Mayfield: Those silly birthers
America! Land of the free and home of the weird.
The latest incarnation of our national obsession with all things strange comes to us via “The Birthers” a bizarre ensemble of true believers bent on convincing the rest of us that President Obama wasn’t actually born in America and therefore is constitutionally forbidden to live in the White House. I suppose we should be grateful that these conspiracy theorists are agreed that the president was actually born and not delivered by aliens from outer space.
Egged on by such paragons of objectivity as CNN commentator Lou Dobbs and Liz Cheney, former Vice-President Dick’s doubting daughter, this most recent batch of patriotic rebels are making their convictions known by zealously penning letters to their local editors, disrupting nationally televised press conferences and flooding the pages of the world wide web with their fervent certainties.
Despite indisputable evidence, these birthers will, I suspect, go to their graves firm in their conviction that we foolish fellow citizens failed to grasp the vast conspiracy perpetrated upon us by sinister and probably socialist forces. There they will join the dozens of others who so valiantly tried to sway the rest of us into joining in the certainty that Neil Armstrong never set foot on the moon, JFK was shot by the CIA and those planes never actually plowed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Many years ago, one of my buddy’s moms, in fit of patriotic fervor, took some of us kids from the neighborhood to a packed Los Angeles Sports Arena on a school night, no less. But instead of watching the Lakers go at the Celtics as we had hoped, we sat in soporific stupor as one speaker after another went after communists, atheists and even an occasional God-forsaken Democrat. It was called The Moral Rearmament Movement and it, too, was bent on warning an ignorant citizenry of the dangers that lurked all around us. As the evening wore on and just about the time I started questioning the patriotism of some of the kids in my 6th grade class, a famous singer strode to the platform and tearfully promised all of us that he would take a gun and kill his three daughters before he would allow them to fall into the clutches of the dirty commies who were hiding behind every movie set in Hollywood. I never heard his songs again without worrying what those three girls must have thought when word got back to them of their father’s vow.
But such is the way of the true believer. Nothing will stand in the way of their sense of righteousness, especially not the facts. There is, in Petersburg, Kentucky, a museum dedicated to the proposition that the universe was created in six days. It is an overwhelming success with creationists flocking through the doors to affirm their conviction that 99.99 percent of the world’s scientists are dead wrong with their godless evolutionary ideas.
Locally, several dentists have had to take time out from their dutiful drilling to describe, once again, that fluoride is not a plot by our government to take control of our obviously diminishing brains but a scientifically proven method for protecting us from cavities.
Recently, I was talking with a friend who is planning on hosting a big party at a Breckenridge restaurant on December 22, 2012. That is the day after the world, according to an ancient Mayan calendar, is supposed to come to an end. I’m already planning to attend … but only if the black helicopters don’t swoop down into Silverthorne and capture me first.
Rich Mayfield is the author of “Reconstructing Christianity: Notes from the New Reformation.” E-mail comments about this column to email@example.com.
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