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 political force that cannot be ignored. 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 shows no signs of abating. Even in the harsh light of truth, it refuses to shrivel and die. It never will. Betting that Americans will soon forget, birthers are now pretending the long-form certificate was never an issue in the first place. With a dismissive shrug and a quick pivot, they’ve already moved on to other, equally improbable and odious argumenta ad hominem (huff.to/kyTPrn).
Self-anointed birther leader Donald Trump, that pompous poster-child for terminal narcissism, with his 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 coyly suggested to Greta Van Susteren last week that “Bill Ayers or whomever” wrote Barack Obama’s two bestsellers (bit.ly/frqvky). Wow, two slurs with one 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 couldn’t recall the name of a single newspaper or magazine.
Like the fast-growing Southern weed (look for the union label: it was made in preoccupied Japan), a kudzu of 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