Can We Learn Something from the Classics about Vetting Obama?
After my last piece on why it's reasonable to authenticate Obama's elusive birth certificate, I received an e-mail from a reader. His name is Bill Meisler, and he is fluent in ancient Greek. Recently, Bill was reading the speeches of Demosthenes.
Bill relayed the following:
In the scholarly notes to the Speech Against Meidias the commentator wrote that before an Athenian could hold any magistracy of the city, he had to undergo what was called a dokimasia, a formal public inquiry into whether the man who wished to hold the magistracy possessed all the necessary criteria needed to prove his Athenian citizenship and thereby be allowed the privilege of holding office. The dokimasia was open to the public and was presided over by the appropriate authorities in the presence of the boule, the democratic council representing the entire citizenry. Witnesses and unequivocal documentation were required, and any citizen could challenge the proceedings of the inquiry.
Though it may seem a little odd to us at first glance, the dokimasia was held after the election. In the book Aspects of Athenian Democracy, by Robert J. Bonner, it's noted that:
... [t]hese disqualifications and restrictions [to holding office] were matters of record or observation[.] But there were other disqualifications that could be discovered only by a judicial investigation involving the production of witnesses. Obviously it would be economical of time and effort to defer this inquiry until after the election[.] This examination was known as the dokimasia.
In contemporary America, the examination of candidates is thought to be done by the free press prior to the election. But when serious vetting of the winning candidate has not occurred, we have a predicament: judges have ruled that citizens have no standing to enforce eligibility requirements because of the election.
In such a system, the incalculable power of the unified media to create impressions and manufacture public opinion means that election results may be engineered and shielded from substance and sound judgment.
Unfortunately, with regard to the matter of Barack Obama, as David Kupelian puts it, instead "of vetting him as was their solemn duty, the media lifted him high overhead and giddily raced across the finish line[.]" Excluding those who did independent research, voters knew little on Election Day about the actual substance of the candidate chosen by the JournoLists to "make history."
Many voters, if not most, went to the polls not even knowing Obama's middle name, or the fact that he attended elementary school in Islamic Indonesia using a completely different name. Was Barry Soetoro adopted by his Muslim stepfather, Lolo Soetoro? No one knows for sure because the press refused to ask questions, let alone demand answers.
Very few knew what Saul Alinsky-type community organizers were really all about. Many viewed a "community organizer" as a sort of idolized Boy Scout who helps neighborhoods by doing good deeds. Few knew that as a community organizer, Obama was creating political "power bases" for "redistributive justice." Most voters did not know of Obama's revolutionary dreams and of his commensurate connections to ACORN, the New Party, and Project Vote. (It was not for nothing that the Communist Party backed Obama.) Mr. Obama's core identity in hard-left Marxist radicalism was ignored or downplayed by the press.
At the pinnacle of the public's concern over Obama's shocking twenty-year church membership under the tutelage of his America-loathing "spiritual advisor," one "journalist" actually declared his early 2008 interview of Obama a "Reverend Wright-free zone."
On the contrary, the historic Republican candidate got no "free zones." Sarah Palin experienced one of the most vicious concerted media attacks in American political history. When John McCain selected Palin as his running mate, she was an admired governor with a remarkable 83% approval rating. After the liberal media were finished with Palin, only 39% of Alaskans were found to hold a positive opinion of the once-widely respected hockey mom.
John McCain was subjected to a Senate Resolution in 2008 to clear up questions relating to his status as a "natural born citizen" under the Constitution. The traditional definition of natural born citizen as one having an unbroken chain of natural allegiance to the United States was implicitly applied to McCain. Since the traditional definition didn't apply to Obama, the question as to whether Obama needed U.S. citizen parents to qualify was completely ignored.
The discussion between Charlie Rose and former NBC news anchor Tom Brokaw just a few days prior to the 2008 presidential election says it all:
Rose: I don't know what Barack Obama's worldview is.
Brokaw: No, I don't either.
Rose: And do we know anything about the people who are advising him?
Brokaw: You know that's an interesting question. ... I don't know what books he's read.
Rose: What do we know about the heroes of Barack Obama?
Brokaw: There's a lot about him we don't know.
Many Americans now know they were hoodwinked by the image of Obama as presented by his campaign and the media (forgive the redundancy). In addition to the known betrayal, the sense that we have been deceived with regard to Obama's natal history remains. Mr. Obama's staunch secrecy in locking down the ordinary records of his past (passport, education, hospital, medical, vital, etc.) has only increased anger and distrust.
The recent findings of Sheriff Joe Arpaio's investigative team have led to the alarming pronouncement that probable cause exists to believe that Obama's belated birth certificate and Selective Service registration are both awkward forgeries.
Should Arpaio's findings be ignored without a hearing? Do we have any options?
Well, at this point, the solution is to have an American dokimasia to settle the matter once and for all. Robert Bonner informs us that during the examination in ancient Athens, the elected official "was required to prove, by witnesses, his citizen descent for three generations, his performance of his duties to his parents and of all military services, the payment of his taxes, the possession of a family tomb, and adherence to the cults of Apollo Patrous and Zeus of the Household."
Bonner continues, "anyone was free to show cause in a court of law why the official-elect should not be confirmed in his office." It's apparent from the examinations of the clients of Lysias that "the loyalty of the prospective officials to democracy was likely to be called in question."
The perfect venue for our Obama dokimasia is the House of Congress. Let's learn once again from the ancient Greeks and have open hearings, complete with witnesses and document production via the congressional power of the subpoena.
The principles our founders incorporated into our Constitution from Athenian democracy should continue in perpetuity. We may not require proof of citizen descent for three generations, but one generation should not be too much to ask. We may not require a generational family mausoleum, but adherence to the cult of American liberty with the traditional values of our founding -- God-given rights independent of government; limited, enumerated central power; etc. -- via fidelity to our Constitution should also be revived as a normative requirement.
The Athenian model of complete transparency is a refreshing idea in context of the exhausted secrecy of Barack Hussein Obama II.
From the classics we can learn that transparency at the most fundamental level equates to trust at all other levels.