Posts Tagged ‘Governor Neil Abercrombie’

Hawaii’s new Governor takes aim at ‘Birthers’

The seemingly-endless Obama birther business may ramp up yet again. Coming from Hawaii, my bias says sufficient history, facts and logic exist to close that debate. Yet it lingers on, for reasons I find spurious.

Anyway, Hawaii’s new democratic governor, Neil Abercrombie, is making news, saying he hopes to put the matter to rest.

For what it’s worth, Hawaii’s previous (republican) governor, Linda Lingle, also maintains Barack Obama was born in Hawaii and is a U.S. citizen.  It was under Lingle’s administration that state law was changed, empowering the State Department of Health to treat repeated demands for Obama’s birth certificate as nuisances. (That agency’s webpage on this subject is found here.)

An article in today’s New York Times quotes Gov. Abercrombie as follows

“It’s an insult to his mother and to his father, and I knew his mother and father; they were my friends, and I have an emotional interest in that,” Governor Abercrombie said in a telephone interview late Thursday. “It’s an emotional insult. It is disrespectful to the president; it is disrespectful to the office.”

Many (including me) also feel it’s a veiled insult to Hawaii too, as if the 50th state’s status, laws and residents are suspect, consisting of inferior citizens, in some way. We don’t like it.

Though originally from Buffalo, NY, Abercrombie moved to Honolulu back in 1959, beginning a long association with the University of Hawaii, (earning a master’s in sociology and PhD in American Studies) and teaching there as he also moved into a long political career. (Disclosures: I am also a UH grad, and lived on the same street as City Councilor and then U.S. Rep. Abercrombie for about 5 years. Neil and his wife, Nancie Caraway, are long-time supporters of Hawaii Public Radio, where I worked for almost 13 years.)

As suggested in Michael A. Memoli’s interview for the Tribune Washington Bureau, Abercrombie finds this personal, on a number of levels:

“What bothers me is that some people who should know better are trying to use this for political reasons,” he said. Leaning forward from behind his desk, he added, “Maybe I’m the only one in the country that could look you right in the eye right now and tell you, ‘I was here when that baby was born.”‘

‘Here’ as in present in the delivery room?  No, of course not. (How many extra people did most young mothers invite into hospital delivery rooms, back in the 1960’s?) Although that seems to be what birthers expect, irrefutable, in-the-room, eyewitnesses. (Excluding Obama himself, I think they are all dead now.  But numerous secondary witnesses are available.)

What Abercrombie means is that he personally knew both parents, knew they had a baby, born at Kapiolani maternity hospital, and he saw baby Barack, and young Barack, at social events thereafter. Experiential proof, the type we all have, which usually seems sufficient.

Here’s local tv coverage of the story from Brooks Baehr . (Brooks was my next-door neighbor on Maui for a few years, when we were both children. My point being, Hawaii used to be a small-town type of place, way too small to keep something like ‘a secret trip to Kenya’ a complete secret!)

I could go on and on about how far-fetched, or untrue, many circulating birther theories are. But sense seems to have little to do with this.  It will be interesting to see if an Abecrombie – passionate, persuasive and able to offer personal testimony – will change minds.

And don’t we all have better things to do on Christmas Day?  Yes, absolutely!  That’s why I’ve had a sweet Christmas morning, graced by the presence of our doesn’t-live-at-home-anymore 19-year-old, followed by a lovely group ski this afternoon on Roger Stevens Creek, before sitting down to post on this.  (Family + beauty = bliss.) And food comes next, so it’s a very good day indeed!

Mele Kalikimaka (Merry Christmas) to all, including President Obama and his family, who are enjoying a few days off in his birth state of Hawaii right now.