The plain truth will never mollify a Truther. There’s always a convoluted
excuse – some inconsequential discrepancy to seize on, some photographic
“evidence” to magnify into a blur of meaningless pixels – that will rationalize
irrationality. Palin could produce Trig’s umbilical cord and it still wouldn’t
Alas, Trutherism thrives on both the left and right. Which brings us to the spate of lawsuits challenging President-elect Barack Obama’s U.S. citizenship. On Friday, the
U.S. Supreme Court considers one of those suits filed by New Jersey citizen Leo
Donofrio, who maintains that Obama is not a “natural born citizen” because
his father held British citizenship.
There may be a seed of a legitimate constitutional issue to explore here (how is the citizenship requirement enforced for presidential candidates, anyway?) And at least Donofrio concedes that Obama was born in Hawaii. But a dangerously large segment of the birth certificate hunters have lurched into rabid Truther territory. The most
prominent crusader against Obama’s American citizenship claim, lawyer Philip
Berg (who, not coincidentally, is also a prominent 9/11 Truther), disputes that Obama was born in Hawaii and claims that Obama’s paternal grandmother told him she saw Obama born in Kenya.
I can't help but agree. There has been nothing about this controversy that has rung true to me in the least, and the people who cling tenaciously to it do themselves, and (by association) anyone who opposes Obama a great disservice by undermining the legitimacy of any real criticism that may be had.
But Michelle brings up an interesting side note. There may be a seed of a legitimate constitutional issue here, after all. Nobody has ever established what the constitution means by "natural born citizen," and maybe we need to know this.
So I'm thinking that this really opens the door to legitimate debate on whether the natural born citizen, whatever it means, really ought to be there at all. Think about it. Let's say that Obama really was born in another country, but his parents moved him here shortly thereafter. Now, obviously he would have had to have committed some fraud to cover that up, which we would have a legitimate problem with, but other than that, how would the place of his birth, the place that he wouldn't even remember, have any impact on his actual abilities to serve as president? The fact that he lived in Indonesia for a time that he actually does remember, in fact, a time during which he was forming his personality and learning about the world, is not held against him. Can you think of one legitimate reason that his birthplace is actually important, other than the strict rule of law?
A person has absolutely no choice in the question of where he or she is born. Let's do away with the restriction on where a person is born and look at how they have lived, instead.