Open thread for all birthers

A fin or two has broken the surface. But I am still very busy. I have a very hard deadline somewhere in the middle of September.

So it occurs to me that UR readers might enjoy discussing that great chestnut of our age—B.H. Obama’s life records. Dear UR reader, are you a birther, or an anti-birther?

If you are a birther (i.e., you believe USG should release B.H. Obama’s vital records, including original birth documents, college transcripts, medical files, Man’s Country gift certificates, etc., etc., to the public for historical study), what do you feel the historical meaning of this debate is? Can you think of any parallels in the past?

If you are an anti-birther, I refer you to the official statement of Dr. Chiyome Fukino, director of the Hawaii State Department of Health. According to USA Today, Dr. Fukino claims to have “seen the original vital records maintained on file by the Hawaii State Department of Health verifying Barack Hussein Obama was born in Hawaii and is a natural-born American citizen.”

Of course, anyone can claim to have seen anything. A lot of people claim to have seen Bigfoot. Am I a Bigfoot believer? I would not be surprised to learn that Bigfoot exists, or that he doesn’t. I can say much the same for a 1961 B.H. Obama birth document with nothing to hide.

Bigfoot is a puzzling riddle. But no painstaking detective work is needed in the case of B.H. Obama—philosophy will suffice. Deductively, we can assert that either Dr. Fukino is lying, or she is telling the truth. If she is lying, or even trying to mislead (note how carefully parsed her syntax seems), the birther case is proven by definition. Therefore, let’s assume she is both honest and sincere.

If Dr. Fukino is honest and sincere, she has seen a 1961 B.H. Obama birth document. (With or without something to hide.) Therefore, B.H. Obama and his associates are actively withholding this historical document (which should not be confused with a database printout on fancy paper) from the public in the face of substantial public interest. Remember, this is a best-case scenario.

Therefore, we can reframe the question of “birther” versus “anti-birther” into a less loaded and more symmetrical structure. You are a “sealer” if you think B.H. Obama’s life records should remain sealed, and an “opener” if you think they should be opened.

As a sealer, you can reasonably be expected to answer three questions. First: why do you think B.H. Obama is withholding his birth documents and other vital records? Second: why do you feel these records should remain sealed? Third: if B.H. Obama’s records should remain sealed now, at what point should they become accessible to historians? The end of his term? The end of his political career? The end of his life, plus 100 years? The end of the Solar System?

The problem, for the student of history, is that the identity of B.H. Obama (unlike the existence of Bigfoot) is an important historical question. Without access to B.H. Obama’s sealed life records, no historian can write a history of 2008–10 which is both definitive and true.

When these records are released, assuming they are ever released, they will reveal one of two realities. Either (a) B.H. Obama had nothing to hide; or (b) B.H. Obama had something to hide. Beware the historian who writes the definitive true history of one of these realities, then finds out he lives in the other.

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