Jerry Moore: Birther myths, crackpottery of all political stripes must be dispelled

Jerry Moore

In early 2009, I naively thought the birther issue would go away by revealing how absurd it was.

A man wrote a letter to the editor that we published, and he questioned Barack Obama’s eligibility for the office he was about to assume. Then, responding to a column I wrote a few weeks before about holding public officials accountable, a local woman criticized me for not demanding Obama prove he’s a natural-born U.S. citizen.

Frankly, that was the first I had heard of the birther hypothesis. I researched all the relevant facts and concluded there was nothing to it. With that settled, I figured it would soon be forgotten.

I thought Obama’s most ardent critics wouldn’t be idiotic enough to promote this once they examined the facts. Surely, the birthers were capable of critical thinking and would dismiss the notion if they worked through the evidence.

But it just hasn’t worked out that way. I still get occasional letters that spew birther nonsense, but last week’s events showed this debate has only grown.

President Obama released a long-form copy of his birth certificate April 27. He said Americans have to get beyond this “silliness” because there are much more important issues to resolve.

It’s good that most political leaders have denounced the birthers. Started by the Clintons and exploited by conservatives, this fraudulent claim is bad for everyone.

Pat Brady, chairman of the Illinois Republican Party, recently criticized Donald Trump for highlighting the birther issue while toying with the idea of running for president.

But, as Doug Ibendahl wrote on, Brady last year put a birther named Sharon Meroni in charge of the Illinois GOP’s effort to recruit election judges and poll watchers. Keep purging, Pat.

Ideological arrogance leads some Americans to hold utterly irrational views, and this goes for people of all political stripes. They convince themselves they’ve lapsed into the truth, all the while ignoring the facts right in front of them.

How many Americans believe a grand conspiracy killed John Kennedy? Yet all the evidence still points to a lone gunman.

Regardless of what myths they’re espousing, fringe types who can’t accept reality must be confronted. Our brand of politics is tough enough without having to sift through a bunch of foolishness.

Jerry Moore is the opinions editor for Suburban Life Publications. Contact him at (630) 368-8930