An auspicious beginning
Let it be noted, yea blogosphere, that on Sunday, December 7th in the Year of Our Lord 2008, the Confluence fully embraced Birther conspiracy theories. Imaginary Hillary Clinton, in all her splendor and PUMAnosity, immediately let shtuey know she was pleased by appearing in public in a navy blue pantsuit.
For a site that originally renounced rumors and conspiracy theories about the President-Elect, the Confluence has certainly come a long way. It’s worth it, then, to restate the essential truth about the various Obama birth certificate/dual citizenship/etc. conspiracy theories: they are all fundamentally racist arguments.
To explain I’m going to need a little help from Melissa McEwan and the other writers at Shakesville. They have a long-running series of post entitled the “Obama Racism/Muslim/Unpatriotic/Scary Black Dude Watch“. The title is so slashed not because McEwan & Co. are individually chronicling mentions of Obama drenched in racism, or the times he’s called a Muslim or unpatriotic, etc. The Shakers are instead making the point that these different attacks are the same exact argument. It’s all about casting Barack Obama as “the other”.
Birther conspiracy theories follow in this dubious tradition. PUMAs and crazy right wingers want to “other”-ize Obama, but are afraid of risking the opprobium that explicit racism would bring down on them. So instead they speak in code: he’s a secret Muslim, he doesn’t wear a flag pin, he’s into black liberation theology, he’s a Black Panther, ad nauseum. “He’s not American” is simply one more way to say “he’s a [n-word], he’s not one of us”. Their goal isn’t so much to convince anyone (they’d need actual evidence for that), but to signal to other racists that Obama is not to be trusted. At its heart, it’s an effort to keep the faithful riled up.
The Confluence apparently wants to go down this road, which is sad, but not at all shocking. The quicker they out themselves as fringe racists, the quicker anyone of consequence will cease to take them seriously.