17 August 2009

In Defense of Birthers?

While Mr. Right may be a "deather" (see below, though he hadn't heard of that tag before I told him about it today) it's unclear whether he's a "birther." At the very least he's a critical sympathizer with the movement. The criticism consists of his complaint that the leading spokesperson for the movement, Orly Taitz, is an inarticulate speaker, a fact he blames on English not being her first language. But he didn't consider it inappropriate for the birthers to inquire into the President's background. Liberals demanded all kinds of information (though not exactly the same kinds) about George W. Bush, he argued, though he denies that the birther movement is just a tit-for-tat tactic by disgruntled Republicans.

"Aren't you curious about his background?" he asked me. The answer is that I'm not curious because I'm not suspicious about it. But for Mr. Right speculation about Obama's background and possibly secret origins seems to follow from his perception that the President is somehow culturally alien. Once again he repeated the canard that Obama is a Marxist. Asked to tell when the President confirmed this, Mr. Right first pointed to the "nationalization" of the banks and the proposed "nationalization" of health care, then asked (and not for the first time) why I wasn't curious about the fact that all of Obama's advisers were Marxists. There followed a litany of the usual names: Alinsky, Ayers, etc. "And those are all the advisers he's ever had?" I asked, "Are those his only advisers?" He conceded that there might be at least one advisor who was only a "plain Socialist," but he felt that his point had been made.

"If you want to think that Socialism is on a par with capitalism, go right ahead," he said, "History proves otherwise and the majority of the American people know better." Actually, I hadn't espoused Socialism, except if you think I'd done so implicitly by refusing to condemn the President's policies. I'd be for a strong regulatory state that retained private ownership of industry so long as it remained consistent with the national interest, that in turn to be determined by pragmatic rather than ideological standards. But I refuse to rule out Socialism as an option the American people can choose, and I reject the insinuation that any sympathy for Socialism renders someone so un-American that their ancestry ought to be suspect. Socialism may not have been American in origin, but it ceased to be non-American or un-American the moment Americans started to believe in it. And if anything, it'd become even less anti-American if voters actually chose it as their path to the future. This seems very unlikely now after generations of indiscriminate anti-communist propaganda, but you never know. And no, you can't see my birth certificate. It's a matter of principle.

1 comment:

hobbyfan said...

Mr. Right should go back to eating hockey pucks & baseballs for lunch.