Juan Williams and Obama's Scary Critics
Juan Williams of NPR wrote a piece yesterday, which was a "Special" to the Daily News, and to which I must take exception. You can read the article HERE. In his article, Williams suggests that the "attacks" against President Obama are not only racially motivated, but they are even "scarier" than that...
The pattern of attacks on Obama suggests that there are people who don't accept the idea that this man, the first black man to win the highest office in the land, is really the President. These critics seem less interested in arguing about health care proposals than in building the case that Obama is not legitimately our national leader.
Williams then briefly mentions the debate over his qualifications to be president -- a reference to the clause in the U.S. Constitution that requires the president to be a "natural born citizen". But Williams mis-characterizes the debate by saying that to meet this constitutional requirement, presidents must be "native-born". This is a common misconception, and fails to recognize that there is a difference between "native-born" and "natural born" citizens.
Unfortunately, the U.S. Constitution uses terms like "natural born citizen" (and others), which it does not define elsewhere in the document. Making matters worse, the Congress and the courts have failed to provide an exact definition for the term "natural born citizen". Thus, we can only rely upon what we believe to be the generally accepted definition of the term "natural born citizen" when the Constitution was written.
As such, we know that our Founding Fathers relied heavily upon the writings of Emmerich de Vattel, who wrote The Law of Nations, or, Principles of the Law of Nature in 1758. According to the 'Preface to the 1999 Digital Edition' of this work...
This 1758 work by Swiss legal philosopher Emmerich de Vattel is of special importance to scholars of constitutional history and law, for it was read by many of the Founders of the United States of America, and informed their understanding of the principles of law which became established in the Constitution of 1787.
In Section 212 of de Vattel's work, he defines "natural born citizen" this way...
The natives, or natural-born citizens, are those born in the country, of parents who are citizens. [emphasis added]
Thus, a compelling case can be made that Barack Obama is not a "natural born citizen" because even while he may have been "native-born" in the United States, only one of his parents was a U.S. citizen. Barack Obama has publicly acknowledged that his father was a Kenyan and therefore a British subject at the time of his birth. Emmerich de Vattel goes on to say...
The country of the fathers is therefore that of the children... in order to be of the country, it is necessary that a person be born of a father who is a citizen. [emphasis added]
Juan Williams, having thus mis-characterized at least one important aspect of the debate, then goes on to make an inaccurate claim saying that, "They make this argument even when all Hawaiian documents, officials and news stories of his birth conclusively prove he is an American" [emphasis added]. But that is simply not true.
Barack Obama has only released a short-form "Certification of Live Birth". He has yet to release his long-form "Birth Certificate". There is an important difference here. A "Certification of Live Birth" merely certifies that a baby was born, and it should be noted that the State of Hawaii at the time of Obama's birth (1961) issued such certifications to parents of children who were born in other states and/or other countries. And while Dr. Chiyome Fukino, Hawaii's DOH Director, has said that she has "personally seen and verified" Senator Obama's "original birth certificate", she never said that it proves anything, "conclusively" or otherwise.
But let us assume for the time being that Barack Obama's birth certificate is completely in order, and that he was in fact born in Hawaii, and that the hospital of birth is listed, and that the delivering doctor has signed the document. We are forced to assume this of course, because Obama has never released it and wants us to accept it on faith. "Blessed is he who has not seen and yet believes."
But this still only tells us that Obama was born in America. As Juan Williams states, it proves to us only that Barack Obama is an "American". However, it still does not address the issue of his eligibility as a "natural born citizen". A Hawaiian birth does not in and of itself make Obama eligible to be president.
Williams goes on to say, "There are critics who claim he is Muslim, not a Christian despite all testimony about his years in the controversial church of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright." Well, as to whether or not Obama is a "closet Muslim" is impossible to say, but I think it is very unlikely. To the best of my knowledge, he has never unrolled a prayer mat and started praying in the direction of Mecca. Therefore, if he is a Muslim, he is not a very good one.
However, we should recognize that Obama pays much greater respect to Islam than he does to Christianity. He had Christian symbols covered up before he gave a speech at Georgetown University, yet took off his shoes in accordance with Muslim tradition at a Turkish mosque. And it should be pointed out that Jeremiah Wright was himself a former Muslim who embraced a brand of theology that is closer to something his friend Louis Farrakhan might preach, than to something that Jesus Christ might recognize.
Barack Obama said on his campaign website, "I am not and have never been a Muslim." After becoming President, White House press spokesman Robert Gibbs repeated Obama's statement. And that statement is currently on the Organizing for America website. Yet, Barack Obama has failed to release any documents pertaining to his college education such as entrance applications, transcripts, theses, etc. But why? Is it perhaps because some of those documents might contain a statement by Obama that his professed religion was Islam? It is not beyond the realm of possibility.
Is this speculation? Of course it is. But the point here is that President Obama has only himself to blame for these "scary" critics that Juan Williams speaks of. Having promised to be the most "open and transparent" president in history, Obama has failed to live up to that promise thus fueling such speculation. Nature abhors a vacuum, and the yet unanswered questions about Barack Obama create a vacuum that seeks to be filled. Without facts, speculation is the only 'substance' which can fill the gap.
Clearly, Obama has it in his power to end the rumors and fill the vacuum by supplying us with the truth. We could assume that he has nothing to hide, but he has spent what is estimated at tens of thousands of dollars to prevent the release of his personal information -- information that should be readily available to the American public anyway. He has done nothing to end the speculation, and everything to encourage the rumor-mongers.
Williams goes on saying, "Then there are claims that Obama is a Socialist who is trying to subvert America." What President Obama's intentions are, is difficult to say. But that he is a socialist is almost certain, despite any claims to the contrary. He was raised in part by a mother who was an atheist and, according to Obama, a "secular humanist". He was raised in part by his grandparents, who were friends with Frank Marshall Davis -- an avowed communist and labor union activist. Davis became Obama's mentor as Obama himself states in his own book. Obama himself attests to having participated in socialist meetings and conferences before going off to college.
He was a member of the New Party -- a socialist organization. He participated in events put on by the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) -- self-described as the largest socialist organization in the United States, and the principal U.S. affiliate of the Socialist International. As a community organizer, he worked with ACORN and even defended them in a legal suit. He is an avowed disciple of Saul Alinsky who wrote "Rules for Radicals". He was friends with Bill Ayers, an unrepentant left-wing terrorist. His election was heavily funded by George Soros -- a socialist and globalist. He told "Joe the Plumber" that we need to "spread the wealth around".
During the campaign, Barack Obama told us to judge him by the people he surrounds himself with. Based on that standard, he must be a collectivist, statist, socialist and/or communist because those are the kind of people he has surrounded himself with. He has appointed nearly three dozen "czars" which are unaccountable to the Congress or the taxpayers, and who can rewrite government policy at their own discretion -- or Obama's. He nominated a Supreme Court Justice, who in her own words said that the bench is where "policy is made".
He tried to take control of the banks by seeking to have them convert their preferred stock into common stock, which would have given the government voting rights. He effectively took control of General Motors and fired the CEO. In the case of Chrysler Motors, he violated the bankruptcy laws and transferred wealth from secured bondholders to the auto unions. He's been pushing for a public option in the health care reform bill, which is merely a stepping-stone to a single-payer national health care system. Obama himself said he favors a single-payer system. A national health care system would effectively give the government control over one sixth of the entire U.S. economy. He wants to implement a climate bill, which is nothing more than a gigantic energy tax that will bring hundreds of billions of dollars into the federal government, and which will strictly regulate both energy companies and energy users. If this is not socialism, then what is?
Juan Williams then goes on to suggest that Joe Wilson's shout "You lie!" was racially motivated...
Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) ratcheted up the racial heat when he shouted out "You lie!" as the President spoke to Congress. No white President - that is to say all who have come before - has ever had to put up with such contempt. There is a circumstantial case to be made that Wilson, with a history of membership in the Sons of Confederate Veterans and support for flying the Confederate flag over his state's capitol, is not above playing racial politics.
Aside from being almost laughable, Juan really had to stretch to come up with that one. Perhaps being an African-American himself, Juan is overly-sensitive to criticism of our nation's first African-American President. I have noted similar sentiments by African-American commenters at other websites. I'm sure that Juan's head tells him it ain't so, but he may have problems getting his heart to go along.
African-Americans swelled with pride following the election of Barack Obama. But even then some expressed concern that an Obama failure might be a reflection on all of them. If African-Americans took Obama's election victory so personally, then it is only fair to assume that they are likewise taking his criticisms personally as well. That is a mistake, and it can only lead to negative consequences. While it may be true that are yet some traces of unextinguished racism in this country, the fire has been under control for a long time. Obama's election proves that.
Finally, Juan makes a statement that I can agree with, but for a very different reason. I might have said the same thing myself, but come to a very different conclusion...
At some point, it is hard to ignore the common thread in this criticism: It is an effort to say that Obama is not one of us, not like us. And at that point, it is not crazy to ask the critics if they mean he is not one of them because of the color of his skin.
I think it is correct to say that Obama's critics (myself included) feel that he "is not one of us, not like us." His father was a British subject -- most of ours were American. His mother was an atheist and secular humanist -- most of ours were not. He was mentored as a youth by a communist -- most of us were not. He participated in socialist meetings and conferences -- most of us did not. He went to Harvard -- most of us did not. He was a community organizer -- we were not. He is a friend of ACORN -- we are not. He is a disciple of Saul Alinsky -- we are not. He went to church where the pastor bad-mouthed America for 20 years -- we did not. He is friends with unrepentant terrorists -- we are not. He believes in spreading the wealth around -- we do not. He enjoys the company of statists, collectivists, socialists and communists -- we do not.
Allow me to go on. We believe in the Constitution -- he wants to change it. We believe in the rule of law -- he subverts it. We are conservative -- he is progressive. He wants to cut Medicare -- we do not. He wants to raise taxes -- we do not. He wants higher energy prices -- we do not. He wants to curtail the use of coal, oil and gas -- we want to drill here, and drill now. He does not cling to guns, God and religion -- we do. He does not think we are a Christian nation -- we do. He apologizes for America -- we do not. He is ashamed of America -- we are not.
Trust me Juan, it has little or nothing at all to do with the color of his skin.