This post began a Facebook comment in response to this:
Explain to me how this Birther nonsense is allowed to perpetuate? I don’t give a shit if Obama’s father was from Timbuktu — he was born in Hawaii. Kansas, kindly secede.
Which was a comment in response to this article: “State panel wants more information before ruling on Obama’s ballot eligibility“.
Since my 3 sentence comment suddenly turned into this 2100+ word diatribe against Birthers & general right wing extremist idiocy, I decided to publish it as a blog post instead. I can’t let myself bogart someone else’s comment thread like that.
This nonsense persists in the world of the right wing because facts are completely irrelevant. Those clinging to the notion that the “scary black dude is really a Muslim Kenyan sent to destroy democracy” belong to the same club of unconscionably ignorant dolts who believe fossils were planted on Earth by “Satan” to test people’s faith in “God”.
Facts, evidence, proof, science… spelling, grammar, punctuation, word definitions & pronounciation – none of it matters. They’ve made up their minds – logic & reason play no part in their decision-making process. “Jesus loves me. Oh, yes he does. For the Bible tells me so. La, la, la… I’m not listening to you. So there!” Everyone is entitled to their own set of beliefs, but not their own set of facts.
Barack Obama was born in Hawaii. Climate change is happening & human beings DO have an impact on it. Evolution is real. Carbon dating is not a liberal conspiracy. And, while we’re on the subject – history, facts in general, science, technology, data gathering methods, statistics, etc. are not a part of some universal Satanic plot to turn people into god-less, tree-hugging, pinko liberals. No matter how much some WANT or CHOOSE not to believe them, facts are facts.
Now, back to the issue at hand: if not for the racism many like to pretend doesn’t exist – a claim made by those who either don’t understand or refuse to admit that the fear stoked by the right is actually motivated by subconscious racism, this story would never have been a story. And the term “birther” would not have become a pop culture synonym for “imbecile”.For them, the gears of the left wing conspiracy machine behind this covert Muslim Manchurian Candidate began grinding decades ago.
The existence of birth announcements from both major Hawaiian newspapers printed in August of 1961 is just more proof of how long ago this plot to destroy America was hatched.
Not only that, it’s proof that the 2008 election was the culmination of a more than 4 decades long collusion by the forces of evil to strategically infect America with Sharia Law, Socialism, Communism, Fascism, [enter your own dumbass-ism here], et al.
I mean, stop & think about it… if you were going fix a presidential election set to occur more than 40 years in the future, wouldn’t you choose a half-white, half-black newborn named BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA? I mean, sure… he’ll also have to leap the proverbial hurdle of being first ever black President of the United States. But they wouldn’t have thought that a problem – especially in the UTOPIA OF RACIAL EQUALITY KNOWN AS 1961! The odds of that master plan going off without a hitch were pretty good from the get-go, don’t ‘cha think? Best. Conspiracy. Ever.
Side note: I’m hatching a plan to fix the 2056 election. Sooo… if anyone happens to know of a woman who’s pregnant with twins – one of whom was fathered by Osama Bin Laden & the other by Saddam Hussein, let me know. I’ve got a too-good-to-pass-up proposition for her.
No wonder Donald Trump just couldn’t let it go & felt compelled to hire a team of investigators to prove Barack Obama is actually a super-secret Islamic Theocrat. I wonder what his crack investigative team found. Oh, wait… that’s right – NOTHING. THEY FOUND NOTHING. If someone desperate to find evidence to confirm his own beliefs and literally limitless financial resources can’t find “the proof”, you’d think that’d be enough to convince ANYONE still clinging to such delusions. Still, the STATE OF KANSAS isn’t convinced. REALLY?!? Goodbye, Kansas. You’re dismissed.While the wingnuts continue to cling to their baseless conspiracy theories, Barack Obama’s “non-Americanness” simply isn’t plausible in the minds of reasonable, rational, thinking people. But we must remember one thing: Birthers are not reasonable, rational, nor thinking people. These are people who believe the aforementioned “-isms” are synonymous and couldn’t define the word “fearmonger” if their lives depended on it.
Where Does This Particular Strain of Crazy Come From?
The Romney campaign’s “Welfare Reform” ad is a perfect example of propaganda’s inherent ability to stoke subconscious racism while being subtle enough to fly under the radar of non-racists. Despite the fact that the Obama Administration has actually INCREASED the welfare-to-work requirements by 20% for those states – including states with REPUBLICAN GOVERNORS – who specifically REQUESTED MORE FLEXIBILITY in distributing welfare program dollars, there are still people who believe President Obama has eliminated the Clinton-era “welfare-to-work” requirement entirely.
EVERY WORD of that ad is a lie. From beginning to end. Now, I’m no fan of President Obama. Plenty of his policies are deserving of criticism – NDAA, failing to close Guantanamo Bay, refusing to prosecute war criminals for Geneva Convention violations, instituting an unmanned drone program, negotiating TAFTA and appointing a former Monsanto CEO to run the FDA & a Wall Street shill as Treasury Secretary, just to name a few.
However, facts are facts. And the video below, despite having been created by the Obama campaign, is FACTUAL:
Damn those facts and their dreaded liberal bias. And damn that CNN & other mainstream news sources for reporting them. For the extremist right wing conveyor belt of nonsense that is the modern GOP, Neil Newhouse said it best, “We won’t be dictated by facts.” And why should they? The Romney campaign’s “Welfare Reform” ad is taken at face value by those desperate for a tangible reason to hate President Obama, with no consideration for the truth and no attempt whatsoever to vet its accuracy.
The Romney campaign’s “Welfare Reform” ad – despite being a provable and purposeful LIE – triggers an immediate, emotional, reductio ad absurdum reaction from those with an otherwise inexplicable fear of President Obama. The people the Romney campaign is targeting aren’t N-word dropping racists. I know these people. I love these people. They are members of my family. And not one of them understands the grave threat this subconscious, seemingly non-malicious type of racism poses to their ability to form a rational opinion of President Obama based solely on the facts.
Their fear & their suspicion of Barack Obama manifests itself as a mental image of Pennsylvania Avenue morphing into South Central Los Angeles. That is, after all, where all those supposed “Welfare Queens” living high on the hog on the government dole by turning their vaginas into clown cars live… twisting their ankles running to the mailbox to collect their tens-of-thousands of dollars a month in welfare checks that require them to do no work at all.
And YOU get a check!!
And YOU, and YOU, and YOU get a check!!!”
The Romney campaign is willfully and purposefully squeezing that psychological trigger, hoping to play on the fears of middle class, white Americans unable or unwilling to recognize their own xenophobia. Like Barack Obama’s indisputable status as an American citizen, that willful and purposeful strategy on the part of the Romney campaign IS A FACT.
The Monumental Hypocrisy Is Everywhere
Wait… I thought raising kids & maintaining a household WAS work. Now I’m confused. Is being a stay-at-home mom only work if Ann Romney or some other rich white woman does it? Maybe motherhood is easier for those women who are SOLELY responsible for their entire household, especially if she’s forced to spend 8-16 hours a day outside the house working 3 different $6.00 an hour jobs just to keep the heat from being turned off.I seem to remember a ginned up pseudo-controversy over Hilary Rosen’s comment that Ann Romney has, “…actually never worked a day in her life.” Within 37 seconds of that comment hitting the airwaves, Ann Romney was the 1%’s answer to “Rosie The Riveter”, having worked her fingers to the bone… thanklessly and hopelessly devoting herself to raising her children & keeping all of the Romney Estates running smoothly 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
But maybe families on welfare really do have it easy. Maybe the Romney campaign is right. Maybe Ann Romney really has had a measurably more difficult life as the wife of an uber-wealthy vulture capitalist with multiple maids & nannies than a single mother whose choice to have kids or not have kids wasn’t even her own.
I must be the crazy one to think that forcing women to have children they don’t have the emotional or financial resources to care for while simultaneously eliminating every single social program developed to help them raise those children is wrong. Maybe I’m crazy to think that if a government is going to force women to give birth, that government must then assume SOME responsibility for meeting that tiny human being’s basic survival needs – like food and shelter. Yep… it must be me. I must be the crazy one. But I digress.
The Endless Knot EffectI bet you’re saying to yourself, “I thought this post was about Birthers, Alysson? How could you go so far off topic? And why the hell am I still reading this?”
Don’t be so hard on yourself. There’s a method to my madness, and if you’ve read this far, you deserve an answer to those three questions. There’s just one answer. And it’s simple: like an Endless Knot, it’s all connected.
The mind that can’t recognize the unimaginable hypocrisy of forcing women to have children they don’t have the means to care for while simultaneously eliminating the programs in place to help them is the same illogical, unreasonable mind that continues to believe Barack Obama isn’t an American, but a covert Muslim terrorist sent here to steal your children’s futures by redistributing the wealth of “successful people” to the lazy, government cheese collecting masses.
Until we come to an agreement that both sides are required to operate within the realm of reality, no progress will ever be made. We no longer live in a nation where both political parties have the best interests of the American people at heart, but disagree about how to go about achieving similar goals. That’s not the nature of politics in the United States today.
We live in a nation where one side of the aisle believes being part of a civilized society carries with it certain social responsibilities… a social contract, if you will, which requires its members to govern with a modicum of compassion & empathy – that includes providing food, shelter & healthcare to our most at-risk citizens.The other would have you believe that using tax dollars for universal healthcare is tantamount to slitting democracy’s throat, but invading other nations & murdering their citizens “for ‘God’ & the cause of democracy” is our patriotic duty.
They believe Sheldon Adelson has earned the right to spend 100 million dollars to overrule the will of the American people… just so he’ll receive a 2.3 BILLION dollar tax cut. And they believe that doing so is somehow a celebration of our capitalist, free market system and an inspiring anecdote about the success of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling. They still believe this country is the standard by which all modern governments should be measured.
Guess what… we’re not. And we haven’t been for decades. Our house of cards is falling… and far too many Americans are busy smashing beer cans on their foreheads while chanting, “USA! USA!!” to notice.
It’s nonsense. It’s all nonsense. Pure & simple. But if the Romney campaign and the Donald Trumps of the world told the mentally malleable the President was an alien from another planet, a shockingly significant percentage of those longing for a reason to hate Barack Obama, aside from the racism they like to pretend doesn’t exist, would believe it. After all, 1 in 7 conservatives in Ohio believe Mitt Romney is responsible for Osama bin Laden’s death.
That’s a LOT of idiots…