Others have called out Donald Trump on the Obama birther/Muslim nonsense. I cannot add anything to the news or to what others have said, most of it utter disbelief that a grown, intelligent, educated, sophisticated man could ever traffic in this kind of stuff, whether or not he actually believes it. But he has, and apparently still is – or at least does not have the decency, courage, fortitude, sense, or practical wisdom to disavow it. Perhaps we will see in the coming days a Trump statement to the following effect: “I cherish Muslims. I have hired thousands of them. They love me. I’m going to win the Muslim vote. Bigly.” But I doubt it. Instead, he has said that he wishes not to discuss the whole matter. And now his campaign has unleashed more anti-Obama blather, claiming that the President is waging a war on Christianity – a proposition almost equally as absurd as the birtherism and Muslim narrative (the question also arises: what if someone is Muslim? The Constitution doesn’t require that the President be a Christian. Indeed, Article VI of the Constitution says there shall be no religious test for holding federal office.)
Frankly, I don’t wish to discuss it either. And the fact that I feel compelled to even mention this controversy publicly is a minor embarrassment for me; it seems preposterous that one would even have to discuss it in civilized quarters. But recent polling suggests it is not just Donald Trump and his minions; in polling from just a few years ago, nearly 5 in 10 Republicans believed that President Obama was not born in the United States. Now that’s something that the entire Party should be ashamed of, especially if the numbers continue to be that high (I mean, one would be too high, but still . . . look at the poll embedded in the CNN piece linked above, containing more recent numbers). And then there’s Ted Cruz, who simply refused to answer the question of whether he thinks the President is a Christian and instead blamed the media for stirring the controversy among Republicans, as if Senator Cruz has never attacked Republicans himself. (Senator Cruz, by the way, was not born in the United States, a fact that also seems to escape many Republicans). So, will Trump pay any electoral consequences for trafficking in this trash? For those who support Trump, but who also accept the reality that the President is a Christian who was born in Hawaii, will they stop supporting Trump if he now refuses to acknowledge that same reality? I am skeptical that this will matter to his supporters. Many just eat this kind of thing up. But if he continues to fare well in polls and in the voting booth, it will matter to the Party. Very much. Consequently, as a Republican, an American, and a close follower of American politics, it would be beyond human nature to leave the matter unaddressed. So I will simply say the following, and hopefully not have to say anymore about it:
Folks, this has now gone on long enough. You have had your fun. You have tortured the political establishment all summer. You have confounded everyone’s expectations about what people will tolerate from a political candidate. You have made your point, in much the same way that a petulant child or rebellious teenager makes his. But it’s time to be a grown-up now. Selecting a President is important business, and something that people of a great Nation should take seriously. Stop enabling Donald Trump. The country will be better off and will be grateful that you came to your senses.