“Birthers” and JFKniks Are Beyond the Pale of Argument

I don’t consider the so-called “Birthers”–those who question whether Obama is actually an American citizen–to be any kind of threat to democracy, the country, or Obama’s administration. The fringiest of the fringe, they’re a freak show, a five-legged cow on the midway of American culture.  We’ve always had and will always have our wackos.

But that question I’ve posed about Alpha-Male Idiots like Spitzer, Sanford and others begs to be asked here: What are they thinking?  Set aside those in the “movement” who may just be using this absurd charge  as a stick to beat Obama. What about the ones who genuinely believe that the President of the United States was never a real citizen, and therefore occupies the office illegally and in defiance of the Constitution?

Driving an unusual amount this summer, I’ve filled some of the time with books on CD, including the massive Reclaiming History by famed prosecutor Vince Bugliosi, the last word on the Kennedy Assassination. Bugliosi  dissects each of the conspiracy claims  and shows, for anyone who can be convinced, that all of them are bogus.  But he knows that his work will not convince the most fervent Grassy Knollologists, because they have a bizarre ability to take any inconvenient fact or bit of evidence and turn it to their own purposes. And if you have that conspiratorial mindset, that maniacal suspicion, you believe that the Dark Powers in the shadows are capable of anything.

It must be the same with the real Birthers. For them, the vast conspiracy that set about decades ago to elevate Barack Obama, foreign pawn,  to the Presidency can do anything. Just as with the JFK crowd, the conspiracy is capable of engineering this plot and somehow keeping it all secret forever. For them, the very absence of evidence is evidence.


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