A lot of people have heard about the "Birther" movement, but not all have had a real-world encounter with one of them. These are the people who really believe that the president of the United States is not an American.
On the surface, Birther's look like other humans. But that can be deceiving.
The one I encountered was a 20-something male, casually dressed in well-worn jeans and a T-shirt. I never did ask his name and as it turns out, it was probably better that way.
The conversation started out with a casual remark on Mitt Romney's newly released hit video, "Why I hate 47 percent of all Americans," now playing world-wide on YouTube with millions of views and counting.
Much to my surprise, this Birther had never heard of it and instead replied with a Southern accent, "I ain't never seen that Obama salute the flag. Have you?"
I thought it was rather a strange remark for a Walmart parking lot in Florida, on a Friday afternoon, and especially considering the question. But it was then that I knew I was standing face-to-face with a real-live Birther. I was intrigued.
Based on nothing I could actually prove, apart from current location and wardrobe accessories, I suspected that my Birther was a working-class dude. So I described some of Mr. Romney's more well known quotes from the infamous "47 percent" video that he had never heard of, with something like, "Don't you think it's kind of bad for a guy who's running for president to say he doesn't care about half the population because they are government-sucking parasites?"
But even that did not sway my Birther-guy from his defense against our current "non-citizen" president.
"I ain't never got a job from no poor people. All my jobs came from rich people. They need to have more money so they can give people jobs."
I supposed there was some logic in there somewhere, but it was clearly obfuscated by "Fox and Friends" brainwashing.
While this story is a satire and not intended to be taken as absolute fact, it is loosely based on an actual person I met and talked to.
However, polls do show that even after the release of Obama's official long form birth certificate in 2011, only 67% of Americans believed that their president was born in the United States. Earlier polls showed only 55% thought Obama was born in America.
It doesn't occur to these people that the FBI, CIA, NSA, and other government agencies would never allow a foreigner to have access to our nuclear arsenal and other classified information. All they know is what they hear from conspiracy theories on right-wing TV shows, radio, and blogs, and it doesn't seem possible to convince them otherwise.
To further illustrate the power of conservative conspiracy theory manufacturers, a Pew poll showed that 17% of all registered voters in 2012 thought that President Obama was a Muslim, even though he is really a Christian.
It all makes you wonder why it seems so easy to convince some people of just about anything, including weird conspiracy theories.
Very strange and a bit scary.
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