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We are no longer surprised when rumor, embellishment and outright lies seem to have a longer and stronger life than the truth.
In today’s anyone-is-a-pundit society, where opinions are as plentiful as ashcans, the steady attacks on Barack Obama have become almost their own industry. No wonder Fox News Network can boast that it had some of the highest ratings of any television network.
But the persistence of the zealots who claim that Barack Obama is not qualified to be president of the United States because he was not born in the United States defies even that kind of explanation.
The issue has been seized upon and now even heads of the news organizations who have been giving air to the theory have cried “enough!”
We would state unequivocally that according to Hawaii officials, Obama was born in Hawaii in 1961, and that his mother was a U.S. citizen even if his father was not.
But that is not enough for those conspiracy theorists who say that the state of Hawaii, the U.S. Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the liberal media, the conservative media, the Democrats AND the Republicans are all in on the scam. According to the “birthers,” Obama cannot be president, and they regard him as illegitimate.
This is not the first time such rumors have swirled about a president. Chester Alan Arthur was subjected to the same kind of scrutiny. It was believed that Arthur was born in Canada, not Fairfield, Vt., so there was an active movement to prove that he was not eligible to be president.
The movement never really gained national traction because the national media didn’t make it the No. 1 story. However, because there was no national media to squash the rumors, in some areas it never died.
Today, conspiracy theorists can take to their blogs and social network pages and simply keep repeating a falsehood, giving it life far beyond its veracity. We are still looking for the smoking gun behind the Vince Foster suicide during the Clinton presidency. And there are still zealots who claim a government conspiracy in the 9/11 attacks.
We recognize that there are some who will leave no stone unturned, no lunatic fringe unraveled, until they come up with a way to challenge the nation’s 44th president. These are the same people who continue to insist that Obama is a practicing Muslim (and coincidentally the same people who raked him over the coals about his Christian pastor). They are truly rabid, and the truth merely stokes their illness even more.
But this is one conspiracy theory that should be put to rest. Barack Hussein Obama is the 44th president of the United States. Get over it!
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