My hometown paper has it right!

My hometown paper, The Berkshire Eagle, the New England & Press Association Newspaper of the Year, is an added attraction to any resident of Western Massachusetts, the kind of local news one likes to support: ambitious, enlightened, engaged.

Today, its editorial weighed in heavily and rightly on Trump and his racist remarks about the four female members of Congress, one from the city of Boston. Criticizing the Republicans, including Maine’s senator Susan Collins, for their failure to “locate its (the party’s) spine and criticize the president’s shameful words,” only Massachusetts Republican governor, Charlie Baker, who had called Trumps tweets “shameful and racist,” was spared in the editorial. His comments, it said, “speak well for the state.”

The country has many serious problems but finds itself led by a “bigoted bully with an affection for dictators.” But by uniting to deplore “the president’s indefensible statements and actions, it may be that the nation can address these problems,” the editorial concluded.

 

A sad debate with serious racial understones

As I guessed yesterday, the publication of President Obama’s birth certificate did not put an end to the silly debate about where President Obama was born. But I have serious doubts myself as to whether to continue writing about this, for America, sad story. It should really now once and for all be ignored. America, as Obama said yesterday, has more important issues to deal with, although at a fund raiser in New York last night, he was able to joke about the whole thing.

However, the debate has serious racial undertones that are important to pay attention to, as CBS’s Bob Schieffer did last night, talking about “an ugly strain of racism.” And law professor Sherrilyn Ifill writes that it is not about Obama’s birth, it’s about his race, and many black leaders, before Obama, have had to prove their “legitimacy” and allegiance to America.

Would Obama be subjected to these humiliating questions from Donald Trump, Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann and the string of “birthers” if he were not black, if his father were not an African from Kenya? I think not.

Under the heading “As American as Mitt Romney and Donald Trump,” John Nichols on his blog in “The Nation” points to this when he writes that other leading presidential candidates, such as Mitt Romney and Donald Trump, as well as many former American presidents, such as Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson, had one or both parents who were foreign born.

We can also compare how Obama is treated to his opponent in 2008, John McCain, who was born on a U.S. military base in Panama. Is that U.S. territory? Is that the United States? In any case, it did not lead to “birther” movement. Why not?

In her article on “The Nation‘s” website, Princeton professor Melissa Harris-Perry writes under the headline, “For Birthers, Obama’s Not Black Enough,” that this is more than racism, it has to do with being black in America, ancestors of slaves without really knowing who you are and where you come from. As witnessed by Michelle Obama. But that’s not the case with Barack Obama. His father was Kenyan and his mother came from Kansas, he knows exactly who he is and from where he comes.