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Extremist Folly of the Week #1: the “Birthers”

July 28, 2009

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.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Hallie permalink
    July 29, 2009 3:29 am

    Good point about Joe Biden. And God forbid, if Joe was to go, the next in line is speaker Nancy Pelosi!! I think it’s best these birthers focus their attention on the next election.

    Oh… and I’m pretty sure the Taj Mahal is in Holbrook, AZ (it’s a dilapidated route 66 attraction) near the power plant and the dry town of Joseph City. I know, I’ve been there.

  2. July 29, 2009 10:48 am

    Hallie: OK, I’m glad you verified the location of the Taj Mahal for me. I swear, we pick up such nonsense from reference books! Can you imagine all the lies we’ve been told about our history? I’ve heard that George Washington was actually a bartender in Perth Amboy, NJ, and that the “American Revolution” consisted of a minor brawl at his tavern. He personally decked three British rowdies, so the locals began to tell tales about his heroic feat. Before long, they were calling him the “father of his country.” A modest man, he pooh-poohed his fame but nevertheless sat for a portrait by Gilbert Stuart. The rest is history, or, to put it more accurately, “history.”

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