Don’t expect ‘birthers’ to wise up

There are those who, for whatever reason, genuinely believe President Barack Obama was born outside the United States, and there are those who insist he was born elsewhere for more sinister motives.

The first group likely cannot be reached no matter any amount of evidence to the contrary.

Even prior to the president’s release of his long-form birth certificate earlier this week, he’d already produced his short-form birth certificate, his birth had been reported in the local Hawaiian paper in 1961, and the director of the Hawaii department of health, a supporter of John McCain, said she had seen the original records.

The second bunch, by comparison, doesn’t really care where Obama was born, as long as they can make hay of the issue for their own gain, or that of their political party.

Just last week, the New York Times reported that barely half of all Americans polled believed the president was born in the US, while fully one in four thought he was born elsewhere.

America has a long history of significant population segments latching on to bizarre fringe theories.

Witness those who believe everything from the ultimate goal of the Trilateral Commission being the formation of one-world government to the idea that Jews control the mass media.

Disabusing individuals of these notions is all but impossible because, as The Economist writes, “we do not like the mental discomfort that comes with cognitive dissonance.”

Alexander Pope wrote wisely of those unable or unwilling to accept facts when he quipped “A little learning is a dangerous thing; Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring.”

More troubling, though, are those who work to manipulate individuals unwilling to face reality, and instead seek to knead and even manufacture history to promote their own ends.

It is they who would subvert democracy, and ultimately freedom, for their own personal gain, no matter what the ultimate cost.

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