25 May 2012
The Birther Truth
Okay. I've held my tongue long enough. It's time to tell you what I know. You may not want to hear it, but it's important. So important that it could change the history of this country, maybe even the world.
Some years back, when I was practicing law in New York, I worked with a group of well-connected, New York liberal lawyers. Some were New Lefters from pre-HUAC days—certainly the old lions in the group. Most spent their summers at socialist camps. Hard core. Their clients were mostly politicians and leftist activist agencies and their principals. I was a good lawyer and did my job faithfully representing their interests. But this is beside the point. Needless to say, these guys were deep in, high and mighty mucky-mucks, who were all really, really angry about what President Ronald Reagan had done to their beloved Soviet empire.
Anyway, one evening we were at an upstate country-club for our annual summer golf/tennis outing. I'll not name it here (nor any of the people), but the PGA has played major tournaments there. After a dinner of London broil and lobster, a few of them retired, as they did every year, to the gentleman's locker for some cards and cigars. "Care to join us for a Cuban, Jim my boy?" one of the younger partners, my mentor, asked me. I was surprised but truly honored. After having practiced law with most of these guys for over eight years, this was the first time I'd been asked into their sanctum sanctorum. "Absolutely," I said, knowing that this was an initiation rite for me I could hardly refuse. I knew enough, besides, not to open my mouth except to raise or pass or fold or puff or sip.
We played cards late into the night. The talk ranged from hot female paralegals at the firm to the Yankees to celebrities they had known from their school days. Most of it very light-hearted. As the evening wore on and the scotch wore in, the talk naturally enough turned to politics. They hated Ed Koch—'Bozo the Clown' they called him. They thought Rudy Giuliani, then a U.S. Attorney, was a fascist ('Mussolini-lite') who was crucifying Michael Milken—a firm client for certain minor real estate matters, I might add. And they wanted to string up Henry Kissinger as a war criminal. etc., etc. You can get the drift.
Then the talk turned to the current administration. Reagan was a stooge, they said, a cut-out for his then-Vice President George H.W. Bush who was the power behind the attempt on Reagan's life and, though nobody could prove it, on JFK. What was happening with the shadow government he was running from the basement of the White House was no less than an attempted coup. There was lots of rumbling agreement around the table. All of this political stuff meant little to me; I had never even voted.
"Not to worry," the most senior guy, an old 50s radical, said. "We've got a guy." He'd obviously had a few too many, and the liquor and the outrage had gotten the better of him. One of the other senior partners from our Chicago office whom I didn't know hissed an 'Ix-nay' at him and tried to change the subject, nodding covertly in my direction. From the corner of my eye I noted my mentor giving him a quiet nod across the table as if to say it was okay to talk around me. I could be trusted. I pretended to be lost in thought about the five cards I'd just been dealt—two low pair, fives and threes, if I remember correctly. I took a deep draw on my cigar, folded, and wandered back over the bar to refill my drink—f.y.i. Basil Hayden straight up with one cube of ice.
I thought nothing more about that little slip until later in the evening, as the clock approached the single digits, the senior partner and the Chicago partner started talking somewhat absent-mindedly among themselves—it was probably the scotch that loosened their inhibitions around me. I don't remember the exact words of their conversation but its import has haunted me to this day, and it's especially poignant now given the current controversy. I don't know why I never put it together before now.
Here's what I learned that night: the two of them had been involved in a secret society that had been culled from a larger group of radicals and leftist liberals. They had formed just after the JFK assassination—in fact in reaction to it. They believed it had been an outright coup by the "right-wing, military-industrial complex" and felt they needed to do something to set the country back on the path toward socialism. They had discovered a young man, 'Mau Mau' I think they called him, who would help them exact their revenge. His father, it came out, had been a covert Soviet spy who had brainwashed and recruited his mother to raise him as an agent of influence. There had been a few technicalities they had to iron out early on, I remember them saying. Something about a birth certificate and the child's bona fides—Operation Hula Hoop they'd called it, laughing. Obviously, I thought nothing of this little detail at the time; I had no idea what they meant by legitimacy. I had no reason to, obviously, at the time. From what I gathered, they had been covertly watching out for him through the years, using his teachers and friends, his church leaders and the organizations which employed him to groom him for the great role they had for him. Again, I had no idea what role they meant. They talked about how much trouble they had had bringing him to New York from an obscure West Coast college (I don't recall the name). They talked about how they had sponsored what they called his 'politically correct' education somewhere here in town and then sent him off to Chicago. As Harvard Law School alums themselves, they were proud of the way they'd managed to matriculate this Mau Mau at their alma mater. One of the Yale Law grads at the table harrumphed and mentioned some fraternity buddies of his at Yale who could've helped, if they'd only have let them. I had no idea what he meant. I just figured this was part of the normal rivalry that went on all the time between these two groups of elites.
Pretty soon, everyone's attention started fading, and the game petered out. I lost about $25 that night, not too much. My mentor, one of the Yalies, had won a couple hundred bucks. I pretended to be a little drunk and even closed my eyes to make the men think I was nodding off as the two old partners nattered on about how it wouldn't be long before they would finally set things aright in this country—even if it didn't come in their lifetime. They just had to be patient. The optimism and hope in their jaded old faces was unmistakable; it energized them. Gave them life
But, of all the things that happened that night, nothing is starker in my memory than what happened later in the parking lot. As I was walking out to my car, my mentor caught up with me and put his arm firmly around my shoulder, gripping me the way he'd done a thousand times. "Jim old boy," he said, "sometimes people say things aloud they really shouldn't, you know?" "Not sure what you're talking about, Bill." He stopped, "You can never ever tell anyone what you heard in there tonight." And he dug his fingers into my shoulder just at the pressure points to the point that it hurt. "I have no idea what you're talking about," I told him. "Good," he said, "keep it that way." His words were deeply chilling. His meaning was crystal clear. "See you Monday."
I never learned any actual names that night. I had pretty much mastered the art of eavesdropping—making myself appear nonchalant, uninterested, distracted—so I didn't ask any follow up questions as I would have, say, if I'd been cross-examining the men under oath, even though I comprehended very little of what they were saying. The next week, one evening when I was sure I wouldn't be noticed, I searched the records room and file rooms of the firm for any further evidence about this so-called Mau Mau or Operation Hula Hoop conspiracy. Needless to say, I found nothing. And I thought nothing further about it.
Until this week. Even now, I am shaking as I type this. It all came back to me in stark relief when I heard Lou Dobbs and the folks at FoxNews talking about this so-called 'birther' controversy. Some people believe that President Obama is not really a citizen of this country. They believe he was born in Kenya and might be an agent of influence for some foreign power or have divided loyalties. They believe he has been planted in the presidency to destroy this country. I don't know anything about that. All I know is what I heard a number of years ago over whiskeys and Cubans around that Westchester card table late one summer night. All I know is what they're alleging sounds a lot like what those old liberal, New York lawyers were laughing about that night. It's remarkable that even then, back before the Civil Rights Amendment had even been passed, they could've foreseen that, with proper guidance, a middle-class boy of mixed-race and mixed-religious parentage from Hawaii (a brand new state at the time) could navigate the treacherous waters of American politics, rise to the very pinnacle of power that rich white men had monopolized throughout the history of the country, and deceive the American public into voting him president. And actually win. How those old card-carrying, card-playing liberals could've known that then I'll never know.
In the intervening years, I've cut all ties with those old guys at my former firm. And most of the men—particularly the two older partners—have since either died or retired. Yet... Yet, I hesitate to write this in fear of what they could do to me. This powerful cabal of leftists has eyes and ears everywhere; I mean, if what I think happened happened, their man—their plant—is now the most powerful person in the world, and only a small group of heroic, right-wing, truth-seeking patriots (bloggers and talk radio callers) stands between him and the fulfillment of this ultimate, nefarious plan to destroy this country hatched by a bunch of defeated, resentful liberal elites nearly a half-century ago and executed with the sort of cunning and precision that makes Dick Cheney, David Addington, Scooter Libby, Karl Rove, and the whole American Enterprise Institute's Project for a New American Century look like a bunch of pikers—a real Mayberry Mafia.