Dear Mr. President:
First, happy birthday. I do hope today is an enjoyable day for you and your family. Coincidentally, I also will be celebrating this week the birth of someone dear to me, my beloved wife, Gena, whose birthday is Aug. 9.
Speaking of birthdays, I couldn't help but hear and read all over the news this past week about the fresh attention to your constitutional eligibility and natural-born citizen status. I hardly can believe that individuals are offering bounties — one for $100,000 — for any personal witness or sufficient evidence to your American birth.
Believe it or not, I'm not writing you to challenge whether or not you were born in America, though I see nothing wrong with the American public's voicing that constitutionally based grievance with someone in your esteemed position. As one blogger wrote, after all, "We aren't talking about a 12-year-old qualifying to play Little League here." Or as Ronald Reagan once said, "Trust but verify."
I must admit that I find it a bit of a groundless stretch not to believe in the birth announcements in two major Hawaiian newspapers in August 1961, in which Hawaii's Health Department would have been required to post information it received directly from hospitals: "Mr. and Mrs. Barack H. Obama, 6085 Kalanianaole Hwy., son, Aug. 4." Nevertheless, that proof doesn't answer why you refuse to reveal your original birth certificate and end the growing tides of controversy.
I'm writing you because this is no longer a matter merely about proving you meet a presidential prerequisite in the Constitution. Refusing to post your original birth certificate is an unwise political and leadership decision that is enabling the "birther" controversy. The nation you are called to lead is experiencing a growing swell of conspirators who are convinced that you are covering up something. So why not just prove them wrong and shut them up?
I agree with CNN's Lou Dobbs, who was chastised by his own media outlet for demanding the release of your original birth certificate. Why was that such a bad request? We certainly know why Jon Klein, the president of CNN/U.S., thought it was a bad idea. He previously declared that CNN researchers had determined that your 1961 birth certificate no longer exists.
But Hawaii officials confirmed again last week that they indeed have your original birth certificate on file. Dr. Chiyome Fukino, director of the Hawaii State Department of Health, repeated her October 2008 statement that she had seen with her own eyes the "original vital records."
Some claim that even you cannot see or request your own personal birth certificate because Hawaii's disclosure law (Hawaii Revised Statutes 338-18) states that "it shall be unlawful for any person to permit inspection of, or to disclose information contained in vital statistics records, or to copy or issue a copy of all or part of any such record."
But the law further states that Hawaii's Health Department "shall not permit inspection of public health statistics records, or issue a certified copy of any such record or part thereof, unless it is satisfied that the applicant has a direct and tangible interest in the record " (emphasis added).
Isn't categorically satisfying constitutional requirements for a president or answering the First Amendment grievances of hundreds of thousands of Americans or ending a national debate or healing a country's divisions enough "direct and tangible interest"?
Mr. President, as more and more people realize that you are refusing to release your original birth certificate, further questions will fuel the fires of debate or at least hinder the embers from ever being snuffed out. Questions such as, "Does it really contain the Hawaiian physician's name?" "Does it disclose something other than his birthplace that he wishes others not to see?"
Of course, not every U.S. citizen has access to his original birth certificate, but you do, and yours is the only one under debate. As valuable as copies can be, textual critics know that nothing outweighs an original, especially when only it contains the information under question.
Again, why don't you simply request, release and give permission to make public your original birth certificate?
Mr. President, you promised the American people that you are "committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government." In fact, in your July 23 prime-time news conference, you said that your administration has been more transparent than previous administrations: "I think that we have provided much greater transparency than existed prior to our administration coming in."
So again, I ask: Why not live out that transparency promise by posting your original birth certificate and end the division and debate?
Well, I have a birthday to plan, so I had better get going.
Again, happy birthday, Mr. President.
Yours Truly, Chuck Norris
To find out more about Chuck Norris and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.