Fear And Loathing In Conservatism


Will the Obama myths ever go away? I’m just getting tired of hearing about them. Is Obama a U.S. citizen? YES. I don’t care if he was born in Kenya. I don’t think he was but let’s look at it this way. Right now any kid born to an American citizen gets citizenship. Before 1986 this was true if certain criteria were met. One is that the parent had to live in the U.S. for ten years, five after the age of 14. Obama was born 3 months before his mother’s 19th birthday. So even if he was born in Mongolia he was on the bubble of U.S. citizenship. We should pay attention to the intent of the law. The intent is that a person raised in a foreign country who has no real understanding of American values shouldn’t be able to be President. Obama was raised in this country, with American values. Why two years into his presidency is this still an issue. Furthermore his birth certificate was released and analyzed. Why are we still talking about this?

My favorite myth is that Obama is a Muslim. This myth is ridiculous and offensive. First, it is ridiculous that Pres. Obama is a Muslim. He has spent his life talking about how he is a Christian. He has attended Christian churches, and we’re supposed to believe that it was all a conspiracy to conceal the fact that he is actually a Muslim. That’s a pretty far-fetched claim. More importantly, it is offensive because it shouldn’t matter? Is a Muslim unfit to serve in public office. There was a big controversy when Keith Ellison was sworn in while placing his hand on a copy of the Koran.  Ellison is a Muslim, shouldn’t he be sworn in using the Koran? The entire reason the Bible has been used at swearing-in ceremonies is that it is held sacred. We have been a predominately Christian nation in terms of our population so it made sense. Keith Ellison isn’t a Christian. How would it make sense to have someone sworn in on a text he doesn’t hold sacred.  I don’t care if they are a member of the Church of Seuss and want to be sworn in on a copy of The Cat In The Hat. Swearing on sacred text is supposed to have meaning to the person taking the oath, not to us. The idea is that they are not only subject to the people in their oath, but to God. The “Founding Fathers” that are often cited by the conservatives in this country took great pains to separate religion and the government. The idea was that any person of any religion can be President. Religion should not be a test to determine who can serve. So, why are we still talking about this?

We’re talking about it because conservatives are scared. Since the beginning of Pres. Obama’s campaign we started hearing the myths. The myths were easy enough to invent, but they all lead back to one thing. These people don’t like the President because he has African heritage. I say African heritage because I don’t like that anyone with an African ancestor is “black”. Most African-Americans also have some white genetics in their history. We need to move past the idea that you have darker skin so you are different. When it comes to American Conservatives, like the Tea Party movement they just seem afraid of the possibilities that stem from a black man being President. They don’t like the idea that a Muslim can be a great public servant. Those feelings in the moderate conservatives lead to the crazy paranoia in the ultra conservative. It leads to the people who think all Muslims are violent. It leads to the question of whether Pres. Obama can be seen as an “angry, black man.” That’s a question that was actually discussed across cable news. Would we have asked it if there wasn’t a stereotype of the “angry, black man?” We wouldn’t. That stereotype exists because there was a huge movement of angry black men. They didn’t like being treated as second-class citizens, when they were treated as citizens at all. Can you argue with that?

The political science definition of a “conservative” basically says that they do not want change. They are happy with the current conditions. The election of Pres. Obama was not the status quo. The myths easily grew from that place. The American public has to stand up and question these claims. Does it make sense that the President would hide his secret “Muslim” identity for a lifetime just to become President? Does it really make sense that a mother would engage in a conspiracy to provide her son with American citizenship by forging a birth certificate? Would she go to such lengths as to report his birth to newspapers in Hawaii? She wasn’t even 19 years old. Common sense would tell us that it’s not true.

The Tea Party, and Conservatives across this country are being pushed by a force they don’t want to see.  Big Business has benefited from the push for lower taxes and de-regulation. Most of the people in Tea Party protests haven’t benefited at all.  The current Republican attack on everyone from teachers to public broadcasting is hurting this country, but benefitting those who have the money to support campaigns.  We need true reform in our political process or the fear and loathing will continue to push this country in the wrong direction.

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