As anyone not living in a cave should know by now President Obama has released, for all the world to see, his so called "Long Form" birth certificate. You know, the one that, under Hawaiian law, is not to be used as proof of birth. The form that the law says is actual, honest to goodness proof of birth is the one that the Obama campaign released back in 2007. But hey, better late than never, right?
This entire "Birther" business is a part of a larger problem though. We are faced with a growing number of elected and public figures who find it perfectly alright to lie. I don't mean misspoke either. If you go in front of TV cameras and claim that the duly elected President of the United States wasn't born in this country, you are telling a lie!
Now, I suppose that one could be given a little wiggle room on this. The answers, "I'm not sure," or "I don't know," might seem innocent enough and that's how I might have viewed them in the past. But not any more. When the actual, you know, proof has been out there for more than three years you're either lying, or are dumber than a stick. And these folks, at least most of them, aren't dumb.
The idea that politicians lie is, of course, not a new one. But in today's information, multimedia explosion even a simple political lie can have wide spread consequences. For example, during last fall's mid-term election cycle people were surveyed about their taxes. Over 70% said that their taxes had gone up under Obama. I found that troubling, since for 95% of all taxpayers taxes have gone DOWN under the current administration. Not only were the people surveyed wrong, they were 180 degrees wrong. What's going on here?
What's going on is good old fashioned propaganda. Propaganda is defined as;
information, ideas, or rumors deliberately spread widely to help or harm a person, group, movement, institution, nation, etc.
Since early in our history we have both used and abhorred the use of propaganda. The idea of spreading information which the spreader knows to be false just bothers us a bit more than the idea of spreading information that is shaded toward one side or the other. The former we call propaganda. The latter we call advocacy.
So, when a whole lot of people are found to believe something (increased taxes or Obama wasn't born here) that is demonstrable not true, shouldn't those who know the truth point at the propagandists and get on their case for telling the lies? Ya, we should, but we don't.
Just review the press after the mid-term elections. Every other pundit went on and on about what the electorate said. "The American people," we were told, "said that they were tired of tax increases, and blah, blah, blah." When, in fact, the real story was that the propagandists had pulled off a spectacular victory against the truth. Likewise, when 45% of Republicans believe that the President was not born in the U.S.A., I'm much more interested in where the "American People," got such a stupid idea.
So let's celebrate the fact that, at least as to the question of where the President was born, truth will out. And let's maybe look a little more closely at most of the claims being made by our politicians. Oh, and finely, for all you birthers out there I might suggest, take another look at global warming. You all might just have been fooled again!