So, as I'm sure you are all aware, President Obama has finally given in to the demands that he release his long form birth certificate and prove that he is eligible to be the president. As if our entire government had failed to determine his citizenship before he became president, and a U.S. and state senator before that. I have to admit that during his presidential campaign I was skeptical of him and I did not vote for him. I have realized since then that part of the reason I was so skeptical of him was because I watched mostly Fox News. I'm not saying that I think he was qualified to run for president then, but in reality, who is ever qualified to run for president? It is like people saying that they will have kids only when they are ready to have kids but when is anyone really ready for that kind of responsibility? You just have to prepare as best you can to overcome the obstacles and learn as much as you can in the process. Every candidate has his/her drawbacks and those are usually exposed by the media rather rapidly during a campaign season. As I mentioned, I was skeptical of him but as I am a person who values evidence and reason, I quickly realized that my assumptions and concerns were not grounded in anything concrete.
As we are almost two and half years into the Obama presidency, it is clear to me that many of the concerns that were expressed over his associations, or even his constitutional eligibility to run for president, were overblown hype by conservative media pundits and politicians who did not want to see him elected. As we have witnessed over the last two years, many of the people who were busy spreading those fears during the campaign have not ceased doing so since he was elected. The rumors that he was not born in the U.S., and was therefore ineligible to be president, did not end once he was elected to office. They did not end after he released his record of live birth in an effort to put to bed the issue of his eligibility. And, as we see now, they have not ended even after he has finally released his long form birth certificate. Much has been made recently of Donald Trump's effort to get the president to release the birth certificate, and the media gave him ample opportunity to speak about it. Then, once the certificate was released, Trump spoke to the media in a victorious manner, as if he had just convinced Osama bin Laden to turn himself in. It was really an insight into how narcissistic Trump really is.
On top of all this, we have a society that seems to need petty issues like this in order to maintain some form of entertainment. As if we don't already live in a society that has to constantly be entertained, we have a media that recognizes that the more crazy, weird or violent their news stories are, the more viewers they will have, and thus, higher ratings and pay days. The people eat this up as if it is an all-you-can-eat buffet dinner at the Golden Corral. It isn't enough to take issue with the policy of a particular politician, he must also be a secret Muslim/Kenyan/socialist bent on the destruction of lady liberty and the livelihoods of all Americans, especially blue collar Christians of middle America. There must be some grand conspiracy to take away the rights of hardworking patriots, the likes of which might appear on an episode of Glenn Beck's program. The media shows its complicity in all of this by allowing a stage from which the conspiracy theorists can peddle their nonsense.
It seems as though people latch on to anything that might explain why things are going badly in their lives. Someone loses a job due to the bumbling economy and people come up with explanations for why that might have happened. Instead of pointing the finger at the "too big to fail" companies that received billions in tax payer funded bailouts after running their companies into the ground, the finger has been pointed at teachers unions. Those greedy, ruthless teachers are trying to bleed the American taxpayer dry! They only work nine months out of the year and are done for the day at 2:30! This "explanation" has been perpetuated by conservative pundits who claim that the teachers make too much money while praising the Wall Street big-wigs for being responsible, red-blooded Americans who have been given an unfair shake by the liberal, "mainstream" media. If you have a problem with Wall Street getting away with plunging our economy into the ground, you must be a socialist who hates capitalism and the American way!
The funny, and sad, thing is that the people most likely to support the conservatives are the ones who are being duped the worst by Wall Street. They are the blue collar workers who are losing their jobs, retirement plans, homes and cars. Yet, they are the ones who have allowed themselves to be convinced that the real enemy are the teachers, and other state and government employees, and not the corporations and people who have consistently paid lower and lower taxes over the years while sending American jobs overseas and handing out billions in bonuses to their executives. Don't get me wrong, I'm not an advocate of "income redistribution" as it is described by conservative pundits. What I am for is people and groups being held responsible for their actions, and preferably everyone paying their fair share of taxes, both wealthy and poor. People wonder how we found ourselves in this mess, but no one seems to want to admit one of the potential causes: low taxes. We've been fighting two wars for nearly ten years now and the government has been expanded under both republican and democratic control, yet taxes have not been raised to cover the difference. If I'm not mistaken, during wars of the past taxes have been increased in order to pay for the costs of waging said wars.
Mention the idea of raising taxes and you are met with unbridled fury. Big, liberal government is trying to raid your wallet! However, our infrastructure is crumbling due, in part, to the consistent lowering of taxes over the last sixty years. Lower taxes means less money to pay for things like road and bridge repair, military equipment, and social welfare programs, yet everyone wants safe highways, to support the troops, and presumably, to take care of the poor and elderly people of this country. Taxes are dramatically lower than they were during the post-WWII years, the time that people seem to long for. That was the time when America built all of those roadways and bridges that are now crumbling; the time when we had a great space program that took us to the moon; the time when the American Dream was alive and well. Well, I've got news for you. That was a time when people paid a lot of money in taxes.
People apparently don't want to face reality. They would rather listen to some blowhard on the television who tells them that those evil, elitist liberals are trying to destroy Christian America, and therefore you should support the conservatives who are good, capitalist, troop-supporting Americans. They would rather hear someone tell them that there is a socialist in the White House whose policies have driven the economy into the ground, when in reality the economy was driven into the ground long before Obama was in charge. They listen to the pundits who rail against "elitists" and make it seem as though being educated at a good school is in some way a negative thing, when many of those conservative pundits and politicians were educated at the very same schools and are millionaires themselves. The reality is that one would be hard pressed to find a national level politician who was not among the "elite" in the country. Congress is not made up of good ol' boys and blue collar workers who are really in touch with the average American.
Turn on any news channel or visit any news site and I'm sure you'll find a story about Obama's birth certificate and about how someone is still trying to claim he wasn't born in the U.S. Or, if you hear Donald Trump speak, now he wants to know how Obama got into Columbia and Harvard. I honestly don't know where he is going with that one but the point is that despite there being overwhelming evidence to the contrary, people will believe all sorts of random, baseless nonsense simply because it provides an easy explanation for life or for the troubles we are facing. Simply put, it seems as though many Americans are entirely too gullible...