Birtherism, now what?

Even though the title already provided some context to the controversy we are about to unpack, let us begin by defining “birtherism.” According to the well-respected Merriam-Webster Dictionary, birtherism is t “belief in or endorsement of any of various discredited claims that former U.S. president Barack Obama is not a natural-born U.S. citizen and therefore was not constitutionally eligible to be president of the United States.

As one would assume, this term developed before former U.S. president Barack Obama took his seat at the white house. Amongst the rivalry between the various political parties, rumors and false claims began to spread throughout the nation. Apparently, the entire idea began via anonymous email to Politico.

Shown below is an excerpt from Politico’s, “Birtherism: Where it All Began”, that throughly dissects the conspiracy that flooded tabloids for close to a decade. Once President Obama’s birth certificate was made public, the hunt for fact or fiction began. This detail is what many gossipers clung to to keep their heads above water in the debate of Obama’s citizenship and legitimacy as U.S. president.

As Smith and Tau mention near the end of the excerpt, “the technicalities can confuse a casual observer;” they were absolutely right. It only took the fact that rumors were present in the media to cause doubt in the average American of their president. Granted, much of the doubt came from Obama’s opposing (Republican) side, also according to Politico.

Despite the level of debate and time spent back and forth on tackling the colossal presidential rumor, it has yet to cease conversation. Speaking of which, this article from The Conversation, highlights the effort by former U.S. president Donald Trump to resurface the rumors of Obama’s supposed fraudulent citizenship. He, almost solely, is credited for making the topic oh so popular once again.

With that said, the conspiracy has yet to be resolved, as there was little resolving to be done. Barack Obama’s birth certificate had already been validated by the state of Hawaii, according to Politico, and it just seemed to be another attempted scandal of a president at play. But, some scandals are just not scandals after all.

It seems the general public has seen the extent of the ridiculousness by now that generally it is no longer something people focus on anymore. The rumor caused more harm during the time Barack Obama was in office, due to the determination of those that likely did not vote for him. The attempt to delegitimize him as a president has since its peak subdued enough to not be as controversal.

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