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[COMMENT: Well said.
Later this week we will celebrate the birth of this nation.
We know where that birth took place – Philadelphia
We know who the parents were – we call them our "Founding Fathers."
We know there were many witnesses and lots of documentation.
We know the building in which this birth took place – Independence Hall. It's still there, a celebrated historical marker for visitors over the last 233 years.
We know how much pain and sacrifice was involved with the birth of the nation and its aftermath.
We know all this with certainty, in part, because there is a birth certificate for the nation drafted July 4, 1776, that has been well-preserved and observed ever since. That birth certificate, of course, is known as the Declaration of Independence.
By the way, that document is not a computer-generated abbreviation. All the copies of the Declaration of Independence I have ever seen have been actual facsimiles. No one would expect a historically significant document to be chopped up, with names of key players removed, signatures excised and key details omitted.
Thank goodness America has a birth certificate – one that the whole nation, including generations to come, can read and view and study and admire. It gives a legitimacy to our history and to who we are today. It leaves no doubt about from where we come. You can go see the actual document in the National Archives – just a few blocks from the White House.
One thing you won't find in the National Archives, though I think you should, is a copy of the birth certificate of the first black president – Barack Hussein Obama.
Don't you think that's strange?
Don't you think there's a place for it in the National Archives, especially given the history of this nation and its conflicts over race and slavery?
Don't you think it would be great if all Americans could go view the actual birth certificate of Barack Hussein Obama just like tens of thousands will be viewing the nation's birth certificate in Washington this week?
Am I stretching a point?
I don't think so.
I believe documents are important.
They are important for two reasons – to establish facts and for historical purposes.
If documents weren't important, the government wouldn't collect them.
If documents weren't important, government wouldn't demand that we produce them to prove who we are and that we are who we say we are.
If documents aren't important, why then are tens of thousands of people visiting the National Archives this week to get a glimpse of the venerated Declaration of Independence – America's birth certificate?
If documents aren't important, why do we spend millions of dollars a year preserving them in the National Archives?
If documents aren't important, why do we spend millions of dollars a year ensuring that they can be inspected by the public?
Do you get where I'm going here?
As we prepare for Independence Day, the nation's birthday, a day marked by fireworks, flags, patriotic speeches, parades and reflections about a document that gives it all legitimacy and purpose, I can't help contrast our past traditions with our present attitudes.
The man occupying the highest office in the land has never been required to produce a birth certificate demonstrating that he is constitutionally eligible to hold that office. And he's not volunteering to do so – raising even more suspicions about his eligibility.
We obviously have a different attitude about historical documents today than we once did.
I don't understand it. I don't know why any American wouldn't want to see Barack Obama's birth certificate – if for no other reason than historical sentimentality. I don't know why no hospital in Honolulu is renaming itself – or at least a wing – after the most famous baby ever born there. I don't know why no living American claims to have been present at that historic birth less than 48 years ago. And I can't understand why more Americans aren't curious about all this.
I can only imagine some are afraid of what they might find.
But what bothers me most about our attitude toward historical documents today is our disrespect for the most important one for all for Americans – the Constitution, which set three simple eligibility requirements for presidents of the United States, one of which has never been proven in the case of the current occupant of the White House.
Think about that, this week, as you wave your flags, enjoy your fireworks, listen to speeches and revel in principles and ideals that have made America great since its birthday – since that birth certificate was signed by all those brave men and women who risked their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor on the dream that we could govern ourselves under the rule of law.
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