[I write about politics because of the direct link I see between the words and actions of politicians and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. America’s political class manipulates our military as though they were pawns in a global game of chess. To them, PTSD is merely an unfortunate cost of war.]
Remember, oh five or so years ago, when Donald Trump sent a team of experts to Hawaii to once and for all discover the truth about the place of Barack Obama’s birth? “What they are finding is ‘unbuhleveable,” he claimed at the time. Well, we never heard or saw what they found; in fact, we never even heard who they were, what sources they searched, or what they allegedly found. Liar. He even demanded to have Obama’s college transcripts made public. Fool.
Last week Trump uttered magnainmously a simple, declarative sentence, stating that Obama is, indeed, an American. But he couldn’t leave it there. Instead of just ‘fessing up to his long-standing, campaign-launching absurdity, he had to add that it was Hillary Clinton’s campaign that actually started the prevarication. Liar.
Setting aside the fact that Obama is black–a huge omission to be sure–I have another theory as to why so many people were/are so eager to jump into Trump’s looney bin.
Back in the day, there were 13 British colonies that decided to rebel against their tyrannical king, they declared independence, they fought and won a war that established the United States of America. They explored, they pioneered, they migrated, they plundered, they settled on territories far beyond the boundaries of the original colonies. Then, to justify Anglo expansion and usurpation, some wordsmith coined the magnificent term “Manifest Destiny.” It was God’s plan all along that (mostly) white Protestants rule all the land from sea to shining sea.
Most Americans bought into the blatant fallacy that all men (forget women) were created equal. The Chinese who immigrated through the port of San Francisco might harbor a different view on that, as might the Italians and Irish who entered the land of Milk and Honey through Ellis Island. But for all its flaws there was this wonderful new place cartographers had to deal with: the (48) United States of America. “We” were/are hard working, self-reliant, industrious, generous people. And despite the facts that are so evident, we considered ourselves tough but non-belligerent. We never deployed our military except in the service of others. False. We never licked our chops over annexation of other lands beyond what is now known as the continental United States (the lower 48). False. In 1959 Alaska and Hawaii entered the union as states, 48 became 50, just like that.
When Trump declares he wants to make America great again, I believe he is whistling directly to the Anglos of old–not all, but many–even and especially those who need scapegoats for their own less-than-desirable circumstances. Mexicans take their jobs, Chinese take their jobs, Jews take their jobs, Italians take their jobs, and Irish need not apply. Would these white, fly-over-country Americans, who comprise the majority of our citizenry, be better off in Alaska or Hawaii? Maybe so, maybe not. One thing for sure, though, they would be ethnic minorities in either state.
The U.S. did not grant statehood to Alaska and Hawaii because the people in those places shared ethnicity (Caucasian) or lifestyle. Arguably, the most famous American born in Hawaii is Barack Obama, while the most famous American born in Alaska is Sarah Palin. The great majority of Hawaiians are of Asian descent (Chinese and Japanese), Alaskans are mostly what we now refer to as Native American (e.g., Inuit).
Imagine instead of Palin and Obama those states sent us an Asian-American and an Eskimo to run for national office. The right would go nuts. We need Hawaii’s deep water ports in the Pacific and Alaska has oil and other natural resources that suit our purposes. “We” don’t need their inhabitants to set up cabanas and igloos in Washington, D.C.
So I believe that much of the willingness of people to challenge Obama’s citizenship is due to the fact that those same people don’t really accept the full statehood of Alaska and Hawaii.