Wednesday, April 27, 2011

UPDATED: Hanging Out With Birther Dead-Enders in the Shallow End of the Gene Pool

Okay, like most of us, I was a bit surprised by this (via Oliver Willis):

This is hilariously sad. It’s dumb that Obama had to go to extraordinary lengths to release his long-form birth certificate, but hilarious because it now shows that the leading presidential candidate of the Republican party has gotten to his position on what is an even now more thoroughly debunked conspiracy theory.

So, that’s that. The President produced the vaunted “long form” birth certificate (.pdf) – the very document that lunatic “birthers,” including erstwhile Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, have been squawking for despite irrefutable evidence that Pres. Obama was, in fact, born a U.S. citizen – along with a copies of the correspondence (.pdf) between the President, his attorneys, and the State of Hawai’i pursuant to which the President requested and the State produced the “long form” birth certificate, all of which, taken together, end any conceivable argument that Pres. Obama was born anywhere other than Honolulu, Hawai’i on August 4, 1961.

In so doing, the President made the following remarks:

Now, normally I would not comment on something like this, because obviously there’s a lot of stuff swirling in the press on at any given day and I’ve got other things to do. But two weeks ago, when the Republican House had put forward a budget that will have huge consequences potentially to the country, and when I gave a speech about my budget and how I felt that we needed to invest in education and infrastructure and making sure that we had a strong safety net for our seniors even as we were closing the deficit, during that entire week the dominant news story wasn’t about these huge, monumental choices that we’re going to have to make as a nation. It was about my birth certificate. And that was true on most of the news outlets that were represented here.

And so I just want to make a larger point here. We’ve got some enormous challenges out there. There are a lot of folks out there who are still looking for work. Everybody is still suffering under high gas prices. We’re going to have to make a series of very difficult decisions about how we invest in our future but also get a hold of our deficit and our debt -- how do we do that in a balanced way.

But we’re not going to be able to do it if we are distracted. We’re not going to be able to do it if we spend time vilifying each other. We’re not going to be able to do it if we just make stuff up and pretend that facts are not facts. We’re not going to be able to solve our problems if we get distracted by sideshows and carnival barkers.

Whoa. That’s what you call hitting the damn nail on the damn head.

This issue has been a huge, obscene distraction from the real issues of the day, and the media, more than anyone else – let me repeat that: THE MEDIA, MORE THAN ANYONE ELSE – deserve most of the blame for pushing this absurdly racist meme day after day, treating it as though it deserved any shred of respect at all despite the clear, convincing, credible evidence that the birther position was utter rot.

So, anyway, after hearing about the President’s remarks, I have to confess I had a bit of fun with the phrase “carnival barkers.” See, I spent the day with one of my kids who was home sick from school, and, being at home all day, I also spent a fair amount of time on Twitter – which is pretty much the shallow end of the digital gene pool at times like these – and so I couldn’t resist looking up those last few birther dead-enders, the recalcitrant and transparently racist few who insist, despite all evidence to the contrary, that the President still hasn’t proved he was born in the United States even though he produced the very document they’ve been demanding all along.

And, well, as much fun as shooting fish in barrels generally is, I can only say: Wow.

If you really want to wallow in Dr. Strangelove-fluoride-in-the-water-level paranoia, check out the Twitter stream of one Greg Howard (@GregWHoward), a self-proclaimed (ahem) “Patriot bull charging through the china shop of party politics, shattering the lies.” Mr. Howard is quite sure that he’s debunked the President’s latest birth certificate scam:

@Hwk765 Yeah, I know. The main issue is that the M is in elite in the date and time and in pica the rest of the document.

Oh, but wait. There’s more:

The letter K on a manual typewriter is also a strong finger, and it appears weak several times. #tcot #p2 #ocra


On a manual typewriter, the letter N is prominent because that's a strong finger, but it appears weak several times #tcot #p2 #ocra

Thank God for the brave manual typewriter engineers in the birther movement, right? Otherwise we’d never know about the conspicuous “Ms” and “Ks” and “Ns” – “Ns,” people! – that are the tell-tale signs of presidential fraud. Sigh.

But the thing is, as much fun as it is to mock and ridicule the eminently mock- and ridicule-able, and while we should treat these ignoramuses with exactly the contempt they deserve, there’s a very serious issue underlying all of it. Any number of better writers than I have addressed it, from Melissa Harris-Perry at The Nation to Zerlina Maxwell at The Loop 21, but I think this video from brilliant comic and social commentator Baratunde Thurston really says it all:

The bottom line: Today, conservative white Americans successfully stopped an African American male – an African American male who happens to be the President of the United States – and demanded that he produce identification sufficient to satisfy them. Even though he’d already produced documentation sufficient to satisfy any rational, non-racist person on the planet. These racist goons demanded that our first African American president show his papers.

Which proves that our President – Barack Hussein Obama II – is, in fact, far more American than his luanatic birther detractors. But that’s small consolation to the tens of millions of African Americans who had to witness the indignity of it all. For that, I’m genuinely sorry.

UPDATE: You must read my friend John V. Moore’s latest post at Windy City Watch, “Hey, America, I’m Sick and Tired of African American Men Not Being Good Enough for You.” It’s a powerful, moving and personal story of how this birther madness affects our fellow Americans who happen to be of African descent. I’m proud to call John a friend of mine. Well done, sir. Very well done.

© 2011 David P. von Ebers. All rights reserved.


  1. Enjoyed your take on this. I never would have known about those shocking Ms, Ks, and Ns! What a sad, pathetic group. Even sadder, these people have most likely reproduced.

  2. So painfully, tragi-comi-tragically true.

    Thank you especially for this: "These racist goons demanded that our first African American president show his papers.... small consolation to the tens of millions of African Americans who had to witness the indignity of it all. For that, I’m genuinely sorry."

    Me, too, brother.

  3. Thank you both! I really appreciate the kind words.

  4. I was listening to the press conference on the radio, and when he said, "sideshows and carnival barkers," I would have stood up and cheered except that I was driving a car. It is a disgrace to all of us that these goons were allowed to bring the situation to this point.

  5. Great piece! I think you really got it right...where so many others are STILL getting it wrong. Very Sad moment in history for us ALL!