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How I Learned to Stop Worrying And Love Barack Obama’s Birth Certificate

As I’m leafing through this pile of papers, I come across my own birth certificate. And it’s startling. I remember thinking, ‘This document looks really familiar.’


Since I wrote about Barack Obama on Wednesday and specifically addressed some of the inconsistencies and probable lies he’s told about his life, I’ve received some comments from readers and on social media regarding the speculation that Obama’s birth certificate is fake. And as it happens, I know a little something about the provenance of Obama’s birth certificate.

I was born in Hawaii and know a lot about the place. My mom’s family is Mormon going back generations, and in the 1950s, my mother attended the church college on the North Shore of Oahu — later known as BYU-Hawaii — before Hawaii was even a state. My mom’s younger sister also went to BYU-Hawaii and stayed there. She married a native Hawaiian, and I have native Hawaiian cousins and family.

My father was also a career Marine, so my dad was stationed at Kaneohe for six years starting in 1970. My dad spent a lot of time in Vietnam, so I guess Hawaii was as close as one could reasonably get to putting an officer with a family into something of an absurd commuting distance. I was born the last year we were stationed there. (For what it’s worth, Mom has never quite forgiven Dad for insisting we sell the house we lived in near the beach when we moved.)

Because my parents were older when I was born — Dad was 40, Mom was 37 — I wasn’t born at a military hospital. They were worried that hospital didn’t have the facilities to handle any complications that arose from mom’s “geriatric pregnancy.” So I was born at a regular hospital off-base.

Years later, Obama is running for president, and his birth certificate — and the supposed veracity thereof — becomes an issue. (Always remember that the birther accusation was originally ginned up by Hillary Clinton bagman Sidney Blumenthal before being taken up by the right wing.) One day, we’re discussing the whole birther mess and my mom casually mentions, “Well, you were born in the same hospital as Barack Obama, you know.” I thought, “That’s odd — I don’t remember being born in Kenya?” (I kid, I kid.) Anyway, I made a note of this tidbit and filed it away somewhere in the back of my brain.

Now flash forward to last year. I went out to Oregon for a few weeks because, after 38 years, my parents had decided to sell the large-ish house I grew up in. They needed a lot of help packing things up and disposing of decades of accumulated detritus. At some point, in the middle of packing up everything in the house, one of my parents hands me something and says, “Here, this is yours.” It’s a thick folder full of stuff from my childhood: old report cards, drawings, awards, etc. As I’m leafing through this pile of papers, I come across my own birth certificate. And it’s startling. I remember thinking, “This document looks really familiar.”

So I remember what my mom told me, and I Google the info on my own birth certificate. Yup, Kapiolani Maternity, same hospital as Barack Hussein Obama. And then it hits me: The reason why this document looks so familiar has nothing to do with me having seen it before — I probably hadn’t seen my own birth certificate in well over 30 years and remembered nothing about it — but because the green piece of paper I was holding in my hands that says “CERTIFICATE OF LIVE BIRTH” at the top looks pretty much identical to the birth certificate Obama released. The very same birth certificate that spurred the Zapruder-like analysis from the fever swamps insisting it wasn’t genuine. I just replaced a credit card (again) for fraudulent charges, so no, I’m not enough of an idiot to scan and upload my birth certificate to the internet to prove it to you. You’ll just have to take my word for it.

Now, I know Obama is 15 years older than I am. (In fact, Punahou high school and Kapiolani are on the same street in Honolulu, and I was born around 1 p.m. on a Thursday, so it’s pretty amusing to think that at the moment I was being born, the future president was half a mile away behind the bleachers getting high with the Choom Gang.) But in the era before everything was computerized, it’s entirely possible that the methods of record keeping would stay consistent for 15 years. Or it’s possible that his parents lost it and got a copy some years later, around the time I was born.

Regardless, there’s plenty of evidence that Obama has invented parts of his memoir out of whole cloth, twisted the truth about his past relationships, and been outright mendacious about his association with terrorists and radicals…

But I happen to think his birth certificate is genuine. Otherwise, my own birth certificate is probably fake, and I’d hate for any controversy to derail my soon-to-be-announced 2024 presidential campaign.

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