Thursday, April 28, 2011

Birthers, Birth Certificates, and the State of Politics in America

Yesterday morning as I'm getting ready to walk out the door, get the kids to preschool, and get to my office to work, ABC News breaks in with a news bulletin.  Cut to George Stephanopolous who introduces the man who needs no introductions as he takes the podium at the White House for about a 3-minute press statement.

And so now we have a long-form birth certificate for the 44th president of the United States, Barack Hussein Obama, II.  Good for us, right?


No, seriously.  All the way around, I consider this a fail.  We have information now that we didn't have before.  But at what cost to us as individuals and as a society?  Fail.

Senator and candidate Obama could've put all this to bed before the election.  I'm not saying he needed to do so, but it could've been done.  And in case you haven't noticed, conspiracy nuts don't let go of stuff easily (hello, 9/11 wack-jobs).  Maybe he should've.  He certainly could've.  Fail.

But now that he's President, he has way too much stuff to do, right?  Afghanistan.  Iraq.  Libya.  Syria.  Falling dollar.  End of the American domination of the world economy by 2016.  Struggling economy.  Gas at $4 per gallon pre-summer.  Massive storms across the country.  Japan.  Budget crises.  And on and on.  So he surely doesn't have time for this birth certificate stuff, right?  Well, considering that the rest of his published schedule yesterday was basically an interview with Oprah for her new network and a fundraising event in NYC, it didn't sound like a SitRoom or political war room kind of day for the President.  Therefore, he just might have had some time to put down this distraction.  Fail.

And that's just the President.  What about the press?  In the midst of everything going on that's actually important in the world, we have incredible coverage of the Royal Wedding and the birth certificate.  Are you kidding me?  Fail.

And what about our culture?  Most of us think the President's a Muslim.  And before the release of the long-form birth certificate only 38% of us believed he was born in the U.S.  We're taking information and opinion from an iffy bad-coifed business man who has a reality show or a guy who is going to profit (from book sales and advertising dollars) from promoting conspiracies against the left-wing radicals?  Fail.

And that just leaves you and me personally.  As individuals, in what kind of civil discourse are we participating?  What emails do I forward that are slanderous or libelous?  Just how small and pathetic am I going to become before waking up to the spiritual, physical, economical, social, and relational reality that there are important things to be done?  Or will I ever wake up from that at all?  Will you?  Or will we fail too?

But that's just me thinking thoughts...

(editorial post-script:  I'm a lot more ticked off and concerned about the last three paragraphs - press, culture, individuals - than I am about the political fortunes and decisions of the President.  He's my President and I think he messed up.  But God still has him there and I intend to honor him and pray for him as such.)

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