"Is Barack Obama a U.S. citizen?" Of course he is, dummy.. "But how do you know?" Well for starters, he posted his birth certificate on his website. Not to mention, the Director of Health for the State of Hawaii released a statement saying he was born in Hawaii . Also, factcheck.org (a non-partisan and highly credible political fact checking website) investigated it heavily and validated, beyond doubt, that the birth certificate he posted was real. Did I mention that if there were an actual conspiracy surrounding this...it would have to be 47 years in the making? That's right, read it and weep: his birth announcement was posted in a Hawaii newspaper way back in 1961! But if you're really not sure, just remember there have been court cases challenging his citizenship, and every one of them was laughed off the docket. "That's all pretty compelling. But I got this email that said...." The email you got is just a crazy, internet-born rumor. It's nothing but a desperate attempt to discredit him. Trust me. "Yeah, I'm sure you're right...." *************** Sound familiar? I've personally had a similar conversation several times, but mine ends differently. **************** "Well for starters, he posted his birth certificate on his website." Really? Well humor me, because I think this is important enough for us to get our facts straight. So let's explore that. Hawaii doesn't issue "birth certificates". The state offers "Certificates of Live Birth" and "Certifications of Live Birth." What Barack Obama has posted on his website is a "Certification of Live Birth." So let's talk about the difference between the two documents. As you probably know, the document we commonly refer to as a "birth certificate" (more formally called a Certificate of Live Birth) is packed with detail. Detail like the hospital you were born in, the doctor who delivered you along with his/her signature, etc. It looks like a tax form with all the boxes and everything. The Certification of Live Birth is really just a snapshot of that. So which one is more credible? Which one does the state of Hawaii give the "last word" to? Based on information that existed long before this issue came up, let's take a look at one example of what the state of Hawaii has to say on it: "In order to process your application, DHHL utilizes information that is found only on the original Certificate of Live Birth, which is either black or green. This is a more complete record of your birth than the Certification of Live Birth (a computer-generated printout). Submitting the original Certificate of Live Birth will save you time and money since the computer-generated Certification requires additional verification by DHHL." ( http://hawaii.gov/dhhl/applicants/appforms/applyhhl ). So if the state of Hawaii itself doesn't accept "Certifications of Live Birth" as a last leg of verification, it's safe to say there's a pretty solid distinction we too can make when comparing a Certificate to a Certification. What Barack Obama posted, was a Certification. What people want to see, is the Certificate. When you say he "posted his birth certificate" on his website, the truth (painful as it may be to hear) is that he posted a much different document that if accurately described, would be a "birth certification" - which is far less credible and far easier to alter. "That's pretty lean. It's not really a big deal to me because I know it's just a rumor. But still, if you're going to insist there's a question here, I have to tell you....the state of Hawaii released a statement saying he was born in Hawaii . They have the 'Certificate' you're talking about, and they proved it was authentic. Are you saying they're in on this crazy conspiracy?" I'm not saying they're involved in a conspiracy, or even that one exists. But I'm not sure you can honestly say you actually read that statement. Here, take a look: Director of Health for the State of Hawaii , Chiyome Fukino: "There have been numerous requests for Sen. Barack Hussein Obama's official birth certificate. State law (Hawai‘i Revised Statutes §338-18) prohibits the release of a certified birth certificate to persons who do not have a tangible interest in the vital record. Therefore, I as Director of Health for the State of Hawai‘i, along with the Registrar of Vital Statistics who has statutory authority to oversee and maintain these type of vital records, have personally seen and verified that the Hawai‘i State Department of Health has Sen. Obama's original birth certificate on record in accordance with state policies and procedures. No state official, including Governor Linda Lingle, has ever instructed that this vital record be handled in a manner different from any other vital record in the possession of the State of Hawai‘i." Now you tell me, where in that statement does it say anything about where he was born? Public officials are very careful when they release these statements. They carve their words out precisely and check and double check to make sure what they release is accurate and viable. I have to be honest, it wasn't until this statement came out that I became more concerned by the citizenship question. If you actually read it, it's plain to see that as it relates to his birth, the statement really only "proves" 3 things: 1) Barack Obama was born, 2) proof of that birth exists on paper, and 3) their office is in receipt of that paper. An official statement with a lot of affirmatives about requirements and procedures means nothing if they can't find the words, "originating from Hawaii " or "was born in Honolulu " or "as documented in the Certification he has already released". Now maybe it was an accident that Dr. Fukino was able to authenticate virtually every scrap of it's existence - except the part everyone is asking about. However, pressed on this, there has been ample opportunity for her to revise or expand her statement, and she still to this day has not done so. "Wait a minute, Hank. Didn't factcheck.org already investigate this whole thing. You're just grasping at straws. What do you know, that they don't?!" I guess the first thing I'd tell you is that, on this particular subject, factcheck has already missed a lot of "facts", and even created a few of their own. You know that statement we just read from Hawaii 's Director of Health? Well this is what factcheck had to say about it: "Department of Health confirmed Oct. 31 that Obama was born in Honolulu " ( http://www.factcheck.org/elections-2008/born_in_the_usa.html ). Did you see that in the statement? I didn't. If this site's only claim is to report facts in a non-partisan manner, how much credibility can we really give them when they start making up their own, very partisan and very inaccurate facts? They also failed to make the distinction between the Certificate and the Certification. And to be fair, factcheck.org is a product of the Annenberg Foundation. You may remember, Barack Obama worked for Annenberg as a spoke in their umbrella. If you look at the actual facts, this is a slight conflict of interest on factcheck.org's part - which might help to explain their not having met their own obligation of getting the facts right. An accident on their part? Maybe. But they too have had plenty of time to correct it, but chose instead to close the book on this one...fabricated facts and all. "Look....if there was any truth to this, it would have meant that Barack's parents and a Hawaiian newspaper were in on it too. And they were in on it 47 years ago! There's a birth announcement in a Hawaiian newspaper for crying out loud." Okay now this is one of my favorites. So now rather than authenticating citizenship by way of formal, long-form, vault copies of actual Certificates of Live Birth - we are relying on birth announcements in newspapers? Let me ask you something: If you and your wife live in Ohio , but you gave birth while visiting Florida , is there a legal or logical premise that says you're bound to put that birth announcement in a Floridian newspaper? Or, would you likely send news of the birth back home, to your town-of-residence, where more friends and family would see the good news? If Barack Obama was born outside of the U.S. , there doesn't have to be a "conspiracy" for his family to have sent word of that birth back to their hometown newspaper. "Hmm. Okay. Well newsflash Hank. This has already been challenged in court and the judges dismissed it as frivolous and ridiculous." Actually, this has been heard in a handful of courts. The judges by-in-large dismissed the cases, you're right. But the majorative reason was not merit, but rather standing. "Standing", as an act of dismissal in the courts, is a technicality. The judges said that individual citizens did not have standing to ask that the Constitution be upheld. This raises a pretty clear question: If "We The People" don't have standing to ask that the contract we hold with our government be upheld (ie the Constitution), who does? There are several other cases still pending; at least 12 confirmed. One of those is actually active on the Supreme Court's docket, as we speak. Another has been brought in California by 2008 candidate for the Presidency, Alan Keyes...and several of California 's electors (members of the electoral college who will officially vote our President in on December 15, 2008). I don't think too many grounded people could say, "I know the answer." For instance, I am not saying Barack Obama is not a natural born citizen. I'm not saying he was born in Kenya . I'm not saying he renounced his U.S. citizenship when he moved to Indonesia and attended school there (a right reserved only to Indonesian citizens - in a country that didn't recognize any dual citizenship.) I'm not saying that due to his father's citizenship at a time when Kenya was still part of the British empire , Barack, as a son, was automatically and exclusively afforded British citizenship. I'm not saying the video footage of his Kenyan grandmother claiming to have been in the delivery room, in Kenya , when he was born, is necessarily "evidence." I'm also not saying he was born in Hawaii . What I'm saying is, none of us have these answers. I'm saying, there is an outstanding question here - that only Barack Obama can answer. And rather than answer it, having promised a new sense of transparency throughout his campaign, his course of action has been to spend time, money and the resources of at least 3 separate law firms....fighting to keep any and all documentation off the discovery table and out of the courtroom. It is a well known legal fact that if you have documentation/evidence that will help you - you are quick to produce it. If that documentation will hurt you, however, you fight to keep it out of court. Let's be fair. He was quick and happy to give documentation he claimed validated and authenticated his citizenship to a website - but is fighting to keep that same documentation out of the courts. If that document really does authenticate and validate everything, why not just hand it over? Why fight? "Alright Hank. Well MY question is, if there was any validity to this, why isn't the media covering it?" I have no idea. ********************** As an Independent and initial Barack Obama supporter, I can safely say that contrary to what many think, asking these questions is not an attempt by Republicans to win a technicality-laden seat in the White House. Republicans lost. They were due the loss. Most know that. The seat will ultimately go to a Democrat. But if there is truth to Barack Obama not being able to formally prove his a) natural born, and/or b) properly maintained citizenship statuses - we as Americans must not gloss past it. If there is truth to it, this will represent the greatest fraud ever perpetrated on the American people and our most coveted process of democracy. If there is truth to it, this will demonstrate a wanton and relentless pursuit for power which left President-Elect Obama trapsing all over our Constitution - in pursuit of a position that ironically and foremost swears him to uphold and protect that same document. There is much unanswered here. I know it is very embarassing for the Democratic party to have allowed what might be such an incredibly elementary oversight to occur - but nothing good that Barack Obama might do in the next 4-8 years, will be able to repair the damage done by setting a precedent that affords anyone in our Country the room and right to trample the contract "We The People" hold with our government, let alone a person who is asking to be our next President. "Everyone will riot if they kick him out." We can't be intimidated by that. The people of our country elected a black man for the Presidency. Nothing can change that. If it turns out his entire campaign and effort were based on fraud, that reality is still 100% independent of the color-blind lenses our nation took to the polls. So if we bow down to the potential for race riots - recognizing that we did in fact (perhaps ignorantly relating to his eligibility) initially vote for him, we are only fostering a new evolution of racism that is nurtured by intimidation and complicit with failing to incite accountability over a man, people and process - simply based on color. Very few people know any of this is even occurring. Those who do are greatly divided. Some are sure Barack Obama has acted fraudulently, some are sure he hasn't. Neither group can be sure of anything though, until Barack Obama himself answers the question for us. We all show our "birth certificates" (Certificates of Live Birth) several times over the course of our lives. Why should someone running for the Presidency be an exeption to that expectation, or even a more fiercely vetted recipient of it? More questionably, how can we as a government, media and nation - allow someone running for the Presidency to be an exception to that expectation? The behavior, mostly (to my personal dismay) for his part, has only fueled speculation. Why factcheck.org
? Why not a governing body like the Federal Election Commission, Board of Elections or even the DNC? When a governing body did finally inject itself in to this matter, why were they only able to do so vaguely...leaving the real question entirely untouched and unanswered? Why spend more than $800K fighting this in court, at a time when our nation is in economic crisis and that money could be better spent in far more charitable ways; when it could ultimately and universally be resolved for the small $12.00 fee required by Hawaii for a copy of the actual Certificate of Live Birth? In the spirit of transparency, why refuse to release this basic document for inspection? In the spirit of unity, why leave so many Americans alienated and debating the matter - when all most of them want is affirmation so that people on both sides of the debate can move to more healthy and productive lines of communication? It was opinionated that he had left this door open prior to the election, so that those who opposed him would be led down a blind and pointless alley. The general election is over though. And still, he offers nothing to end the speculation. By the time I am done with the conversation I outlined above, those I am speaking with inevitably return to what I have typically found to be their first and last refutation.... "He must have been properly vetted. Right....?" I don't know. And without support for that contention coming directly from the Federal Election Commission, the Board of Elections or (ideally) Barack Obama himself, neither does anyone else. "This is ridiculous" doesn't count as a refutation. Simply, answer the question with the simple documentation that is being asked of you in double digit numbers of court rooms across the country, including the Supreme Court. It may go away. It may be dismissed again based on standing. But President-Elect Obama's refusal to quell what have become very real questions about this, will only serve to leave many good Americans who hope to vigorously support their President...with far too much doubt to be able to do so. Production of a Certificate of Live Birth is a very small price to pay for unity.