July 28, 2009

Born in the USA

I have, on occasion, been known to indulge in conspiracy theories.

For instance, there's a part of me that still believes that John Kerry struck some kind of deal born of Skull & Bones to basically throw the 2004 election for George Bush. After all, he fought like a hellcat to destroy Howard Dean, robocalls & all, but declined from using similar tactics against the 43rd president.

So, yes, I do buy into some conspiracy theories. But I find the recent Birther phenomenon so amusing for two reasons:

1. for it to be true, you have to assume the complicity of The State of Hawaii, at least two major Hawaiian newspapers, the Federal Election Commission, John McCain, Sarah Palin, and basically the entire Republican political apparatus. And that various elements had been upholding this conspiracy for nearly 50 years (that, or they went back and planted false evidence in the record, 1984-style). To which, I would respond, why? If Sarah Palin had some serious doubt about Obama's citizenship, do you think she would have waited a second to use that in a campaign speech? She was damn near calling the man a terrorist because he'd been in some guy's house. Which gets to the larger issue of most conspiracy theories, namely the presumption that all of the important famous people are out to punk the rest of the world so they can.... do what, exactly? "Control us"? I mean, really, if all of these players were interested in fabricating Obama's birth, wouldn't they have come up with a better cover story.

2. To borrow a line from Rush Limbaugh, the Birther movement is totally about race. The guy who's credited with originally trying to discredit Obama's nationality is a dude who once ran for congress on the promise that he would "exterminate Jew Power in America". The woman who shouted down that congressman in his town hall meeting about the birther stuff ended her tirade with "I want my country back!", because, of course, this can't really be America if a Black man is now president. Lou Dobbs teased the notion that Obama might even be an illegal immigrant. The fact is, these people are looking for anything that would just undo the last election, because that election proves that the majority of America thinks they're a bunch of crackpots.

Barack Obama is an American.

And he's your President.

Suck it up.
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