“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.
“I. Was. BORN. IN. BROOKLYN. NEW YORK. UNITED. STATES. OF.”
“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.
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.