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It's time to leave color line behind

Oct. 12, 2012 @ 12:00 AM

Isn't it time we stopped avoiding the obvious!

In spite of the fact that we've had several "foreign-born" presidents, one previous president whose birthplace was questionable, and one candidate, Sen. John McCain, who was born in The Canal Zone, isn't it strange that an enormous brouhaha and an entire movement emerged to question President Obama's birthplace?

It was no idle joke when Mitt Romney announced in Michigan, "No one asks to see my birth certificate. They know I was born right here in Michigan!" It was a deliberate effort to raise the possibility that President Obama just might not be truly an American. That he is not quite like us. That he is, maybe, Indonesian or Kenyan.

Then, there is the matter of his college records. Who ever seriously asked to see the college records of John F. Kennedy? Or, George W. Bush, for that matter? The implication is that President Obama was given "preferential treatment" (affirmative action) at Occidental College, Columbia University and Harvard Law School.

President Obama was an honor graduate of Punahou Academy in Hawaii, and he was the first African-American editor of The Harvard Law Review. Simply put, one doesn't become editor of The Harvard Law Review by affirmative action or with less than stellar academic credentials.

Then, there is the ludicrous accusation that President Obama is racist toward white people. According to a September 2012 article in Huffington Post's Power & Politics, "a web ad released by a new superPAC [called FightBigotry] "suggests that President Obama's administration has quietly accepted and even promoted racism against white people ... before and since being elected president." This kind of rhetoric is like tossing gasoline on a flame.

In his policy speeches and media interviews, President Obama makes it indelibly clear that he serves ALL Americans. He has repeatedly said, "There is not a liberal America and a conservative America -- there is the United States of America. There is not a black America and a white America and Latino America and Asian America -- there's the United States of America."

I'm convinced that those critics who charge the president with reverse discrimination are trying to excuse or deny their own racism. This sort of justifying or excuse-making is just that -- justifying and excuse-making!

President Obama has been heckled, smeared, belittled, falsely accused and disrespected at every possible level -- from the person on the street to the highest positions in our government. No other president in our history, with the possible exception of Abraham Lincoln, has been the victim of such vilification.

We, as a people and a nation, should have long ago crossed and left the color line far behind.

Milt Hankins of Ashland, Ky., is a retired minister, theologian and freelance writer.

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