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[personal profile] the_sn0wygoose
An extraordinary event happened in America three years ago, which is worth repeating today. President Barak H. Obama, the Second, presented an original copy of his Certificate of Live Birth to the Press in order to validate both his Citizenship and his legal rights under the Construction of the United States to hold the office of President. Needless to say, this has never happened before in America. But I think there is a deeper story here, far beyond the mundanely mêlées of politics, something that directly speaks to the human condition and character: WE CAN NEVER LEAVE OUR PERSONAL HISTORY IN THE PAST.

For the moment, I would like to offer a ‘side-bar’ to my f-list for clarification and enrichment.

For my friends outside of the US, this might appear both bizarre and confusing. And, you would be correct. But to put this into perspective, may I offer a little background on the reasons behind this furor. That reasoning lies within our Constitution. The Constitution of the United States of America is one of the most unique documents in all the world. Produced under extraordinary circumstances by very well reasoned men, the US Constitution remains the pre-emanate body of law Governess since 1787. Holding particular distinction as the world’s first written Constitution. This body of work sets forth the entire laws and framework for exactly how the US Legislative bodies, President & Vice-President, and Court system must operate; such as election requirements, mechanisms for removal from office, and most importantly - requirements for holding office. Specifically, under Article 2, Section 1, Clause #5, which enumerates that those aspiring to be the President must be a “naturally born” citizen (that is born within the boundaries of America and not immigrated to the USA) and over the age of 35 if they wish to hold office. Now that you have that background, the whole point of the ‘side-bar’, I would like to turn from the concrete to the abstract – from the politics of many to the introspection of the one.

By now you may have guessed that this NOT political observation, since I’ve stated this twice in the last two paragraphs and hopefully hammered this point home. No, this is an observation on the most sensitive and important subject of human existence: Our past and how we cope and/or resolve our past.

We have all had that single defining moment in our lives: The moment we decide to embark on a different path in life in order to obtain our goals and our fortunes, and turn away from our old lives. Such as the day at University we choose our major and passion in life which differs from our family business. The day we find we’d much rather be performing on stage than working in an office unlike our fathers and mothers. The day we choose our own life style and over that of our parents.

It defines us. It reshapes us. It remakes us. We are no longer the child we once were, we are the adult we have become.

Curious thing though, it does not eliminate our past.

As much as the successful city Lawyer practices her urbane lifestyle, you still hear occasional slips in the vowels which betrays her humble farmer’s rearing. Or the boy from the city whose parents scripted and saved to send him to good schools and university, though try as he may to hide his hard edge among the easy-going farmers of his new community, it slips between the façade of his new image.

And when our past comes to light in the present, as it does to us all, we are faced with three options: Disguise or dismiss our past, highlight certain parts of our past for the benefit of those around us, or come to terms with our past and acknowledge them, in whole and un-edited, to the world – for better or worse and receive the sanctions from your admission.

I have found the first two options do not work very well. To disguise your past, even for the most noblest of reasons can be viewed by your friends as dishonesty whom are left sense of betrayal or question your integrity. At worst, a weapon welded by your advisories to bludgeon you for being a poseur. And to simply dismiss the question of your past life may lead to more aggressive questions of character, which leaves you in an uncomfortable position.

Likewise, highlighting parts of your past can leave people with a specific one-dimensional impression, and when that impression is challenged and found in error or that you are, like the rest of humanity, a multi-dimensional person; which castigates to the world that are not the same person you make yourself out to be. Again, leaving a sense of betrayal or question your integrity.

The final option requires the person both forgiving of themselves and willing to accept the sanctions (which is both reward and punishments) for embracing their past and candidly – unvarnished- telling of their past.

I suspect, not as a political commentary but as to empathic response, that Mr. Obama has experienced sanctions from all three choices. From Barry Obama, the well traveled and bright Boy who suddenly finding himself in humble, single family, circumstances; to Barak H. Obama, Esquire - The Urbane Lawyer and Politician, rising to acceptance into University and Law School into prominence.

The only factor which differs from you and I is the fact Mr. Obama cannot simply use the cloak of anonymity and become just another face in the crowd. No, his decisions yielded quite public responses: Sometimes dismissive or careful to disclose his past; sometimes presenting only a portion of his past to show relativity to an audience; to ultimately disclosing his Certificate of Live Birth to the press to justify his past and lawful authority.

All three choices were played out for the world to see and to render judgment - leaving his allies bewildered and his advisories well tooled. Not a warning to follow suite, but a lesson to be divined by using Mr. Obama’s favorite axiom, “A Teachable Moment”. I hope it was a lessoned learned.

In the end could we say as humans, we followed the same choices and rendered the same decision? And herein is the question: How do you choose to disclose your past?

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December 2016

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