Birthers = wackos

August 4, 2009

Conspiracy nuts, anyone? Susan Jacoby’s The Secularist’s Corner in the July 24 Washington Post addresses the bizarre movement among some (I’ll use the polite term) rightwingnuts claiming that Barack Obama is not a U.S. citizen and therefore occupies the White House illegitimately: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/community/groups/index.html?plckForumPage=ForumDiscussion&plckDiscussionId=Cat%3aa70e3396-6663-4a8d-ba19-e44939d3c44fForum%3a7cceb09e-a8ae-44b4-b7af-92605cbce240Discussion%3aeb65f3a0-b283-478c-8c7c-53780c6b32b8

On August 4, the President’s birthday, the Post features a column by Eugene Robinson on the same topic: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/03/AR2009080302219.html?hpid=opinionsbox1 (I’ve posted several comments to the flame wars.)

I am annoyed and perplexed by the birthers, a name much too polite for them. Running for President is like applying for a job. Hell, not like, it IS applying for a job. Let’s suppose you see a job you wish to apply for, and the requirements are clearly stated, as they always are. Would you bother to apply if you didn’t meet the requirements, and you knew it? Of course not! This is the norm. If the requirements state bachelor’s degree, or MCSE certification, or, let’s be more to the point, US citizen with TS/SCI with polygraph clearance, would you even bother? Of course not. And the reason you wouldn’t bother is that the employer would ditch your application immediately.

Same thing here. Perhaps these people think someone wakes up one day and decides, hey! I’m going to run for President. It doesn’t happen that way. Paperwork needs to be filed. The candidate needs to qualify for the ballot in the 50 states and/or their party’s primaries. How on God’s green earth does someone get that far without meeting the basic qualifications? They answer is, they don’t.

So this is a disturbing movement. Never before have I seen people  demanding to actually see a candidate’s birth certificate. As well, when the actual birth certificate has been presented, graciously, even though Mr. Obama is under no obligation to do so, the accusation is that what they’re looking at is a fake or forgery. (This, of course, is what Holocaust deniers like David Irving and Ernst Zündel say when confronted with literally tons of physical evidence from that period in history.) Along with the birth certificate thing, I also see shrill demands to know how Obama funded his college education. Since when is that anyone’s business? I guess for them, college is illegitimate unless it was bankrolled by rich parents who got you in as a legacy student. Scholarships don’t count. (A degree is not required for the job anyway. Good thing for Abe Lincoln it wasn’t.)

So I can only conclude that this movement is fueled by racism, or more accurately xenophobia. Adding to the, mm, irony isn’t the right word, but the bizarro-world-like nature of this movement is that one of its leaders is a foreigner with a box-top law degree. Excerpt from her web site:

For information and simple explanation of’ “Natural Born Citizen”, Why it is important, Birth Certificate and Eligibility issues, also see www.ObamaNotQualified.com by Jim who created and Orly’s site maintains and her blog.

I’d say the lack of coherence tells you everything about this woman you need to know.

It’s also noteworthy that their candidate was born in a location that was never one of the 50 states, as Hawaii was. That doesn’t seem to bother them.

Obviously, or perhaps not, both Mr. Obama and Mr. McCain satisfy the required qualifications for the job. It’s a little too late to be bleating conspiracy theory. If you don’t like the President’s policies, and I certainly don’t, object to the policies. Don’t vote for the Congress(wo)man who voted to pass the bills. But lunatic rants aren’t going to gain traction with many.

The saddest thing I can see in all of this is that these people breed. If we’re going to keep up in math and science with the Indians, Chinese, and Koreans, we need to raise children who can think critically. This encompasses deconstructing urban legends and debunking the conspiracy theories. These people’s offspring, should they possess the same critical thinking skills as their parents, will never be able to do that.

For some sad humor, listen to this interview of Orly Taitz by Alan Colmes: http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/birthers-gone-wild and this viral YouTube video of the Delaware resident wrapping herself in the flag (figuratively) and claiming the President is not a citizen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3N2AXWTPNHs

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