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Birthers, Fundamentalism, and Racism

Thomas Whitley

Today the Obama administration released copies of his original birth certificate, which was a "long form" birth certificate, a form no longer used in Hawaii. Previously, the Obama administration had released the "short form" birth certificate, which had been legally accepted over two years ago. Yet, a significant (if only for their volume) group of Americans continued to insist that the President was in fact not born in the United States. This view has recently found itself moving more and more into the mainstream, being touted by potential Republican presidential candidates such as Sarah Palin and Donald Trump. CNN is asking its viewers today if this most recent move by the President will settle the "birther" issue once and for all.

The obvious answer is no. For, the issue was never really about where President Obama was born. For those who will not be swayed no matter what facts are presented are fundamentalist in their thinking. Because of their unwavering belief that they are right and could never possibly be wrong, they will continue to close their eyes and ears to facts. This mindset/worldview is prominent in many religious people and the world of politics is not exempt.

I am reminded of a quote about the existence of God, which WikiQuote attributes to Franz Werfel:

For those who believe, no explanation is necessary; for those who do not believe, no explanation is possible

The same is true in issues like this one. Those who believed the President was not born in the US will not be persuaded. Those who did not question his birth place will see the release of his long form birth certificate as unnecessary.

I fully expect to see floods of comments from people about how the birth certificate released today is actually fake and that there is a huge conspiracy to cover up Obama's true place of birth. So, at the end of the day we have to ask what the issue really is. Tim Graves had this to say earlier on Twitter:

What's your take? Is Graves right that this entire issue (and the new ones that will replace this one such as Trump's new soapbox of questioning how President Obama got into Harvard) is fueled by "xenophobia, racism, and bigotry"?