Proving that being one of the world’s wealthiest individuals does not equate to natural intelligence, real estate mogul Donald Trump has become the equivalent of the circus clown in his relentless attack on President Obama’s citizenship. Trump’s “birther” rhetoric is an embarrassment and borders on harassment. That a sitting President would have to release a birth certificate to counter a lunatic fringe that is determined to cast the nation’s first Black President as a foreigner, and uses anti-Islamic rhetoric to paint Mr. Obama as essentially an “enemy of the state,” is an affront to the ideals upon which this nation has been founded. While all elected officials should decry the birther movement, it is particularly important for the Republican Party to publicly distance itself from this madness if it wants Black Americans to take its claim of inclusion seriously.
Donald Trump is an egomaniac who must continually find ways to reinvent his “legend” and his supposed business prowess. From selling his name for use on properties to which he has no management or financial stake or creating a “reality” television series that allows him to play the hard-edged boss, Trump is the worst example of success. For weeks he has admired himself in the mirror of media coverage, and grown more bizarre by the minute in harassing President Obama over a question that should have never been asked but one that was addressed some time ago. Even though the charge that the President was not a citizen has roots in the disgruntled left from the contentious 2008 Democratic primary season, it has found life among conservative extremists who couch their racist rhetoric in patriotism.
The media takes some blame here. Donald Trump has long received his fifteen minutes of fame. The fact that “legitimate” news organizations fed into Trump’s silliness is a reflection of how trivial American politics has become. At a time of extreme economic anxiety, armed conflict in which the U.S. military is engaged, and a debate over the very role of the federal government, the nation’s news media gave Trump a platform to spread lies that he knew were just that, lies. He has already disqualified himself as a serious candidate for the nation’s highest office and should go back to tending to his fragile empire. At least Ross Perot assumed the role of policy wonk in trying to make his case to the American public during his failed presidential bid. Trump, well he is simply playing the part of the rich fool.
In many ways, the birthers are not aiming for President Obama; they are really pointing the finger at Blacks and Latinos, and questioning the very legitimacy of our claim to this country. By calling into question the birthright of the nation’s first Black President, the birthers are making clear their belief that Blacks, or Latinos for that matter, have no right to serve as President. It is just the latest in a series of attacks on this President that are grounded in the fear among some whites of the new demographic reality in our nation. Instead of engaging in a policy debate, the birthers have decided the best option to discredit this President is to question his citizenship and allegiance. Sadly, that point of view has been embraced by those who are either ignorant or patently racist and sends a message to the world about America’s supposed melting pot.
If there is one thing that can be done to send a message to Donald Trump it could be to not frequent his casino properties and hotels. Why give money to a man who obviously has contempt for us - “the blacks” as he likes to refer to Black Americans?