The Rise of Birtherism

Written by Ariama Long

Our country has created some interesting and unassuming neologisms, most notably the addition of words like ‘hashtag‘ or ‘favorited‘ to link and save the latest social media phenomenon. However, not every new word we cultivate as a society is as safe and trendy. Recently, the new term Birtherism has taken on a life of its own.

This phrase is generally attributed to none other than business mogul, Donald Trump, when he savagely went after current President of The United States (P.O.T.U.S) Barack Obama in his second term run against Mitt Romney. Trump thrust himself into the limelight claiming that Obama had no right to run for presidency because he was not a natural born citizen, after which dominated a large percentage of the news coverage that year.

According to James Taranto, in his article published in the American Spectator, “That same week, Donald Trump’s revival of citizenship questions accounted for much of the attention directly on the Obama administration, at 4% of the newshole in PEJ (Project for Excellence in Journalism) reports.”

Briefly fueled by the media, Trump is slinging the same accusations against a new opponent, namely Ted Cruz. Birtherism thus takes a gruesome pirouette in the spotlight in a year where refugees, immigrants, racism, and religious outcasts are always sure to be the topic of conversation for any candidate. Considering that I’m not a huge fan of politics, I’d rather briefly discuss the emergence of this word and the societal attitude that bore it than rant on about Trump and his inveigling tactics.

As President Obama stated in his last State of The Union address:



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Step To The Table

step to the table with a pen

release all the static within

view the universe clearly

in my thoughts sand, gravel slipping through my hands

cocoa butter memories swim around

this intellectual revolutionary

bury me with dark chocolate and a floatie

i can back stroke through the essence of life

anger and admiration raise the question

are you really that comfortable with ignorance?

ebonics has spread like the bubonic plague

devil obscured our language to make meaning vague

if you can’t comprehend what i said

let me reiterate

in communication lies peace  these words we preach

but the violence can’t cease if no one understands us

ninety percent of your speech is driven by thought

think of the truth

translate that into actions dominated by ninety percent of your heart

Unsung Song

The world changed.
Books disappeared, replaced
by glowing screens.
Poems that mattered once
were gently laid to rest.
Once, the summer was
the summer, the fall the fall.
Outside, cars sat quietly at the curb,
puffy like soft sculptures,
or finned like giant fish.
Mornings, afternoons,
a boy on a bicycle delivered
news of the world.
Then suddenly it all ended.
There was only the present
looping continuously on a screen,
but you couldn’t make sense of it.

Outside people still jogged,
walked their dogs, coffee
in one hand, a phone in the other.
Holding bright little gods,
they texted and twittered.
Vainly, you tried to recall
when everything had mattered,
when the summer was the summer,
the fall the fall. When people stood
on the sidewalk in the cool
of the evening quietly talking.
When a rolled newspaper hit
the door, mornings, afternoons,
delivered by a boy on a bicycle.
Whatever had happened,
had happened overnight.

You open your mouth.
You open your mouth.
Although there is nothing
to sing about, you sing.

–by Elizabeth Spires


The walls of this house

feel so cold now

The warmth and happiness

held in these

dark colored halls have

been stripped away

like a child peeling a banana

painted over with white

covering and blocking out

making these floors strange to me

everything changed

all old is gone

taking with it my precious memories