Wednesday, April 27, 2011

On Birtherism

This is so obvious that I probably should not write it down, but the phenomenon of birtherism (Is Obama really a natural-born citizen and thereby eligible to be the president of the country?) is wholly and completely explained by looking at it from the reverse end:

Certain Americans find Obama just wrong as the president of the country. His skin color is wrong, his father is wrong, his mother is wrong, his father's initial religion is wrong, his step-father's religion is wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong!

Most of that is simple racism, though some of it may also be xenophobia. Whatever it is, the feeling of "wrongness" about the president must be justified, and the idea that he might not be formally eligible to be the president chimes beautifully with those inchoate feelings of his essential ineligibility. Hence the weird phenomenon of birtherism. It would legitimize those feelings of wrongness without the taint of racism.