Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I Can't Believe I Said This

Conspiracy theories know no political boundaries. The assassinations of President Lincoln and Kennedy and the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks are replete with theories still being debated today. But, the current so-called "birther" flap over President Obama boggles rationality. And, therein rests the problem with all conspiracy theorists: They won't accept factual documentation.

In Obama's case, the wingnuts from the right led by its more vociferous superstars in G. Gordon Liddy, Lou Dobbs and Rush Limbaugh maintain Obama is a foreigner and his Hawaiian birth certificate he posted on his website during the presidential campaign is a fraud.

All I know is that reputable news reporters and the Hawaii public health officials say his birth certificate is legit. Any number of law suits filed in our court system to produce an Obama birth certificate have been dismissed as frivolous.

At issue in Obama's case is the constitutional requirement a president must be native born and age 35. The birthers failed to gain much traction during the presidential campaign but have raised their heads in recent weeks.

Dobbs, for one, on his radio show cited the case of reserve Army Maj. Stefan Cook refusing to be voluntarily deployed to Afghanistan because the commander in chief wasn't born in the U.S. Overlooked was the suspicion Cook was duped by his attorney, Orly Taitz, an Orange County (Calif.) attorney whose mission in life is to prove Obama isn't one of us.

Then, there is the ever-popular YouTube video showing Republican Rep. Mike Castle of Delaware at a town hall meeting this month interrupted as a woman, rooted on by a boisterous crowd, angrily demanded to know why nothing was being done to oust the "citizen of Kenya" pretending to be president.

But, my call to action on this subject came while watching MSNBC's Chris Matthews Show Tuesday while interviewing Rep. John Campbell (R-Calif.), co-sponsor of a bill now in the House that would require presidential candidates to produce valid birth certificates before taking office. The bill was introduced by Rep. Bill Posey (R-Fla.) who now boasts nine co-sponsors, all Republicans.

Matthews claimed the bill was nothing more than an enabler for the right-wing conspiracy theorists. Campbell remained a good sport during the interview and despite shouts and interruptions by Matthews did manage to explain his position. I listened and found Campbell's logic compelling.

It reminded me of an email exchange I had with my brother and his wife during the presidential campaign. They are the only conservatives in my family and sent me all sorts of stories culled from the Internet that claimed Obama was a foreigner, most likely born in either Indonesia or Kenya, with no documentation to support their claims. I said not to worry. He constitutionally must submit a birth certificate, most likely to officials before he is sworn into office.

I was wrong. I think. No where in the process can I find for certain it was required. If so, someone certainly is remaining quiet.

At any rate, I started thinking. The state and federal bureaucracies demand I show a birth certificate to qualify for public school, Little League, Pop Warner Football, all of the military services, Medicare, Medicaid and federal housing assistance among a few. No where in the U.S. Constitution does it say that's mandatory as it does for a President of the United States.

Go figure. For that reason, I believe Rep. Posey's bill is not a crackpot measure and I would support it. I can't believe I'm saying this. Strange, but true.

Uh, one caveat. I would add an amendment to the bill. Those who still claim the birth certificate provided by a president is fraudulent would face a firing squad at sunrise.

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