Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Why Are We Still Talking About This?

Usually I can't be bothered to care what happens on the daytime talk shows, but the other night a clip from ABC's The View was Jon Stewart's Moment of Zen and it sent me running to the computer to see the entire clip.

The exchange started when Elizabeth Hasselbeck (who is known to have a discernible right-hand leaning) was telling a story about having to tweet out to her fans for advice on how much the Tooth Fairy is supposed to leave for the teeth she collects. It was a cute story, if that's what you're into, but I felt it went on a bit long.

When at a lull in the story, Joy Behar (who is known for having a discernible left-hand lean) interjected "Did you also try to find out if the tooth fairy has a birth certificate?" It was an obvious gibe at her co-anchor who has expressed pro-Birther sentiments while trying to claim that she herself is not a Birther.

But the most telling comment did not appear as a part of the Moment of Zen. As Ms. Hasselbeck tried to recover from the obvious barb, Whoopie Goldberg (also toward the left-end of the spectrum) interjected "What! Is the Tooth Fairy black‽"

I know that I have heard this before but the point that I feel cannot be overly stressed is that while The Birthers, The TEA Party, and the political right in general say that there is nothing racist about the Birther movement, the fact remains: no other president has ever been treated like this.

What is it about Barack Obama that is making him have to prove repeatedly that he is an American citizen? He has shown his birth certificate, the Hawaiian government has confirmed that his birth certificate is on file, there are an overwhelming plethora of items that can be cited as proof of citizenship. And yet the right rages on.

What is truly humorous is the lame argument they make for believing that it is a legitimate and important debate to be had. While looking for the full clip of the exchange, I came across a clip of Ms. Hasselbeck admitting that she knows the president is a native-born American citizen. In it she poses the question (which I have also heard on Fox news): "There must be something to the controversy. It keeps coming-up in the news."

What‽ Really‽ That is somewhat akin to an arsonist claiming that there must have been something wrong with a building because it burned down! Of course it keeps coming up. The Birthers keep bringing it up. It is a self-perpetuating argument. You cannot claim that something is important because it keeps coming up if you, yourself, are the one who keeps bringing it up. All that proves is that you think it is important. The question is "Why? Why do you think this is so important?"

And you must think it important because no matter how many times the birth certificate is produced, no matter what evidence is presented, you refuse to accept it. There is an old adage which states that "to the true skeptic, no proof is sufficient" and nowhere is it more clearly illustrated than here.

Well, there it is another page of ink (okay, it was only electronic ink) wasted on this topic. I hope that the right will give this much scrutiny to the candidates for president from both sides – whoever they eventually turn-out to be. Though I doubt it will happen.

Wherever you are today, I hope you will have a great day!

Don Bergquist – April 27, 2011 – Lakewood, Colorado, USA

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