I am actually a big fan of conspiracy theories and conspiracy theorists. You give me a free afternoon and I’ll entertain any theory I hear. You say the moon landing was fake? Why not? Tupac is still alive and starting an underground revolution in L.A. – I’ll check it out.
The core of being a conspiracy theorist is not just looking for alternative explanations for why things happen but being brave enough to explore any explanation no matter how ridiculous it seems or uncomfortable it makes you. That’s what’s wrong with the “Birther Movement” against President Barack Obama. It’s not that their theory is so ridiculous, it’s that they’re too narrow minded and cowardly to really see how far down the rabbit hole their conspiracy should take them.
The Birther Movement is driven by the belief that Obama was never eligible to run for president because he was not a natural born American citizen. The Birthers, who include such luminaries as perpetual presidential candidate Alan Keyes and conservative radio host G. Gordon Liddy, base their conspiracy on two main points. The first is an interview with Obama’s grandmother, Sarah Obama, who claims that she was at Obama’s birth in Kenya (she later recants that claim in the same interview). The second is Obama’s refusal to produce his original birth certificate and various documents suggesting he may have been born in Canada or Kenya. The Birthers insist that their crusade would end if President Obama would turn over his birth certificate and they’ve been urging Republican Congressmen to pressure Obama to do so.
Now of course, there are dozens of refutations of the Birther’s claims. Obama’s grandma says he was born in Hawaii in the same interview where she claims he was born in Kenya. The Obama team has produced a Certificate of Live Birth from Hawaii, which is the same as birth certificate for national security purposes but those aren’t even the most damaging counter arguments. The Birthers expect the nation to believe that the Republican and Democratic parties, along with Hillary and John McCain never figured out that Obama wasn’t eligible to run for president. But a group of dedicated wannabe conspiracy theorists did?
Many Birthers claim that this story is being covered up by Obama and the mainstream press. But the man has only been in office for 6 months and the story is 2 years old. For a conspiracy of this magnitude to be pulled off it’d require complicity from Democrats, Republicans and every news outlet in the world. But most Birthers aren’t willing to go there, and that’s why they are wrong, and cowards.
The problem with the Birther Movement is that they aren’t true conspiracy theorists. They aren’t trying to find dangerous explanations for why things are they way they are. Most of them are just right-wingers who want to pick and choose their conspiracies to justify their partisan and political beliefs. They’re so incensed about having a black president that they’ll do whatever they can to bring him down.
If the Birthers are going to have any legitimacy at all they’re going to have to be brave enough to connect all of the dots in their conspiracy and not just the ones that create the picture that they want. If you can believe that Obama is a foreigner, you’d have to consider that maybe Bush was involved in 911. If you want to believe that Obama is hiding his birth certificate, then you have to acknowledge that maybe the levees didn’t just ‘break’ in New Orleans but were blown up. If you’re going to challenge the entire legitimacy of the Obama presidency, then you’d have to acknowledge that the Democrats, Republicans, Hillary and John McCain intentionally refused to exploit this issue over the course of a 2-year campaign. You’d have to acknowledge that the entire election was a fraud and that our leaders are chosen by the shadowy Illuminati in order to create a New World Order dictatorship. Of course all of that sounds crazy. You’d have to be a conspiracy theorist to believe any of those things. And that’s something most Birthers are too cowardly to be.