Saturday, August 25, 2012


        Mitt Romney got a big laugh out of his audience at a rally in suburban Detroit yesterday, when after commenting that he and his wife were born in Michigan, he quipped "No one has ever asked to see my birth certificate. They know that this is the place that we were born and raised."
        The crowd clearly got the implied reference to the birthers' demand to see Barack Obama's birth certificate on the presumption that he was not born in the United States and consequently has no right to hold the office of President. Romney supporter Donald Trump and his ilk continue to harp on this theme, despite the fact that the President has released his long form birth certificate.
"No one has ever asked to see my birth certificate"!
        It was a calculated zinger, but when asked why he would make such a statement, Romney told CBS evening news anchor Scott Pelley that he was only joking. "And humor, you know ---we've got to have a little humor in a campaign." Romney assured Pelley that he believed the President was born in America and had every right to be President, but the joke was sure to appeal to the "birthers," whose support he needs in the forthcoming election.
        Romney's remark illustrates a point I made in a poem I wrote several years ago. It is entitled JUST KIDDING and is based on this saying from the Book of Proverbs: "Like a maniac who shoots deadly firebrands and arrows, so is one who deceives a neighbor and says, 'I am only joking'" (Proverbs 26:18-19, NRSV).

If you want folks
to like your jokes,
yourself of friends not ridding,
it doesn't pay
to sting, and say
"But I was only kidding!"

Time and again
some rascals when
their hurtful fun are poking,
employ that ruse!
It's no excuse
to say, "I'm only joking!"

(from  If I Do Say So Myself)

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