn’t laugh in his gotdang face. Charitably, because she’s shilling for their shared network. Or she’s…well, let’s stay charitable. And once again this becomes a story? Despite the affidavits, the thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of previously requested birth certificates AND A UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT DISMISSAL?

And now my mom “isn’t sure”?

Okay, one more time for the folks in the cheap seats, here’s my birth certificate, the President wearily says. We cool, now? Can I get back to work? Want to see my teeth, motherfuckers? He said that last part quietly so only the black people could hear. We hear real good.

See also: Dance, run.

But no, we weren’t cool. The press cut away from the President’s conference to ask *Donald Trump* if that was good enough. And what did Mr. Trump say? “I don’t know. I have to look at it. I’ll get back to you guys.”

And did the press ask him about his witness? Did anybody say “Mr. Trump, could it be that you are full of shit, Sir?”

Nah, it was on to the next thing. Why was the President yukking it up at a thousand dollar a plate dinner with the beltway elite while the poor Americans are unemployed and getting robbed at the gas pumps. Doesn’t he have important work to do…you know, until a year from now when we’ll need to see his birth certificate again.

Boom. President Obama takes a little time out of his Sunday night to mention that “by the by, US forces have shot Osama bin Laden in the face and dumped his body in the ocean.” Um…according to Muslim law.
Chants of U-S-A, U-S-A, U-S-A ring out across the land. The New York *Post* runs the headline “We Got Him!”
Oh, word? We a “we” now? Thought he was the Kenyan, Indonesian Muslim Socialist?
Ah, but the President’s detractors regrouped. Within a day, he was criticized for using the first person pronoun in his speech. Rush Limbaugh was sarcastically congratulating the President on a good job. Sarah Palin, and God forgive me for violating my own rules about quoting the idiocy of this hack, said “And we thank our president . . . We thank President Bush for having made the right calls to set up this victory.”
You thought it was bad that she couldn’t name foreign leaders? She doesn’t even know who the President of the United States is. Never mind that President Bush flatly said bin Laden wasn’t a priority. Or that Senator McCain stated he wouldn’t chase bin Laden into Pakistan. Nope, President Obama didn’t do squat. Except you know, give the kill order and produce the body of the so-called most wanted man.

All of this to say, I sit here tonight in awe of the President of the United States. The American President. I dismally shake my head at those who see nothing wrong with a man being hounded, for years, about an issue that has been open and closed so many times it even makes Kim Kardashian blush. Every President tells his story… President Bill Clinton was “the man from Hope,” except he wasn’t and the name on his birth certificate wasn’t even Bill Clinton. President George W. Bush, the Texas cowboy was born in Connecticut and went to boarding school in Massachusetts. Don’t dare ask any questions about his military service. You’ll lose your network TV job and end up on HDNET, whatever that is.

Now that the birth certificate issue has been put on temporary hold, Pat Buchanan has questions that President Obama is “affirmative action all the way!” Yup, he probably is and you did mention that the program was signed into law by Richard Nixon, right?
Hello? Tap tap is this thing on?

The White House is a fishbowl. It always has been and probably always will be, but I’ve never seen the biography of a President so persistently poked and prodded as that of President Obama. Never mind that, with TWO autobiographies published before he even took the highest office in the land, where he ADMITS to cocaine use for jeebus sake, no President has probably been as transparent as this man. At 30 he wasn’t drunk driving cars into ditches, but yet he gets derided for “community organizing.” And yet our press, in the name of the AMERICAN PEOPLE ask the AMERICAN PRESIDENT to “just show us one more time that you are in fact American.” Then ask some dude with a Russian wife, if that’s “good enough”?

There are those who claim the President’s ego is too large and his speeches are littered with “I” and “me.” Well, fuck yeah, nobody else is giving him credit for anything — oh, except the deficit and the bailout plans which were instituted in 2008, months before he took the oath of office in 2009 — but you know, whatever, President Obama is magic.

I can remember the rage I felt at one asshat repeatedly questioning my legitimacy and I ultimately handled it with my temper and profanity. That President Obama doesn’t even break a sweat and just keeps it moving, is why I’m riding with him in 2012 and in 2013 we’ll start work on the Michelle Obama ’16 campaign.

Ask about me.

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63 Responses to The American President

  1. Pingback: Clareified » Blog Archive » The American President

  2. Stacey says:

    Why wasn’t I invited to that graduation party? Great post.

  3. Preach it! That is a righteous rant.

  4. Jim Mitchem says:

    don’t you just love blogging? getting it out and all that. you go girl. wait, i don’t think i’m officially allowed to say that, am i? i’m a white man. you go girl is very ethnic. white isn’t ethnic. so strike the you go girl reference.

    something about president obama is just perfect. i don’t know what it is yet – maybe he’s the great communicator, not reagan? anyway, i don’t even care where he was born. as long as he’s the leader of my country, that’s good enough.

    did you ever see The Dead Zone? sometimes I think about that, though. because he’s too perfect. Only, Martin Sheen was the guy who was going to be president in that, and Christopher Walken was the sane guy. Weird huh? and so i think we’re all going to praise this guy, and he’s going to turn out to be something really bad – like the devil. And then I say, ‘fuck it’ because i can’t be bothered with worrying about stuff like that. so i’m just going with it. obama in 2012! in charlotte!

    anyway. commenting is fun too.

  5. lightning36 says:

    1) Good thing Obama is well versed in Muslim traditions so that the burial could be performed properly. : o )

    2) Oh yeah — doesn’t The Donald belong to you New Yorkers? Please keep him!

    3) And finally — I hear that Tom Brady still wears women’s underwear. Just sayin’ …

  6. pearatty says:

    Well, I guess you can have your Obama legacy. I’ll be in Canada stumping for the New Democratic Party! Take that, Liberal Party! Whoo hoo!

    What? Off topic?

    • Stephane says:

      Oh, I see how it is, america gets a sorta black President and you pack your things and move to Canada? Mmmhmmm, I heard about you Arizonans.

      • Kamil says:

        Rob, you are correct; with a mritajoy PM Harper would be in a much better position to ‘turn right’. Having seen how many Liberals have defined “right” in the past, I figured you were going the same route and jumped the gun so to speak, sorry. “Are we not all in agreement that Harper has been tacking to the centre because of political circumstance rather than ideology? “I disagree with the premise of your question as it assumes what the ideology of the PM is going to get in the way of trying to run a responsible government. Yes, some of these programs will get votes from the ‘center’, but why is it assumed it is the votes that are the reason for the money flowing all the time? The environment is out front in the minds of many Canadians so he has to do something about it. That is his job as the PM of all Canadians and the head of that beast known as the Canadian government.I do not expect the PM to go too far ‘right’ even if he gets a huge mritajoy for the same reason as above, and I do not want him to either. The center is a nice place to be. Al

  7. Rakewell says:

    I like you, Stephane, and I enjoy your writing. And I’ll readily agree that the birther stuff is utter nonsense, Trump is a buffoon, and the media have badly mishandled the whole subject.

    But damn, girl, you’ve got yourself some seriously screwed up political values. The only way you can be in “awe” of the current president and want him to stay in office longer is if your public policy priorities don’t include the economy, peace, civil rights, constitutionally limited executive power, or, more generally, the whole concept of liberty. On all of those topics, Obama is just fucking awful–neck-and-neck in shameful horribleness with George W. Bush.

    Liberty is the thing I value above all else, and Obama values it not at all, judging by his actions and decision rather than his rhetoric. So I deem him not just a failure, but a menace, a stain on our nation, a disgrace, a big fat black mark in the history books.

    I have to assume that liberty is not at the top of your political agenda. So, then, what is? What values and issues most animate and motivate you in the political realm, such that you can look at this man with “awe” and want him to give you more of whatever goodness you perceive is gushing forth from his person and/or office?

    • Stephane says:

      Post on President Obama’s policies is coming. This post is about how instead of a conversation or debate about what he’s done or is doing as President, we seemed stalled on should he even be allowed to be President. No, like really check him again…there’s gotta be something. No? Look again! And honestly, three years after his election, I’m sick of it.

    • Stephane says:

      Oh, but spoilers: as a first generation black, woman american attorney, yes, I’m a fan of “liberty” and “the constitution.” And as a student of history, I also know that this country once counted people like me as 3/4ths a person, denied me the right to vote and during wartime locked a bunch of americans away in camps because they were of japanese descent curious about how you rank that when President Obama is the “big black disgraceful stain.” *whistles*

  8. Drizztdj says:

    You claim to be American and a hockey fan yet do not like the movie “Slap Shot”.


    *by the way, excellent post, stay awesome

    • Stephane says:

      I have revised my “slapshot” opinion. I liked the first 18 minutes and the last 12. It should be a 30 minute long movie.

  9. Grange95 says:

    I caucused for Obama in Iowa, voted for him, and donated money to his campaign (first ever for me on the national level). Like many folks, I’ve been disappointed by some of his policies, and been frustrated by other decisions. But every so often there is a moment where I realize I’m damn proud–and fortunate–to have him as my President.

  10. RedxBranch says:

    When the ‘right’ figured out that they would’nt be able to defeat Candidate Obama on the issues (closing gitmo, getting out of Afghanistan, Iraq; social issues such as universal health care, ending DADT, etc.) the ‘de-legitimizing’ began. It continues to this very day. What I don’t understand is, if he won the oval office based on what he said he was going to do if elected and it was good enough to actually GET him elected, then why does he not go ahead and do those things so that I (and everyone else that voted for him) will want to vote for him again in 2012?

  11. MissusB says:

    I too was thinking yesterday that I was proud that Obama is our President. He went in and swiftly took care of someone that the American people have considered a threat since 9/11, even if the previous President did not seen him that way. I felt oddly relieved that Osama is dead, and more than impressed with the way that it was done. The President made a bold move and I think that he deserves full credit for it.

    Great post! Thanks.

  12. pearatty says:

    “Oh, I see how it is, america gets a sorta black President and you pack your things and move to Canada? Mmmhmmm, I heard about you Arizonans.”

    No, not at all! We Arizonans just hate Mexicans. Is Obama Mexican? That would explain a lot, actually. What? Actually, I’m pretty sure I went to ASU with a chick whose mom witnessed Obama’s birth while she was on spring break in Cabo. Pretty clever of him to try to pass as a sorta black guy.

    But seriously, this is why I want to move to Canada:
    “What I don’t understand is, if he won the oval office based on what he said he was going to do if elected and it was good enough to actually GET him elected, then why does he not go ahead and do those things so that I (and everyone else that voted for him) will want to vote for him again in 2012”

    When it was Bush, I was going to be damned if I was going to leave MY country to be defiled by dumbass war criminals. I stayed, and I fought for my country. I worked for voting rights, I tromped through ice storms and record blizzards in Iowa, I went door-to-door in trailer parks in gun lovin’ Arizona, to save my country.

    And we won, right? If this were baseball, I’d be pleased. My team won, has a charismatic new pitcher, and it looks like we’re definitely going to the World Series next year. But it’s not baseball, and it’s not about winning. It’s about what you do after you win.

    We still torture people. We still coddle and cater to the corporate class. We still don’t have universal single payer healthcare. We still drop bombs as our diplomacy of first resort. We still imprison people indefinitely without process. Hell, we still haven’t recognized the Armenian genocide — that’s how weak-ass we are.

    So now I know. This is the best we can do. We won, and nothing much is different.

    Well, except Osama’s dead. There’s that.

    I’m not moving because we lost. I’m moving because we won, and it’s meaningless.

  13. pearatty says:

    Oh, by the way, you’re totally right about the whole birth certificate thing. Democratic candidates need to get better at being angry, and being direct. So many of them seem to cop this “I’m not dignifying that with a response” attitude. I think that leaves the majority of people saying: “You know, if someone [called me a coward when I was wounded for my country][questioned my citizenship/right to be president][said I’d killed my aide], I’d be pissed! I wouldn’t just ignore them. There must be something to what they’re saying.”

    I think Obama’s response would have been better if he didn’t beat around the bush. Something to the effect of: “Here’s my long-form birth certificate. I am sick and tired of hearing about this from people who seem to either think that Hawaii isn’t one of these Great United States, or have been misled by ignorant and jingoistic conspiracy theories. I am an American. I was born in America. Anyone who wants to question my heritage from now on better take off their tie and jacket and meet me outside; because I’m done talking about this.”
    Stomps away mad and takes no questions

    Of course, Obama doesn’t do emotion. But still.

  14. KenP says:

    Well, I’ll vote for you for President. You’ve given better movie review than 90% of those who got elected. That’s better than most reasons for voting for any of them.

    I do want to see your birth certificate though. (I collect foot prints.)

  15. pearatty says:

    Hey who was the guy at your graduation party? Just describe him physically.

  16. pearatty says:

    What? Too many comments?

  17. pearatty says:

    Hellooo? Anyone?

    • pearatty says:

      What? Me? Or Obama?

      • Dude, who writes all their accolades in a post? “I went to school here, I did this and that.” The Rooster says that anybody who does such things is at best….a C-Lister. The Rooster would like you to also say, people are fucken racist because Obama is black…if it was a white President nobody would be asking these questions. The Rooster doesn’t like to wussy foot around these topics. Call a spade a spade…wait, The Rooster doesn’t mean that in a racist way…just like anybody questioning the origin of the President isn’t covering that with saying they aren’t being racist….code words…just like, calling a spade a spade….or a C-Lister a loser…The Rooster has spoken.

  18. sirfwalgman says:

    Obama is done. He can move back to Libya now. :P. Just kidding! About the Libya part. I can’t see him winning another term. I am pretty good at predicting these things. Lotta hate out there for the man. I think it’s because he promised to be “so different” and turned out to be politics as usual. IMHO. Anyways I do not believe in the political system so my opinion does not matter. Luvs you even if you are Peruvian! 😛

  19. F-Train says:

    Hmm. I was at that party. I am trying to remember who else was there but it was so long ago…

    Suffice it to say, it was not me. I know you were born on Mars.

    • pearatty says:

      That’s a relief. I thought it might be you F-Train, but then why did Stephane keep talking to you after?

      We’re getting close to narrowing it down. I wonder if I have pictures from that party?

  20. pearatty says:

    Have you noticed that your blog’s spell-checker says “Obama” is misspelled, but “Bush”, “Clinton”, “Carter”, “Regan”, “Ford”, “Nixon”, “Johnson”, “Kennedy”, “Eisenhower”, “Truman” and “Roosevelt” are fine?

    Soooooooo racist.

  21. Pingback: Happy Birthday, President Obama | Dr. Clare's Electronicorium Emporium

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