President Barack Obama fashioned for himself a pretty good first week of May.
Just a few short days ago, the President was depicted by a Southern California Republican official in an email as a baby chimpanzee, with a note attached reading: “Now you know why no birth certificate.”
Then there was TV celebrity and real-estate heir Donald Trump and his shrill exaggeration of the merit less “birther movement” campaign. The birthers argued that Obama was not born in the
The President silenced most of his critics with a brief appearance in the White House Press Briefing room, where he announced that the White House had prevailed upon authorities in the state of Hawaii to release his “long form” birth certificate, complete with signatures from the attending physician, and other details from the hospital, attesting that he was indeed born on Aug. 4, 1961 on U.S. soil, to an American citizen mother, and an African national father.
He said the nation had more important business at hand than to waste time being distracted by people he described as “carnival barkers.”
“Hi-yah, hi-yah. Got somethin’ fuh yah,” is the refrain I remember from barkers at the carnival selling everything from chances to win cheap prizes by proving one’s masculinity throwing balls at metal bottles, to selling sure-fire cures for “what ails yah.”
Then, Obama made an appearance at the White House Correspondents Dinner where he delivered a funny and scathing speech, lampooning his critics with jokes and graphics–a rendition of a gaudy and “pimped out” “Trump Plaza” White House, and a segment from the movie “The Lion King,” which he said depicted his own birth, all with a straight face.
All the while, the President had been chairing a series of meetings of his war cabinet, discussing an operation to be launched by Navy Seal Team 6, which flew by night nearly 200 miles in a fleet of three, stealth-modified Blackhawk Helicopters from Afghanistan to the Pakistani military, bedroom suburb of Abbottabad, where they attacked a compound where Osama bin Laden had been hiding in plain view, assassinating him, and removing his body.
Osama bin Laden: Public Enemy Number One, who had eluded the grasp of Pres. George W. (for Worst in History) Bush for seven years, was felled by the Obama team after eight months of careful, secret preparation, and surveillance. “Veni. Vidi. Vici” “I came. I saw. I conquered.”
While his severest critics were left awestruck for a few moments, they were not to be silenced. Some of the Birthers claimed the birth certificate was a fraud. Trump demanded to see the President’s college transcripts, wondering aloud how a Black student who did not have such spectacular high school grades could get admitted to Ivy League colleges
Never mind that Obama graduated magna cum laude from Harvard, and attained the position of President of the Law Review–the first Black person to do so in the school’s history. Trump was suggesting that there was some poor deserving, better-qualified White student who did not get into Harvard because Obama got in.
Republicans even criticized the bin Laden assassination. Some suggested that he should have been taken alive at all costs, so he could be milked for intelligence information about his al Qaeda network.
Others demanded that the White House release the photographs of bin Laden’s gunshot-riddled corpse, so as to poke the
And still others criticized the President’s decision to visit
While this, in my opinion may have been the best single week of action in Obama’s two and a half-year-old presidency, I am reminded by his critics–who say he’s damned if he does, and damned if he doesn’t–of an African proverb.
Obama, as the proverb goes, is like a stepchild: if he washes, he’s wasting water. If he doesn’t wash, he’s dirty.
Grouch Marx used to say, and I guess it’s true of many in the American public: “What are you going to believe? Me, or your lying eyes?”
Carry on Mr. President.