Let me start by saying that I’m the last guy you want to come to for predictions about the future. I’m too optimistic and my views are clouded by reason. Birthers have continually surprised me with their persistence in the face of repeated crushing defeat.
But it’s a new year and Joe Arpaio is no longer sheriff of Maricopa County as of today (Arpaio’s official biography on the Sheriff’s Office web site now exists only in the Web Archive). Mike Zullo has lost his official patron. Birther Report is dead. Most importantly, Barack Obama leaves office in just under 3 weeks, and whatever wind in its sails that kept the Birther ship moving will die down. The for-profit motive for pushing Obama conspiracy theories would seem to have evaporated—there’s no motivation to click on a fake news story about a former president. No one needs to get Obama out of office to change government policy; there will be a President Trump with a Republican Congress to replace executive orders and pass contrary legislation.
Birthers hope that Obama will someday be convicted of talking about having a birth certificate, and allowing a picture of one to appear on the White House web site. Forgery is a Class B Felony in Hawaii where, as with Federal law, the statute of limitations of 5 years has run out. The new Congress has only a handful of Republican members who were not in the previous Congress, so it seems very unlikely that anyone in Congress will be calling for a congressional investigation, particularly since it’s old history now. What’s the point?
In my moral universe, Birtherism is an obscenity because it denies the virtue of reason. It is un-American because it presumes guilt without good evidence. It is immoral because it is a movement led by liars—not people who are wrong, but people who intentionally sell out the truth for personal advantage. In many cases, the movement has been populated from what Hillary Clinton referred to as a “basket of deplorables.”
The “deplorables” are not going to be any less deplorable in the coming year, but they will have to do without President Obama as a focus. Racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, Islamaphobia and the hatred of Liberals is not going away, and I will still be a voice on the Internet in opposition to lies and slander.