Birtherism: When No Evidence Will Do

birthersThe Birthers

The first encounter I had with what is now commonly known as a “birther” was right after the 2008 election. It was with one of my family members:

“Obama wasn’t even born in this country,” she-who-will-remain-nameless proclaimed.

“No, you’ve got it mixed up. McCain wasn’t born in this country,” I said. “He was born in Panama, but it was a US territory at the time.”

“No it’s Obama. He was born in Hawaii and Hawaii wasn’t a state yet.”

“Hawaii became a state in 1959,” I busted out with some grade school civics class knowledge.

And then, there it was, the thing birthers have come to be known for: My name-withheld family member then sighed and muttered, “Well, I don’t know.”

“No, you do know. Because I just told you.” I thought but didn’t dare yap aloud. “Hawaii was a state in 1959 and Barack Hussein Obama was born in 1961. He just won the election by the biggest margin since Ronald Reagan and he’s going to be the first half African-American president of the United States.”

“Well, I don’t know,” she continued, sure of herself. Then she switched tactics, “He won’t show anybody his birth certificate.”

“I’ve seen it online,” I said.

“Well, I don’t know. It’s suspicious. Don’t you think it’s suspicious? He won’t show anybody his birth certificate.”

“But he does. He has. I’ve seen it. Online.”

“Well, I don’t know. I think he should show it. It’s interesting though, huh?”

No. No it’s not interesting. There’s nothing interesting. There are questions. Here are answers. Refusing said answers, doesn’t mean there are still questions. Furthermore, refusing other answers and holding tight to doubt then blaming the proof-provider for not being forthcoming does not equal “interesting.”

“Well, I don’t know.”

Now it’s taken on a whole witch trial vibe. Very Malleus Maleficarum (1486’s best-seller “The Hammer Against Witches”). The first YouTube clip of this was of a woman showing up to Rep. Mike Castle’s town hall in Delaware bleating Obama, according to her, is a citizen of Kenya. That means it’s to prove a negative. Their evidence is their own suspicion and the only acceptable defense is Obama stepping down as president.

“‘Barack Obama is a citizen of the United States. Why not release your birth certificate?’ What is the big deal with saying that?” asked CNN’s “give us your huddled masses” opponent Lou Dobbs on the July 28 edition of his radio show last year.

What’s the big deal with saying that? What’s wrong with saying that is the simple fact Obama HAS released his birth certificate. That’s what’s wrong with saying it. It’s like saying there were WMD’s in Iraq. It’s not true. It’s been proven to be untrue. So what’s wrong with saying that is – it’s wrong.

But birthers don’t want proof of what they don’t believe. They want to hold onto doubt regardless of evidence.

It’s like drawing a saddle on a dinosaur. It doesn’t make it accurate. It just shows one’s convictions trumping overwhelming evidence. The birthers position is like asserting the earth is flat because when they flew around it they had their eyes closed.

Being a birther should disqualify you from serving on a jury let alone in Congress. But, Bill Posey, a freshman Representative from Florida, told the Orlando Sentinel he couldn’t swear on a stack of bibles whether Obama is or isn’t an American. He and other Republican Congress people have been playing up the “non-denial denial” of this fiction. So willful ignorance on the part of the accusers is now giving the story more legs.

tina dupuyThe origin hysteria of this is the holdover from the “love it or leave it” and “these colors don’t run” crowd (my family). Their unflinching jingoism is now misplaced since there is a funny-named dark skinned guy in the White House. Everything American is good. We don’t like Barack Obama. Therefore he must not be American.

Which could be progress since those of African descent in America were once not considered human.

But still, spiteful denial is what passes for healthy skepticism?

Well, I don’t know.

Tina Dupuy

Reposted with permission.


  1. paul hsu says

    Hawaii had extremely lax requirements for issuing birth certificates when Obama was an infant. A hospital and a doctor signing as a witness ( since he claims he was born in a hospital ) are not unreasonable requests considering his parents were not in the US for a large part of their lives. A newspaper announcement is NOT a legal record and disclosed that they just printed what ANYONE called up and reported.

    On top of all of this is Obama himself who has written things like this:

    Plus he refuses to release ANYTHING to the public to dispel these discrepancies – including his college records ( that MANY people speculate is because he entered as a foreign exchange student.

    Sorry but this issue is FAR from all cleared up – evidenced also by polling of the American people, despite condecending and dismissive writers such as the brainless leftist kool aid drinker Tina Dupuy.

  2. Joshua says

    “Being a birther should disqualify you from serving on a jury let alone in Congress.”

    How about being a 9/11 “Truther”? Would you extend that same prohibition to the kooks on the Left or do the Kooks on the Right get special treatment?

    Your overall point is true though. I am a tea party supporter and WILL be voting against anything with a “D” after it’s name, BUT the Birther argument is absurd (as absurd as the “truther” argument). Even IF it were true (not even hinting that it may) , at this point it would destructive to pursue the issue.

    Here’s my question, what if undeniable evidence surfaced tommorrow that the crazed “Birthers” were right (it won’t), would it make difference to you?

  3. marie says

    Great the way you exposed the tricks of the human-mind.
    Yes, in general we believe what we want to believe and “hear” what we want to hear.
    A nice voice, a pleasant looking guy with some comic trades can drip poison in our minds. Often we don’t realize how polluted our mind has become with halve truths and myths from all the propaganda. Since politics have been made so complicated it takes real effort to explore and study the different sides of any proposal or decision.
    Most people don’t take the time for that and at voting time, kind of bewildered by all those pro and anti messages, punch the hole that “seems” the least dangerous.
    For all those who plan to stay home and withdraw from voting about this messy business: If you are not willing to do your tiny little share, you have no right to complain anymore if things are getting worse.
    Come on and make at least the effort to play the Game. There is always the chance that we win and things improve. Staying home is giving up. That’s for weaklings.

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