For the last few weeks, the media couldn't get enough of Donald Trump's claim that President Obama's Certificate of Live Birth proved nothing. They'd herald the polls that some crazy percentage of Americans didn't believe that the President was born in the United States. And I'm ashamed to admit that I bought into their fear-mongering. I called my mother in a panic, worried that when Connor and I went down to the Registry for his driver's permit, some nut behind the counter would question Connor's legitimacy because he didn't have a birth certificate, but rather, a certificate of live birth. The next day, I ordered the long-form version (which cost me a whole lot more than I wanted to spend), and I told Connor he couldn't get his permit until the new version came, which it did less than 5 days later.
There. Now, no-one could question Connor's legitimacy. I was armed and loaded for bear. But I was also feeling another feeling I couldn't quite put my finger on. It hovered somewhere between sadness and anger. I was sad/mad that I'd let Donald Trump make me question my son's obvious existence. I was sad/mad that I was becoming suspicious and paranoid about the people I would encounter throughout my day. And I was down-right heartbroken and apoplectic when Obama called a press conference releasing his long-form birth certificate. I understood why he did it. But I couldn't help but wonder he felt angry, humiliated, frustrated, tired, or all of the above. What did he tell his daughters? Did any of the kids at school say anything? The Donald got into my head and I'm just a regular girl in Wrentham, Massachusetts, never mind being the President of United States.
But as I was going to bed last night, I checked onto the Huffington Post for no particular reason, only to find that the President was going to be making a major announcement around 10:30pm. The President? On the Sunday night? This...was...BIG. We got into bed, put on CNN, and waited. Then in came: Osama Bin Laden was dead. Holy crap. OBL, American's boogeyman, was dead. We sat, glued to the coverage. Then they started showing the crowds gathering outside the White House and Ground Zero, cheering and sining the national anthem. And I felt a shift inside of me. Here we are again. Poised at a critical moment in our history as a nation, when we can put our differences aside and see ourselves in each other; each one an American.
September 11, 2001, was a dark day in America. But the days that follow did, for many, bring out the better angels of our natures. I often what could have been if we'd been able to bottle or harness that energy. I can't help feeling that we're at that crossroad again or at least that I'm there again. I let fear pull me from my center. I will be careful not to let that happen again. It wasn't a wrong decision to get another version of Connor's birth certificate, it was the spirit in which the decision was made that I would change. As it turns out, the new version doesn't look much different from the first. It's slightly more official looking with a big green flourish border, but both have a raised seal and can testify that Connor Burns Eschmann was "Made in the USA".