When a person becomes convinced of a conspiracy, it is often impossible, short of total confirmation of the theory, to get them to give up on it. This is due to the nature of conspiracy theories. They are often based on the idea that all the facts are actually facts and are know able. Any trial lawyer will tell you that the facts are not always knowable, that even the most sober of people will edit their memories in the way that is favorable to their point of view. Sadly reality is not as neat and tight as we would like to pretend.

The fact that Hawaii is invoking the Act 100 clause of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) combined with the Republican Governor of that state saying that she has viewed the presidents birth certificate would be enough to kill the beast that is Birtherism. Sadly Birtherism is a hydra, when you cut off one head, two more grow back.

"Originally posted at Squarestate.net"

While the door is slammed shut on FOIA requests, that is not going to stop the law suits by people like the crazed Orly Taitz and Lt. Col. Terry Lakin, who is in the process of being court marshaled for his refusal to follow a deployment order to Afghanistan, based on the premise that President Obama is not actually president.

They will be basing their insistence on the original document being produced on the rules of discovery. I am unclear as to whether a judge will grant this kind of discovery, since the president has been sworn in, after the Supreme Court had a chance to consider if it would hear a challenge to his legitimacy to serve as president. To grant the discovery would be tantamount to challenging the Supreme Courts finding that there was no basis for this challenge.

This will not stop the Birthers though. They will continue to argue that other items point to the president’s lack of legitimacy. The big one, after the birth certificate, is the fact that his Social Security number has the prefix for Connecticut not Hawaii. Like all of this insanity, it is easy to explain. The prefix on the SS number represents the state where you were living when it was issued. Being just a little younger than the President, I can tell you that most people my age or older did not get a Social Security card when we were born. I did not get mine until I was 17. For many people this means they have the prefix for the same state they were born in, but given the peripatetic nature of the Presidents life, it is hardly surprising that his was not issued until later in his life.

However this is all beside the point. Even if the president was in fact born in Kenya or some other country, the law provides for his qualification to serve. Like many things in the conservative world view, the Constitution is not the end of the matter, there is also the law. The Constitution itself in Article One, Section 8, Clause 4 grants the Congress the right to develop laws which govern all naturalization, which includes citizenship.

The controlling law, Title 8, Section 1401, defines the following people as “citizens of the United Stats at birth” :

• Anyone born inside the United States (except children of diplomats)
• Any Indian or Eskimo born in the United States, provided being a citizen of the U.S. does not impair the person’s status as a citizen of the tribe
• Any one born outside the United States, both of whose parents are citizens of the U.S., as long as one parent has lived in the U.S.
• Any one born outside the United States, if one parent is a citizen and lived in the U.S. for at least one year and the other parent is a U.S. national
• Any one born in a U.S. possession, if one parent is a citizen and lived in the U.S. for at least one year
• Any one found in the U.S. under the age of five, whose parentage cannot be determined, as long as proof of non-citizenship is not provided by age 21
Any one born outside the United States, if one parent is an alien and as long as the other parent is a citizen of the U.S. who lived in the U.S. for at least five years (with military and diplomatic service included in this time)
• A final, historical condition: a person born before 5/24/1934 of an alien father and a U.S. citizen mother who has lived in the U.S.

As you can see from the bolded section, President Obama qualified as a “natural born citizen” under the law no matter where he was born. His mother was a citizen who had lived in the United States more than five years. That should be the end of the story.

The Birther conspiracy theory is not really about where our president was born. It is about bigotry and racism. The fact that he has a middle name which is common in the Arab world and the color of his skin are driving this insanity. We can often lose sight of that in the freak show that is Birtherism.

Sen. John McCain was actually born outside the United States. He was born in the Panama Canal Zone, on a military base. Yet not a single person has questioned his ability to serve as the president. He falls under the same set of laws that provide for President Obama to be qualified, if he were not born in this country, which, of course he was.

It is time to stop enjoying the freak show and start calling it what it is, racism. It is hardly surprising to see the Republican Party as the home of this kind of talk. It has become more and more comfortable, at an institutional level, with overt racism. Their embrace of tokenism in the form of RNC Chair Michael Steele and other African American Republicans is not a move towards diversity but a cynical ploy to ward off critics pointing out the obvious, that the Republican Party is, at best, a tacitly racist organization.

To keep enjoying the Birther spectacle and ignore the implicitly racist motivation of it is to give a level of approval that no person who cares about equality should condone. So instead of debating the facts, which the Birthers will not listen to in any case, let’s start debating the motivation. It is still uncomfortable for people to own racism in polite society in this country. Let’s do our best to make the Birthers own their racist motivations.

The floor is yours.

Bill Egnor

Bill Egnor

I am a life long Democrat from a political family. Work wise I am a Six Sigma Black Belt (process improvement project manager) and Freelance reporter for Govtrak.org

32 Comments