By Jim Heffernan
Well, there for sure goes any chance I might have had to be President. That’d be President of the United States (of America).
President Obama settled that for me when he went ahead and released his second official birth certificate (the first official birth certificate was shorter), proving, for the second time and once and for all, that he was, in fact, born in Hawaii, making him an genuine American citizen and therefore eligible to be President.
He just made it, though. A mere two years earlier Hawaii wasn’t even a state, and neither was Sarah Palin’s Alaska. I was born back in the days when there were 48 stars on Old Glory, and, frankly, it’s been hard to make the adjustment to 50.
Never mind that. We were discussing my prospects for becoming President as a result of President Obama releasing his entire long-form actual birth certificate, so help him God and, what is more, Scout’s honor.
As I mentioned in a previous post–way back when all the birther hype was in its infancy, my own birth certificate might be looked upon as questionable. I was shocked, shocked, a decade ago when I sought out my birth certificate for purposes of qualifying for a passport. I am my parents’ second born, sort of what Prince Harry is to Prince William in the United Kingdom, only not as much inheritance.
Anyway, I was told as soon as I was old enough to understand the king’s English that my arrival in our now four-member family had been eagerly anticipated; that it was planned even before I arrived that my name would be “James,” and that just a month before I was born the family had moved into the home I was brought to as a newborn, signed, sealed and delivered. Well, maybe delivered, then signed and sealed. Whatever. This was our family home throughout my youth.
So 60 years later (if you can believe it), I went to the courthouse in Duluth to get my birth certificate, and what did it say? It identified me as “Baby Boy” Heffernan. No James – not even James the Lesser (see Holy Bible). What is more, my parents’ home address listed a street and number where they had left several years before I was born. Not only that, the place no longer existed when I sought my birth certificate. Torn down.
The passport man was not happy. Can you imagine the reaction of the Tea Party if I ever decided to go ahead and run for President? (Don’t laugh. Reagan was my age when he ran. Oh, go ahead and laugh.) A birth certificate with no name, no address, no runs, no hits, one error and nobody left on base, if you grasp the baseball analogy. I don’t.
Not only would the Tea Party have a Target field day, but so would somebody like Donald Trump, who revived this whole birther issue now after it had only festered for some two years. Many people make fun of Donald Trump’s hair, but I noticed on TV that he’s getting fat, too.
Now Billionaire Trump (did you know he has his own helicopter with the letters TRUMP on the side?) admits that Obama is probably a native-born American but he’s questioning the president’s academic record that allowed him into such Ivy League schools as Columbia and Harvard, although not Princeton and Dartmouth.
Bringing up my academic record is all I’d need in addition to my vague birth certificate. I couldn’t run for dog catcher in the rye. Let’s say my own academic record in “higher” education ain’t exactly something to brag about, but I don’t want to go into detail about it.
I’ll just say this: About 20 years ago the then chancellor of my alma mater, the University of Minnesota Duluth, asked me to be the speaker at a commencement ceremony and as a reward I’d be named a Distinguished Alumni.
I was shocked, of course, and could only blurt out: “With my transcripts?”
I did go through with it, though, proud to be honored that way. But I couldn’t bring myself to wear a cap and gown for the academic ceremony. They can look pretty drab without gold braids.