Extremist Folly of the Week #1: the “Birthers”
Yep, those wifty right-wing anti-Obama beanpods have earned themselves our first-ever Extremist Folly of the Week Award. (Lefties can breathe a sigh of relief for now.)
Who are the Birthers, you ask? Just a surprisingly resilient grassroots cult whose members insist that Mr. Barack H. Obama entered this world on foreign (i.e, Un-American) soil. So what, you ask? Well, if you’ve ever opened a civics textbook, you know that the U.S. Constitution has restricted the presidency to native-born Americans since its inception in 1787.
But hasn’t Obama furnished a copy of his birth certificate, attesting to the fact that he was lawfully born in the State of Hawaii back in A.D. 1961? He certainly has. But that trifling piece of evidence hasn’t stopped the Birthers from pressing their claim.
No national politician of any consequence has taken them seriously. We moderates shouldn’t, either. And yet…
I’ve learned that we should never underestimate the strange and wild power of the fanatical fringes, left or right. No matter that their beliefs might remind us of those deluded souls who claim to see the Virgin Mary’s profile on a slice of toast. At bottom it’s all a matter of faith, beyond disputing.
An instructive example: I’ve never been to India. I’ve heard that the Taj Mahal is located there, but I’ve had no way to verify that information personally. (I mean, how do I know it’s not in Cleveland? I’ve never been there, either.) If I made the journey to India myself, I honestly believe I’d stumble across the Taj Mahal. But until then, I have to take it on faith.
I’ve never seen Obama’s birth certificate, either. Unlike the Birthers, I’m taking it on faith that the document attests to his lawful birth on U.S. territory. Unlike me, the Birthers take it on faith that he’s a foreigner. Nothing will convince them otherwise, so the Birther movement persists.
A handful of mostly local politicoes have fanned the flames by addressing Birther rallies and letting their kooky constituents cry out for blood. Should we be concerned? I am. I’m concerned about the obsessiveness of their quest. I’m concerned that they really want Obama removed from office, by hook or by bullet. They don’t even seem to care that Joe Biden would take his place.