Friday, July 24, 2009

Birth(er) of a Nation

When it seems that the American socio-political landscape could not get any more fragmented or fractured, a new version of pond scum has been spotted clinging to the bottom of the cultural septic tank. These are the "Birthers," a new branch of the gigantic Idiot Tree that makes up the right-wing political faction in this country. Despite mountains of evidence to the contrary, Birthers seem to hang onto the ridiculous, discredited notion that President Barack Obama is not an American citizen and therefore cannot legally serve as president.

Right-wing conservatives have always appeared to be sad losers that time has forgotten, completely unencumbered by bothersome concepts such as logic or intelligence. Steadfastly and resolutely defiant in their ignorance and firmly ensconced in their self-constructed web of delusions, a considerable majority of them can just be written off as senile old gaffers, pathetically ravaged by dementia and Alzheimer's disease in their golden years. I remember back in last year's presidential campaign when a disheveled, frizzy-haired old woman stood up at a McCain rally, where she obviously felt comfortable spewing idiocy along with everyone else, and accused Obama of being an "A-rab." McCain meekly told the woman she was wrong and Obama was an "honorable man," but that sort of fell into the same category as faint praise. He quickly changed the subject and proceeded to prattle on about how qualified his vice-presidential candidate was. And we all know where that ultimately went. Ignoring the implication that in McCain's mind "Arab" and "honorable man" are diametrically opposed, maybe it wasn't his job to make a big deal about correcting a misinformed supporter. But what a wonderful thing it would have been, had he chosen to do the right and honorable thing and stood up for the truth in the wake of an unfounded slur about his opponent's ethnic background. But I have long held the view that "honor" is merely a buzzword with McCain, as opposed to a desirable quality worth attaining.

Anyway, just like a case of political herpes, the Birthers will not go away. The other day on MSNBC's "Hardball with Chris Matthews" program, a sarcophagus with a mustache named G. Gordon Liddy (my first reaction was "Is he still alive??") propped himself up in the studio and regurgitated the same old tired accusations, revolving around Obama's Kenyan father. Forget the facts that his MOTHER was an American CITIZEN and he was born in HAWAII, one of the 50 UNITED STATES, Liddy would not back down. When presented with a Certificate of Live Birth for Barack Obama from the state of Hawaii (what they send out when someone requests a birth certificate) Liddy deliberately and stubbornly refused to concede an inch. He even would not budge when Matthews pointed out that literally millions of people - including the Republican governor of Hawaii who has affirmed that Obama was born in his state - would have to be in on a 40-year-long conspiracy and cover-up to conceal Obama's background. And just how likely would that be? But don't take my word for it, you can see the whole delightful exchange here on YouTube:

Obviously there is something very wrong with Liddy. Either he is completely, irretrievably senile or very much over- or under-medicated, and he comes off looking like a sad, baffled old man. Much like John McCain. What he and the Birthers do demonstrate is a complete disregard for evidence and logic, and a single-minded, blind adherence to their absurd beliefs against all odds. Needless to say political discourse in this country is not advanced by this exercise in stubborn futility. Do they seriously believe that Barack could have gotten elected to the Senate without being a citizen, and no one would have discovered it years ago??

I don't expect the Birthers to give up and go away any time soon. After all, nothing is more persistent, more destructive or a bigger waste of time than an idiot who thinks they are smart. Eight years of George W. Bush proved that beyond a shadow of a doubt. But is it too much to hope that someday soon these people will get tired of their Don Quixote-like quest to battle windmills and just move on? Profound stupidity gets really boring after a while, (see Palin, Sarah) and the Birthers are way past their sell-by date.

Update: Ironically, McCain has become one of the few Republican voices who are telling the Birthers that they are full of crap and they should drop their little project to become the Stupidest People On Earth. You can be sure that last year his campaign staffers went through Obama's background with a fine-toothed comb and found absolutely nothing they could use against him.

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