I bought into part of the birther narrative, and didn’t even realize it. You probably did too.
We all knew the birthers were crazy, because Obama wasn’t born in Kenya. But not one of us questioned the premise – that to be president, you need to be born on American soil. Now that the Canadian-born Ted Cruz announced his candidacy, legal scholars are saying the “natural-born citizen” requirement outlined in the constitution includes people born abroad to American parents. Legal scholars apparently aren’t particularly divided on this point.
This means that, even if Obama was born in Kenya, his American mother means he’s eligible for the presidency. This was true the entire time. In all the years of the bullshit birther narrative distracting us from actual issues, I don’t remember this coming up – not even once. We were all too busy being amused by the craziness to question the premise.
The web is a pinball machine of outrage, perpetually stuck in multiball mode. We do everything we can to juggle our silver balls of superiority, and the birther narrative stayed in play longer than most. It felt like the kind of thing that liberals would make up just to prove that conservatives are stupid and/or racist, but apparently some people actually did – and still do – think Obama was born outside the country. Hilarious! We kept a lot of bullshit in play for through the years – death panels, Benghazi, “Keep Your Goddamn Government Hands Off My Medicare” – but the birther movement is the one ball that just wouldn’t stop bouncing around, racking up more combos and missions than anyone thought possible (and making us feel oh-so-smug in the process).
There was never, so far as I knew, any reason to believe Obama was born in Kenya, but the sort of people who still read email forwards thought otherwise…because the Internet. And left-wing publications happily pointed this out, repeatedly, because aren’t those fucking right wingers just batshit crazy? Isn’t it funny?
And that whole time, not one person asked what in retrospect is the most obvious question: would Obama being born in Kenya make him ineligible for the presidency? Apparently not.
Of course, nonsensical focus on points that don’t matter is not unique to right-wingers. Lefties have been bitching about the Keystone pipeline for years. It’s as though Obama could convince the nation of Canada and every oil company on earth that the tar sands aren’t worth pursuing just by preventing a pipeline from being built. Apparently there’s no other way to move the oil, and everyone will just pack up shop if the pipeline is blocked, because the US President can control LITERALLY EVERYTHING regardless of what State Department reports say.
Seriously, following US politics in 2015 is like being a fan of a TV show that the writers stopped caring about ages ago. Nothing makes sense, no one is even trying to tie up the lose ends and the performers are just phoning it in at this point. Why not just introduce a bunch of irrelevant plot points (senators writing a letter to Iran) or re-hash old ideas (Bush versus Clinton). It’s just lazy at this point; no wonder fewer people are tuning in.
Oh well, whatever. There might be a Canadian president! That’s good news right? Peace, order, and good government would be a nice change of pace…
"Net Neutrality" is Obamacare for the Internet; the Internet should not operate at the speed of government.
— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) November 10, 2014
Oh. Never mind.