Friday, June 1, 2012

Acknowledge the difference

What makes Barack Obama different? He went to Harvard, but so did Mitt Romney. He served in the U.S. Senate for only two years before running for president, but so did Richard Nixon. President Obama has an intact family, but so did other recent presidents except Ronald Reagan, who was divorced.

Obama lived overseas, in Indonesia as a boy, but John Kennedy lived in London when his father was ambassador to the Court of St. James. He has won the Nobel Peace Prize, but so did Jimmy Carter and Theodore Roosevelt, just not when they were president.

The losers rarely love their opponent, but Obama’s being in office makes his opponents hysterically angry. Fox News has gone so far over the line in reporting on Obama’s presidency that its own executives had to disavow a recent broadcast. Now, a year after Obama had to suffer the indignity of producing his official Hawaiian birth certificate, the birther conspiracy has surfaced again. At least one other serious candidate for president actually was born outside the United States. George Romney, a candidate in the 1968 Republican presidential primary and Mitt’s father, was born in Mexico.

Why is it so impossible for so many to believe Obama became president without somehow cheating? America did do one thing different when it elected Barak Hussein Obama. We elected the first African-American president. Perhaps it is time we acknowledge how deep the nerves are that were touched, and often inflamed, by that act. Perhaps then, we can return to more sane civic discussions.

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