Monday, July 27, 2009

The clear insanity of the "birther" movement explained

I have been puzzled by the vehemence, energy and clear insanity that is represented by the "Birther" movement. Surely no sane person actually believes that in spite of all the evidence, including a certified birth certificate provided by the state of Hawaii and vouched for by them, along with original newspaper records from the time of Barack Obama's birth in Hawaii stating that he was born there, no one sane can really believe that Barack Obama was somehow born outside the United States. But there is a clear audience for those lies and strange made-up stories, and there are a number of politicians and political advocates happy to encourage the true-believers with propaganda, words and irrational emotions.

But why are the core true believers so dead set in believing that Barack Obama was not born an American citizen?

Josh Marshall has presented an explanation for this puzzle that I find satisfying.
Others have said this. But the best way to understand the 'birther' craze is as a proxy for people who don't want to accept a black man with a Arabic-derived first name as President of the United States. Really as simple as that.
The birthers are true conservatives who cannot get their minds to wrap around the idea that America has elected a Black man whose father was a native African. Instead of accepting the incontrovertible evidence that he was born in Hawaii (a state in the United States by 1961) they'd rather be lied to.

The propaganda experts who are milking those frightened people are playing their fancy word games in the media and stoking their belief that the truth - Barack Hussein Obama is the legitimately elected, inaugurated, and functioning President of the United States - is instead a lie.

I can see what Rush Limbaugh gets out of it. He is a Fascist and exists to pump fear and anger in those elements of the public who he caters to. Sen. Inhofe has built a political career in Oklahoma and in the U.S. Senate with similar tactics, but a more subtle approach than Limbaugh's flat screaming lies.

But what the devil is the matter with CNN's Lou Dobbs? Senility? Desperation for ratings? Or is he somehow living in a bubble and suffering from some strange group-think? Or does he have an adviser who is steering him very badly wrong? Whatever it is, he has destroyed his own credibility and pretty much guaranteed that his career has peaked at its present job. However long that remains.

So essentially Josh Marshall has provided a satisfactory explanation for what was bothering me about the strange "birther" movement. All that remains now is to try to understand the individual motivations of the public players involved.

It is rather frightening to realize how many utter crazies there are out there, and worse, how many predators there are preying on them and who are making it clear that they want to prey on all of us. Extremist politics is alive and well and very dangerous.

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