The following comments, now updated a bit, were first submitted by email at the end of April. They were promptly lost (raptured into the ether?) and I was asked to resubmit or write about something else. But before I could decide, President Obama gleefully served up the pandering Donald’s pampered posterior on a platter at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. The next day he presided over the execution of Osama Bin Laden.
Those two things alone should have caused the birther movement to wither and die of embarrassment. Clearly it has not. Since then, we have been regaled with complaints that Obama does not pray enough, that a letter from an on-the-border Texas chiropractor is the definitive “Gotcha!” proof of impeachable fraud, and today, the latest great white hope, a document forensics “expert” by the name of Douglas Vogt was trotted out to do battle with abomination Obama.
Let’s spend a few minutes with Mr. Vogt (bit.ly/k7zqfM) before moving on to my original submission. Not only does he run a company that sells scanners and scanner software (hence his alleged expertise), he also runs the Vector Associates book publishing company which just happens to feature some of his very own writing. “Reality Revealed” is about The Theory of Multidimensional Reality (“explains many of the hardest phenomena in the Universe such as: the causes of the ice ages, polar reversals, mass extinctions, gravity, light, pyramid energy, kirlian photography, psychic phenomena, and more”).
Vogt’s “Gravitational Mystery Spots Of The United States” explains “why people and objects get smaller as they approach the center of these vortexes.” And in his latest work, “God’s Day of Judgment The Real Cause of Global Warming,” Vogt apparently proves that there is a “very high probability the next polar reversal will happen between September and December 2046. He found the exact date encoded in the Torah.”
It’s official. We know now that there is nothing that will ever appease the nutters who desperately hate our President. Frenzied conspiracy theories have always thrived in the fertile imaginations of America’s fringy shadowlands, those dark, squishy places just beyond the edge of sanity. But in this topsy-turvy silly season, with abject nonsense cropping up all around us, no idea is too wacky to be denied its parade in the sunlight. Take, for example, the loony birther movement (please!).
Masqueraded behind whitewashed facades and relentlessly peddled and preached by high-profile provocateurs, the birther movement has morphed into mainstream religious dogma in the high holy church of right-wing orthodoxy. What began as a quirky farce malingering on the sidelines of rational thought has grown steadily into a national distraction, a political storm that will not blow itself out. According to a PPP poll in February, half of all Republicans are now true believers, convinced that Barack Hussein Obama is a secret African Muslim Communist space-alien (politi.co/egPnQ1).
Wrath hath no fury like a birther scorned, although a scorned teabagger comes pretty darn close… In a culture where celebrity trumps reason, the holiest relic in the birthers’ blind faith has long been the “missing” birth certificate. But even after the infamous document was proffered (by him whose own birth was thusly certified, no less), the inanity and the insanity and the white-hot hatred against our dusky President still shows no signs of abating. Birthers are now pretending the long-form certificate was never an issue in the first place, or that it, too, is somehow fraudulent.
Some, with a dismissive shrug and a quick pivot, have already moved on to other, equally improbable and odious argumenta ad hominem, suggesting that Obama’s father was a “slippery character” (huff.to/kyTPrn). And self-anointed birther leader Donald Trump, that pompous poster-child for terminal narcissism, with his puckered lips and bizarro glory-crown of gravity-defying wisps of waxy hirsutia, is now harrumphing loudly about Obama’s distinguished college career.
No matter that our President graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School (and was an editor and later the first black president of the Harvard Law Review), or that he taught constitutional law for twelve years at the University of Chicago. The gilded Donald insists on insinuating that there must be something sinister afoot. How else to explain peasant Obama’s encroachment upon the hallowed halls of a higher education reserved for the privileged classes?
And then there’s darling Sarah Palin (isn’t she just precious?)…
With the help of her fair and balanced handlers, darling Sarah appeared on Greta Van Susteren’s show in April, to coyly suggest that “Bill Ayers or whomever” wrote Barack Obama’s two bestsellers (bit.ly/frqvky). Wow, two slurs with one lobbed softball! Not only did the lovely ex-governor connect our President with one of the right-wing’s favorite, perennial bogeymen, she managed to throw down a character assassination kill-shot by rhetorically questioning whether Obama is really intelligent or industrious enough to possibly write anything on his own.
Pretty fancy trick shooting, you betchya, for a daffy dame who just explained the famous midnight ride of Paul Revere thusly: “He who warned the British that they weren’t going to be taking away our arms by ringing those bells and making sure as he’s riding his horse through town to send those warning shots and bells that we were going to be secure and we were going to be free” (bit.ly/jML3N8).
Like the fast-growing Southern weed kudzu (look for the union label: it was made in preoccupied Japan), an irrational hatred is spreading across an increasingly unfamiliar American landscape. From Texas to Wisconsin, from Orange County to Manhattan, we have abandoned compassion for “huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” That sentimental foolishness was apparently a luxury we can no longer afford in these austere times. Instead, we have embraced a much cheaper, spittle-flying, unhinged rage against the President.
Why? Is it a lingering, post-911 paranoia about boogedy-boogedy heathens (ohmygawd, he’s a Mooslim!)? Perhaps there is something more ancient and much more vulgar at play here, generations older than the new fascism now being stoked and stroked by the grandiose old party’s busy propagandists. Are we in the midst of a national outbreak of old-fashioned Old South prejudice, a pandemic of seething, barely-latent racism that will never, ever accept a black man in the White House?
Or is it more complicated than that? Are we fearful that the President is not Christian enough, that he threatens to somehow sully the imagined purity of our once-exceptional purpled majesties? Or do we hate Barack Hussein Obama most of all because he is the anti-Dubya, because he reminds us that we readily exchanged our best human impulses for crusader dreams of American empire, heartily worshipped false idols in the name of patriotism, and wrongly invested our hopes and emotions in small-minded, flag-wrapped, born-again frat-boys who promised us so much but delivered nothing but economic misery and endless wars?
– Monsieur d’Nalgar