I think it has been well-established that I hate my brain, but what might surprise some of you is that I used to hate my brain a whole lot more and would regularly subject it to the rantings and monkey poo fights of an online forum comprised of mostly quasi-literate degenerate sociopaths.
One issue that generated a fair amount of discussion in this forum was the birther conspiracy theory that Barack Obama was not born in Hawaii. The conservative bloc mostly dismissed the theory as nonsense when it was first talked about, and the liberals had a good time making fun of people who believed it. At first it didn’t seem like an issue that would be around for long.
I think it was early in 2010 when someone (it might have been me) first posted a poll saying that a large percentage of Republicans either believed that Obama was not born in the US or that they were not sure. The poll was immediately dismissed by the conservatives as being completely biased because it was from a liberal website. There was no way, they argued at the time, that a majority of Republicans didn’t believe that Barack Obama was born in Hawaii. One conservative on the site, a 50-something Ron Paul fanboy lawyer from Colorado, said the poll was completely fabricated, and that there was no possible way it could be accurate. It was considered a great insult to these conservatives to be labeled as a “birther.”
But soon it became obvious that this was a real thing. Poll after poll came out saying that a plurality of Republicans believed that Barack Obama was not born in Hawaii with a majority being unable to say they were sure he was born in the US. Suddenly the same conservatives who dismissed the theory as nonsense and a liberal smear when it was first reported were now starting sentences with, “I’m not a birther, but…” followed by some ridiculous argument about how there were legitimate questions to be asked.
The really awesome part about the evolution of this issue was that the same conservatives who absolutely refused to believe at first that birtherism even existed in any great numbers, suddenly started parroting the same stupid arguments once it became clear that it did exist. While at first they insisted that the issue (and initial polling) was a liberal plot to make conservatives look stupid, once it became clear that it wasn’t a plot, then they immediately shifted their story to suggest that it wasn’t conservatives who were acting stupidly, but that president Obama was somehow at fault for their own stupidity. Personal responsibility!
The arguments went something like this: I’m not a birther, but obviously president Obama holds views that are so anti-American that it is only natural that suspicions should be raised. Also, his past is shrouded in so much secrecy that he only has himself to blame for all of these theories. And also, how hard would it to be for him to release his actual long-form birth certificate, instead of the short form that we’ve seen?
That aforementioned lawyer from Colorado was really good at this. He suggested that we know less about this president than any other president that has ever served, and that questions about his birth are only natural, even though he himself was not a birther and would get very upset if you accused him of being a birther. He seemed to think that President Obama was being very secretive about his past, about his school records and past associations, unlike other presidents like George W. Bush. For some reason, he ignored my request that he get me a copy of Bush’s records (including discharge papers and transfers) from the Texas Air National Guard. Oh well. I called his rhetoric the “soft birtherism of unreasonable expectations.”
Up until last year, the trump card for these birthers was always the “long form birth certificate.” If only Obama would release the long form all of these questions would go away. I argued that why should he, when the short form was all that was legally required, and that having a bunch of idiots question his birth place was not exactly bad politically. I also argued that if people refused to believe the truth with the evidence that had been presented so far, no amount of additional evidence would ever be sufficient. If you find yourself arguing with a person who insists that the earth is flat, stop trying to find new evidence that it is round. That person is not reachable.
Of course my theory was tested last year when President Obama did release his long-form birth certificate, just before giving the order to get Osama bin Laden. Was it sufficient? Did it kill the controversy? Was that all that was required to make the issue go away? No, of course not. Just this week we have Congressman Mike Coffman from Colorado (maybe the congressman of that lawyer from the monkey poo forum?) saying that he is still unsure if president Obama was born in America, but that he is definitely not American in his heart. He later apologized, sort of hilariously.
The Secretary of State in Arizona recently told supporters that he wasn’t sure if he had seen enough evidence to put President Obama on the ballot. The State of Hawaii was less than kind in its response and he eventually backed down and said Obama would be on the ballot.
This issue persists because there is something about President Obama that is just, hmmm, different. I can’t quite figure it out, but it remains. There are those who insist that it is not the obvious, that it has nothing to do with president Obama’s race, but that it is all about his policies that make people question his Americanness. I’d like an explanation of the difference between the policies of Bill Clinton and the policies of Barack Obama that would justify that statement. Heck, I’d like an explanation of the difference between the policies of Richard Nixon and the policies of Barack Obama that would justify that statement.