Of Truthers and Birthers

Endemic distrust of government is a danger sign.

One of the more interesting aspects of living in a country which enjoys freedom of speech is that people actually use it.  It's all too easy to love freedom of speech in the abstract but when you hear somebody spouting rubbish, to say "Well, of course freedom of speech shouldn't apply to them.  They're fools!"

Yet over time, fools can make monkeys of the wisest men.

Ever since 9/12/2001, there has been a set of mental defectives who argued that the attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center were a classic Big Lie.  Acts of murder and hatred by 19 Arabs mostly named Mohammed?  No!  The Pentagon was really hit by a missile; the WTC attacks were sponsored by the CIA; Dick Cheney wanted us to panic so he could rule as dictator.

Be sure not to forget that all those horrible Jooooos who commit all the evil in the world were warned in advance to stay home on the Big Day as the BATF staff were warned to stay away from the Oklahoma City bombing.

Enter the "9-11 Truthers"

Idiocy like this is impervious to truth.  It doesn't matter that 130 Israeli nationals and an untold number of Jews of other nations died in the Twin Towers.  It doesn't matter that there are dozens of eyewitnesses who personally observed an American Airlines jet crash into the Pentagon and several security videotapes showing the same thing; these facts only prove how clever the conspirators really are.

It doesn't matter that Dick Cheney has retired to Wyoming; presumably he's still puppetmastering everything - the ongoing desire of Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate and indict him for torture is all part of a crafty diversion.  Any person who is so disconnected from reality as to believe that our government has the competence to pull off and then conceal such an attack, much less the desire to do so, is beyond help.

George W. Bush never so much as dignified the "9-11 Truthers" with a response any more than he responded to Weekly World News' reports of his meetings with extraterrestrial ambassadors.  Alas, this did not discourage the conspiracy kooks; as recently as 2007, Rasmussen polls found that 35% of Democrats and 22% of all voters believed that Bush knew about 9-11 in advance and did nothing about it.  What's more, 29%, nearly a third of all voters, believe that the CIA knew and helped Mr. Bush do nothing about it.

Numbers like these, regardless of their kookiness, can't help but affect the polls.  If nearly one quarter of the electorate believes the President intentionally murdered 3,000 Americans including quite a few of his own soldiers, is it any wonder that Republicans struggled at the polls?

You can't blame this on liberal media; with rare exceptions, they treated the Truthers with the incredulity and scorn they deserve.  But a lie, repeated often enough and loudly enough, becomes true - or at least, becomes true to enough people to make a difference.  That's why Rev. Wright's accusations that the CIA invented AIDS to kill black people are so dangerous - his fulminations persuade significant numbers of blacks that they can't trust government officials, not even much-decorated policemen.

Now the Obama Birthers

Which brings us to the Obama Birthers.  Mr. Obama's defenders try to categorize anyone wondering about Barack Obama's birth certificate as a far-right loon, but the first questions about Mr. Obama's parentage and citizenship were raised by Hillary supporters.  Even after Mr. Obama won the nomination, quite a few far-left feminists continued to beat the "Obama is no American" drum, ending up as strange bedfellows with conservatives who feel the same way for different reasons.

It's no surprise that the media are even more dismissive of Birthers than they are of Truthers, but the evidence is more equivocal than you'd think.  While there are dozens of witnesses and several videotapes of planes crashing into buildings, we don't even know what doctor delivered baby Barack; the one recorded testimonial, his aunt, supposedly said she witnessed his birth in Kenya.  She speaks only Swahili and we don't, so we haven't a clue what she really said.  Not having persuasively conclusive facts to hand, we can't take a position.

We've all seen images of a real-looking Hawaii birth certificate, but that claims only to be a modern computer printout, not an original document from four decades past.  As Dan Rather can testify, computer printouts saying pretty much anything you'd like aren't hard to obtain.

Hawaii officials have gone on record stating that this printout accurately reflects the official records on file in the archives, but Hawaii's laws provide for several ways that this statement could be perfectly true and all actions taken legally, and yet Obama still have been born outside the US.

Is Barack Hussein Obama truly not a natural-born American citizen?  Who knows?  We'll never know for sure now - as President, he could have any documents forged if he so wished, create any number of witnesses, or dispatch any inconvenient truth-tellers.  Which is not to say that he has; just that he unquestionably could, so it's too late to prove the truth beyond all shadow of doubt.

Is the truth relevant, in practical legal terms?  Not really.  What court would dare to try to throw him out of office and what federal marshal would attempt to enforce the ruling?  The matter was decided at the ballot box as well as it will ever be.

That doesn't mean the cause of the Birthers is irrelevant, however.  Every American has had to show their original birth certificate on any number of occasions - to enter school, to get a drivers license, when applying for a passport - so it seems increasingly strange to ordinary people that Mr. Obama flatly refuses to and that the State of Hawaii has put a special seal on his documents.

The more every opinion-maker declares the question absurd, the more solid the accusations seem.  Considering that confidence in the ethics and honesty of media and politicians are at an all-time low, more and more Americans are coming to believe that there really is a cover-up of some kind.

No, the ongoing and perennial question of Barack Obama's birth certificate will never be a headline issue, will never be considered by the Supreme Court, and will never result in a landmark legal ruling.  Its influence will be much less visible but potentially even more powerful.

Just as the Bush presidency was destroyed in the end by a growing number of people who decided that they flat-out didn't believe one single word he ever said, regardless of what the evidence indicated, so Mr. Obama may find himself up the same one-way, dead-end road of zero credibility.

Lies and Lying Liars... but Whose?

Having had two if not three presidents in a row, of opposite parties, whom half the country thinks are totally untrustworthy liars... well, we really have to wonder where we'll find someone to believe.  America desperately needs a leader whom we can all respect even when we disagree.

Who will don the Mantle of Reagan?  Do we even know where to look anymore?

Petrarch is a contributing editor for Scragged.  Read other Scragged.com articles by Petrarch or other articles on Politics.
Reader Comments
I no longer believe in the Obama/birth certificate conspiracy. I followed it for awhile, but I now believe there is overwhelming evidence that he was born in Hawaii.

1) The director of Hawaii's State Department of Health gave a press conference a few days ago where he declared unequivocally that he has personally seen and validate Obama's real, original birth certificate.

2) There are now two (2) separate newspapers that have been found in Hawaii that printed Obama's birth announcement on August 13, 1961. The newspapers were The Advertiser and the Honolulu Star-Bulletin.

3) The video that supposedly showed his grandmother saying he was born in Kenya was false. After reexamination the language she used never mentioned that.

There are plenty of other things to be found both in support and against Obama's Hawaii birth, but to me these three are the biggest indicators.

Could all of this have been falsified. Could old newspapers have been fabricated? State officials put their careers on the line to cover up lies? Sure, but it isn't likely.

The theorists pushed and struggled to get the conspiracy into the light of day, which was a good thing, but when it hit the light it fell apart.
July 29, 2009 7:30 AM
I'm skeptical of bitherism, but this is the best argument for it that I've read. I guess it boild down to if he doesn't have to produce one for a job that requires it, why should anyone else have to produce one for anything else? It is, though, as you argue, moot at this point.

As to troothers, I don't know if I can post a link here or not, but here is the best response I've seen to that:
If that doesn't work search YouTube for True News 22: 9/11
July 29, 2009 9:10 AM
How about this scenario? The long form does exist and he is a citizen. But, in his college applications (two colleges), travel visa's etc, he claimed other citizenship. So he digs in his heels on the BC and everyone ignores the college and visa details. Finally he drags out the long form BC, and the birthers are so embarrassed that the other documents are forgotten, and anyone bringing it up is laughed off the air.
July 30, 2009 1:40 PM

First -- "The Mantle of Reagan"? Reagan never lied to the American people? Really?

(Remember Ollie North? Reagan was either a liar or he was incompetent enough to not know what was going on in is own administration. I'll leave it to the readers to decide which is worse.)

Second -- what exactly is the true end goal of the Birthers? Let's say they succeed in proving Obama wasn't born in the USA, and get him impeached and removed from office. Then we have President Joe Biden. This is NOT an improvement, for a variety of reasons. It is as if the Birthers are willing to screw over the nation (or, at least, its fathers and children) if that's what it takes to screw over Obama. Thanks but no thanks, Birthers.

As a man and a father, I was extremely disappointed in Obama's choice of running mate, and have NO desire to see him in the President's chair. I would prefer to see Hillary as President, because Hillary has at least lifted a pinky finger once to help unmarried men who are trying to be decent fathers (rather than throwing them under the bus). She was able to do this because as a woman, she knows that the gender feminists can't really rally successfully against her. See Glen Sacks's comments on his own website. But that's a point for another article.

- Ron ^*^
July 30, 2009 3:57 PM
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